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MGMT 6800 Case Study: Cirque du Soleil From the Streets to the Stars
MGMT 6800
Case Study: Cirque du Soleil
From the Streets to the Stars
MGMT 6800 Case Study: Cirque du Soleil From the Streets to the Stars Da Yi Ebube

Da Yi Ebube Anizor

November 16 2009

From the Streets to the Stars

From the Streets to the Stars Cast of ‘Characters’ Guy Laliberté: a Rising Star! Born in
Cast of ‘Characters’ Guy Laliberté: a Rising Star! Born in Québec City in 1959, Laliberté’s
Cast of ‘Characters’
Guy Laliberté: a Rising Star!
Born in Québec City in 1959, Laliberté’s
talents as an accordionist, stilt-walker and
fire-eater provided the foundation for what
would be a remarkable career.
His father a PR executive and mother a
nurse, Laliberté once remarked that he grew
up in a typical French-Canadian home.
"There was always a reason for a party,
always music in the house." As a child he
was interested in performing and took martial
arts, folk dancing and sang in choirs. (4)
The life of billionaire Laliberté has not
been without controversy. Much has
been rumored about the sex, drug and
alcohol fueled lifestyle of not only the
founder but many under the Cirque
From the Streets to the Stars
“The mission of Cirque du
Soleil is to invoke the
imagination, provoke the
senses and evoke the
emotions of people around
the world.”
Due to the wild success of Cirque
Laliberté has received many honours
including the Order of Quebec, Order
From the Streets to the Stars
By 16 he had produced several high school
events and had decided on a performance
From its humble beginnings as a small group of Quebec street
performers in 1984, Cirque du Soleil (Cirque) has grown into a global
phenomenon over the past 25 years. Cirque was formed by Guy
Laliberté, a street-performer himself, who currently remains with the
organization as CEO.
arts career. Laliberté dropped out of college
to tour Europe as a busker and folk musician
returning to Canada in 1979 with a new set
of performance skills but also needed to find
While its early years were distinctly marked with traditional circus
attractions such as clowns, stilt walkers, jugglers and fire breathers,
Cirque has evolved from its traditional circus origins into a distinguished
a ‘real’ job. (3) After only 3 days employed at a
dam in James Bay a strike ended the job and
Laliberté, living off of unemployment
insurance, joined the stilt-walking troupe Les
Échassiers de Baie-Saint-Paul; this would be
While Cirque officially supports a few
community programs involving youth
at risk and extending art workshops
and culture activities to children ONE
DROP was the primary reason
Laliberte went to space – to send the
message that safe, clean water must
be accessible to all peoples.
melange of theatre, dance, acrobatics and opera.
Quite frankly Cirque
Quite a character!
“Cirque du Soleil began
with a very simple
dream. A group of young
entertainers got together
to amuse audiences, see
the world, and have fun
doing it.”
a predecessor to Cirque. (5)
entertainment captures many elements of the aforementioned genres,
but yet occupies a space on the entertainment spectrum that it created
and arguably solely occupies.
With its unique offering, Cirque has gone on to entertain 100 million
people in Asia, Australia, Europe, North America & South America and
now employs 4,000 people from over 40 countries, including 1,000
artists. (1) Cirque has navigated its way through 3 global recessions, a
sovereignty referendum in Quebec, and the burst of entertainment
options available to the consumer to remain decidedly private and
generate estimated revenues of approximately $800 million in 2009. (2)
The core of Cirque’s business is from its touring (tent) shows, arena
shows, and residents shows with the balance consisting of
merchandising, production and hospitality. Their philanthropic efforts
have focused on youth and clean water issues.
In October 2009 Laliberté paid the $35 million to spend nearly two
weeks in space to raise awareness of global water access; becoming
the first clown in space.
Unlike the traditional circus, the ensemble,
as opposed to any single performer, is the
central attraction of any Cirque production.
Acrobats, dancers and other wonderful
performers make up the cast who are
given elegant and artistic roles to embody
as part of a storyline to draw in the
Cirque’s differentiation is largely due its
ever active creativity and strong design
Cirque lives by the “show is the
From the Streets to the Stars documents the history of Cirque du Soleil
and how they have identified, explored, conceptualized and realized the
opportunity to bring the new “circus” to the people of the world.
star” concept; and it applies not only to the
performers but creators and designers.
This perspective is enabled by Cirque’s
strong collaborative team approach that
allows them to take risks.
Cirque was founded with the funding of the
Quebec government in 1984. Montreal not
only houses the company headquarters,
but is where all show ideas are developed,
produced and premiered. Not only does
this ensure that Cirque does not ‘forget
their roots’; but helps control the quality of
the productions.

From the Streets to the Stars

1|Humble Beginnings
1|Humble Beginnings
Les Échassiers (Stilt Walkers) de Baie-Saint-Paul 1980-1983 In the summer of 1980 Baie-Saint-Paul, a small
Les Échassiers (Stilt Walkers) de Baie-Saint-Paul
In the summer of 1980 Baie-Saint-Paul, a small town of under 8,000 people about 100 kilometres outside of
Quebec City was home to probably more than its fair share of street performers. Most notable at the time were
Les Échassier de Baise-Saint-Paul. Les Échassier was founded by Gilles Ste-Croix who at the time had
experience organizing performance troupes from the pool of talented artists in town. (6) The troupe toured
Quebec during the summer of 1980 and was well received by audiences, although financially a failure. (7)
The first production, Le Grand Tour du Cirque Du Soleil debuted in the small town of Gaspé, and spread to 10
other cities throughout the province. Laliberté decided upon the name while vacationing in Hawaii and chose the
sun because it symbolized energy and youth. Le Grand Tour was certainly more ambitious than other efforts by
Laliberté; a key first was performing under the big top tent to audiences of up to 800. Of course this was fraught
with folly! The group, inexperienced in staging a circus, faced technical difficulties with the tent collapsing under
the weight of rain and a mutiny from European performers used to working with a higher caliber of expertise. But
that seemed to be the Cirque way even until this day – trial and error, exploration and risk. (7)
After touring major Quebec cities Le Grand Tour left the province for the first time taking on the now famous
moniker Cirque du Soleil. Audiences in Ottawa, Toronto and Niagara Falls got their first sampling of Cirque and
showed little interest. In Toronto the group performed to audiences of 25% capacity, in Niagara Falls the
response was equally unfavourable.
Given the entertainment options in major cities Cirque needed the impact
Not satisfied with the status quo and street venues Ste-Croix, joined by his friends and fellow performers Daniel
Gauthier and Guy Laliberté, organized La Fête Foraine de Baie-Saint-Paul, a cultural arts festival where
performers convened to exchange ideas and add life to the streets. The initial success of the festival in 1982 led
the trio to organize it again in 1983 and 1984. The appeal the festival gave the men allusions of a bright future
where a Quebec-based troupe would entertain the world. (6)
of a marketing campaign to attract audiences; but had not money to do so. It is reported that Gilles Ste-Croix
dawned a monkey suit and walked the streets of Toronto in a desperate act to garner interest in the show.
Needless to say the stunt didn’t work; although this ‘personal’ marketing technique would be used by Cirque
more successfully in the future.
Taking a step back, the trio and their troupe were engaging in one of the oldest occupations –
busking. Simply put they were performing for money. While I’m sure like most buskers, Ste-Croix
et al. performed for the fun or love of their art; quite frankly it would be hard to envision such an
act entertaining the world; simply because major cities in almost every continent had century old
traditions of such acts – was Les Échassier really any different?
The group had graduated from being buskers to circus performers following what is the natural trajectory in the
industry. While Laliberté and his partners had great dreams of taking the circus to the world; the obvious
question in light of its lukewarm response from audiences was: is the world interested in yet another circus?
The Cirque is Born
Buoyed by the success of La Fête, the group now more or less under the guidance of Laliberté
planned to share their talents on a grander scale. In 1983 as the province was preparing to
celebrate the 450 th anniversary of Jacque Cartier’s arrival in Canada the following year, Laliberté
moved the group to Montreal and applied to the Quebec government for funding to participate in
the festivities. The province sought the means to translate the Cartier festivities across the
province, so Laliberté proposed a travelling street
performance, obviously familiar territory, and received
$1.5 million in funding from the province. This was the
beginning of a relationship with the Quebec government
that would be desperately needed in years to come.

From the Streets to the Stars

2|The Circus Industry
2|The Circus Industry
Alternatives Nothing to Laugh At In the wider scope of things Cirque was competing against
Nothing to Laugh At
In the wider scope of things Cirque was competing against a variety of entertainment forms – closely related to
performing arts and further removed. The most prominent being:
 Broadway/Theatre
A rational look at the circus industry, at least in North America, would
have caused most rational business people or even visionaries to
choose another path. The modern circus was already a century old
and in decline when Cirque formed. Circus popularity had been
dwindling since the sixties as a plethora of alternate forms of
entertainment including movies, television and theatre were wooing
audiences. While brand names such as Ringling Brothers and Barnum
and Bailey still held some sway; other companies in North America
were merging to stay afloat or simply just existed as small entities.
Internationally the situation was no less grim; although the circus
tradition was centuries old in Europe, Asia, South America and Africa
new audiences were not attracted to the big top. (7)
 Dance
 Opera
 Sporting Events
 Music Concerts
 Movies
Industry Overview
The circus industry faced trouble from every angle (see Figure 1 ).
Attracting audiences depended heavily on drawing new acts; as a
result the talent or stars held increasingly larger power of the circus
owners. Not in itself a problem if revenue is growing to offset the
increased demand; but this was not the case. Additionally, the animals
that were a key component to the attraction of the circus were causing
ethical headaches for the industry also. By the eighties the cry from
animal rights groups was gaining greater traction; further hurting the
lustre of the industry in the eyes of the general population. (8)
This classic framework on industry attractiveness clearly indicates that in all material respects the circus industry
was not one that newcomers should enter and expect to achieve any significant level of success.
Depending on how wide one casts the net, Cirque was competing for the entertainment dollar on many fronts.
In the circus industry Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey (RBBB) were by far the biggest company globally
when Cirque was founded in 1984. RBBB traces its combined origins to 1907 and has changed ownership
several times over its century plus of existence. RBBB is currently part of Feld Entertainment (producers of
Disney on Ice) who generates about $US675 million across all of their properties. RBBB currently offers 4
simultaneous productions that it tours in the United States and occasionally in Canada and parts of Europe.
Although at its inception Cirque was similar in narrative and show elements to the Moscow Circus it is now much
wider in scope of productions, size and global footprint.
The success of Cirque has led to many imitators; even some spawned from former Cirque employees. These
imitators tend to have French sounding names and sub-specialize to differentiate themselves. Over time as
Cirque grew to dominate the industry its competitive threats came from outside of the industry in the likes of
other live productions and alternate forms of entertainment.
Figure 1: Circus Industry Analysis

From the Streets to the Stars

3|The Circus Reinvented
3|The Circus Reinvented
Elements Removed Rings, Animals, Stars and Children Cirque Evolves and Expands While Cirque decided to
Elements Removed
Rings, Animals, Stars and Children
Cirque Evolves and Expands
While Cirque decided to exclude certain classical elements including rings and animals as mentioned earlier there
were other remnants of the circus industry that left it weak and unattractive (see Figure 1 ).
Cross Canada Tour (1986)
After falling into nearly one million dollars in debt resulting from the failed foray outside of Quebec, Cirque was
in danger of going bankrupt. However because of the favourable hand of their bank, outside financing and its
original investor, the government of Quebec, the company was able to stay float; at least for the time being.
With its second life Cirque staged its second show La Magie Continue and toured Canada and made a notable
appearance at Expo 86 in Montreal.
To say that Cirque avoided the perils of relying on individual stars is only a half-truth. While it is absolutely true that
the clear intention was to make the ‘show the star’ and elevate the ensemble (both on and off stage) it did so by
attracting top athletes and performers (or ‘stars’) in various disciplines to join the company (explored further below in
From Possibility to Production).
La Magie played to bigger audiences and was met with wider success. What had changed? Had the appetite
for the traditional circus been underestimated? Hardly.
Realizing that Cirque was still just a disjoint group of
street performers Laliberté took the steps needed to transform his troupe into what he called a “real circus”.
Furthermore in what seemed like an anti-intuitive strategic decision Cirque started to produce shows that appealed to
adults and not children. The simple reason being – higher profits. In 2009 the average price of a Cirque ticket is $60
to $80; the average price of a Ringling Brother’s ticket is $40. Combining this with the ability to attract adults to
multiple shows makes the appeal of creating for adults even greater.
This transformation took place with the hiring of Guy Caron as Artistic Director.
Both Caron and Laliberté envisioned Cirque evolving into storytellers ala the
Moscow Circus and wanted music to be played live during the show. Ironically
the two also wanted to get rid of the rings (i.e. circles) and animals. (7) Getting rid
of the rings would simplify things and allow the audience to better focus on the
main performance. Ridding themselves of animals was rational on many fronts:
Elements Kept
Clowns, Acrobats and Big Top
it rid them of the ridicule from activists, it made touring much simpler and it
lowered their costs. With such a stripping away of what made the circus, well,
the circus, Cirque would have to provide a compelling alternative.
When one thinks of the circus they inevitably think of the clown; for this very reason
Cirque has maintained a clown-type character in many of its productions. By keeping
the ‘clown’ what is maintained is the silliness, the interaction with the crowd, the
improvisation and a connection to circus heritage.
The wow factor in a circus in Cirque shows is more often than not provided by the
acrobats. However, like all other elements of a performance the acrobatics are
weaved into the storyline and don’t stand out as a spectacle separate unto itself.
We Reinvent the Circus (1987)
With a successful year under its belt, Laliberté leading the business, Caron the artistic direction and Ste-Croix
the creative direction Cirque was ready to head to head south to the land of “the greatest show on earth” – with
its latest production. After failing to get any bank loans, Cirque once again appealed to the Quebec
government which provided the $1.5 million dollars the troupe needed to purchase equipment and travel to
California – getting home would be a different story. In fact unless the run in the California was successful
While the majority of shows Cirque offers are resident shows and arena shows (discussed further in Expansion
below) touring (or big top) shows are still an essential element of the experience and like the clown keep Cirque tied
to its roots.
Elements Added
Storyline, Music and Dance
“The first 50 bankers who
we went to see just
laughed at our face. You
know, we didn't even have
a clown nose on our nose,
trying to get a loan, and
everybody laughed at us.”
Cirque literally did not have the money to transport the production
back to Canada! After opening in Quebec to rave reviews, We
Reinvent the Circus, Cirque’s third production, heads to festivals in
Southern California wins the praise of both audiences and critics and
becomes an ‘overnight’ success. (9)
Cirque has borrowed heavily from theatre and Broadway to bring a refreshing artistic flair to the circus. For instance,
instead of featuring a series of unrelated acts, like in a traditional circus, each Cirque creation is more akin to a
theatre performance in that there is a theme or story line. Granted the stories can be noticeably broad or vague to
provide flexibility for the artists while still bringing harmony and a level of intellect to the acts.
This was an important milestone in the company’s history and helped
define Cirque as the innovator of the industry.
La Magie already signalled how Cirque chose to differentiate itself,
but with such a bold title as We Reinvent the Circus, the question
Similar to Broadway productions, each Cirque show has an original musical score. This is remarkable considering
the number of shows that Cirque mounts. The score integrates perfectly into each each scene, driving the
performance and coordinating the timing of acts and other elements such as lighting. (8) The music is played live and
the musicians are dressed in costume in order to blend into the performance and remove the lines of separation.
To add further distinction to its shows, each Cirque production features abstract, spiritual and formal dance.

From the Streets to the Stars

4|The Backdrop

From the Streets to the Stars 4|The Backdrop Integrated Experience, Multicultural Talent & Appeal With
Integrated Experience, Multicultural Talent & Appeal With non-essential circus elements removed and theatre elements
Integrated Experience, Multicultural Talent & Appeal
With non-essential circus elements removed and theatre elements added Cirque wanted to connect with the
audience in a new way so beginning with its fourth production Nouvelle Expérience,. Cirque removed the
curtain that separated the artist from the audience forcing the artist to remain in character for the entire
production. The end result being the audience would feel part of a larger show – a unified experience.
1990, 2001, 2008
With productions that span the globe, Cirque has been purposeful in creating shows that reflect and appeal to
multiple cultures and include artists from all corners. According to the company its artists and employees
represent over 40 nationalities and speak 25 different languages! (1) These kinds of credentials are unheard of
most industries; for Cirque it provides them with a distinct advantage and is in fact essential to their business
model. In attracting increasing larger global audiences, and repeated audiences at that, Cirque is forced in
many ways to habitually reinvent themselves and the show experience. Having the ability to draw from global
talent and storylines has been a great means of achieving their aspirations and making the offering very
difficult to duplicate.
The recession of 2008 has no doubt been transformational and has impacted all people globally indirectly or directly.
For Cirque this meant competing for ever precious entertainment dollars in an environment where consumers had more
choices than imaginable. Cirque President Daniel Lamarre remarks that the entertainment sector is generally weathers
the storm better than other sectors because people look to entertainment as distractions during tough times. (11) Even
with that being said, Cirque with its premium pricing model is more susceptible to hardship. In fact the cancellation of a
second show in Macau and postponement of a permanent home in Dubai bring home the point. (12) Nonetheless,
because of their compelling entertainment offering they still manage to sell out shows globally; even at the epicenter of
the recession: USA.
Given its lifespan, Cirque has faced other global recessions. The first, in 1990-91
During this period Cirque opened bigger shows in
The Circus is Reinvented
The Thrill of the Circus and the Artistic Richness of the Theatre (10)
Suffice it say that Cirque has created a form of entertainment that captures aspects of the circus, theatre,
Broadway and dance – but is yet distinctly in a category of its own.
“We've gone through
three recessions in
Cirque history and
they've all been growth
periods for us.”
precipitated by the Gulf war.
North America and made its first steps into the European market; Japan was to
follow. The second, in 2001 following the dot-com bust and the September 11 th
attacks. During this period Cirque expanded its Montreal headquarters in
preparation for its entry into Mexico and also extending the brand into other
mediums (more below in Expansion)
Speaking to PBS in 2001 Laliberté said:
Separate and Distinct
In 1995 the province of Quebec sought secession from Canada via a national
“We didn't reinvent the circus: We packaged it in a much more
modern way, but basically we took an art form which is known,
with a lot of dust on it, where people had basically forgot that it
could be something else than what they knew about, and we
basically organized for ourselves a creative platform.
Regardless of a “yes” or “no” decision, this pivotal moment in
Canadian history could have served to scale back the growth of Cirque with its
very strong ties to the people of Quebec and its government. Instead Cirque was
invited by the Canadian government to create a show for the opening ceremonies
of the G7 summit held in Halifax softening the tense national environment, and
showing off the talent of Canada to the world.
Interestingly enough this special
performance, before global leaders, spoke to another trend: globalization.
Perhaps an argument of semantics, but the fact remains under the leadership of Laliberté, Cirque innovated in
an industry that was in steady decline and has managed to not only sustain but gain momentum over its 25
year life span.
“Do you agree that
Québec should become
sovereign after having
made a formal offer to
Canada for new
economic and political
Driving Growth
Global Village
Arguably Cirque’s decidedly multicultural company and appeal has given it resilience against political turmoil and
economic difficulty. Geographical diversification has been central to Cirque’s business strategy and has been at the centre
of its plan to grow the brand. Paradoxically the shows have evolved to include little to no dialogue (i.e. language) to allow
them to cater to diversified audiences. They infact speak a made up language ‘Cirquish’ to convey their message.
The vision of Laliberté and the Cirque founders could be captured in a single world: global. In realizing this dream the
touring show has expanding from 70 cities to 250 around the world.
Permanent shows are no longer just the privilege of
Las Vegas, but Asia and the Middle East. All this growth in just the past few years.

From the Streets to the Stars

5|From Possibility to Production
5|From Possibility to Production
Entertainment Everywhere The Internet Age Development Process The establishment of the internet age has posed
Entertainment Everywhere
The Internet Age
Development Process
The establishment of the internet age has posed a threat to
industries such as retail, news, and perhaps most acutely the
entertainment industry in all its forms. Certainly as the speed
of the internet improved and homes around the globe were
equipped consumers became empowered and could choose
what to watch and when to watch it.
Creation and Evolution
Naturally the Cirque creative process is proprietary; but what is known about the development process is that it is intense,
lengthy and committed; as a consequence a consistent, innovative, and quality production is generated. From the
perspective of a single show, the development process is detailed in the next section at a high level if only to provide some
insight into how Cirque generates its ideas and takes them to market. (Courtesy: How Stuff Works (15) )
An offering like Cirque is obviously best enjoyed (and for the
most part only offered) live. How is it that Cirque was able to
not only survive; but flourish against the tide of growing
entertainment options and fragmented audiences?
After the lengthy creation process is complete and a production is ready to go live without exception it will be first debuted in
Montreal as homage to Quebec’s integral part in Cirque’s genesis.
“The Cirque creation process is something so unique that it’s difficult to describe.
The obvious is that it has used the internet as quite an effective platform to market its shows; this has been
It is gut wrenching and beautiful at the same time. Maybe like giving birth to
of particular importance as the number of simultaneous shows offered increased. This has included live
broadcasts streamed online; and information and sales on their website. provides a
platform for consumers to research and preview productions; plan outings and purchase trips. The site
aesthetic and experience aligns with what one would expect from Cirque: colour, beauty and entertainment.
It could be argued that the digital age has only assisted Cirque in growing the business.
a child. Pain and joy” (13)
Cirque has 50 scouts travelling
around the world at any given time
to recruit talent for new shows, and
1000 Channels and More
Regardless of the plethora of options available on the market the bottom line is people want to be
entertained. This may mean watching a program on one of the hundreds of specialty channel that cater to
that there is a “trend group”
whose function is to feed its
a very specific audiences; watching a movie on an iPod; taking in a basketball game or user created
content on YouTube. The fact remains that now more than ever entertainers have to provide a compelling
offering to grab and keep the attention of consumers.
creators information about new
artistic trends
Cirque has been able to attract and retain audiences even in the midst of
the digital revolution by offering an experience that quite frankly must be
seen live. As stated earlier, success has been predicated on their ability to
stay fresh and, just as other mediums, provide shows that cater to the
broad public and specific groups around the globe. Cirque’s 2009 offering
Each individual show has its own team, creators who form
of 20 shows speaks to its attempt not only to expand the business but
the concepts and work with the performers and technical
crew to breathe life into them. (14)
remain relevant in the marketplace (see Expansion below).
“What we have done in order not to compromise the quality of
our shows, is that we have creative teams which are totally
dedicated to each show. No one at Cirque works on the
development of more than one show … It will take (them)
three years to develop that show and three years from
now we find (them) a new challenge.” (11)

From the Streets to the Stars

Brainstorm | Theme  While ideas are generated from an accumulation of sources globally, including
Brainstorm | Theme
 While ideas are generated from an accumulation of sources globally, including the performers themselves all ideation is essentially centered in Cirques Montreal headquarters
 A creative team including Laliberté, directors, artistic directors, costume and set designers and choreographers gather to brainstorm concepts and ideas for new shows
 The first thing the team determines is the show's theme. The theme is a delicate balance, because it must tie the acts together without adding up to a narrative. The Cirque team
avoids straight narrative in order to allow room for the audience to interpret the show any way they want
 After deciding on a theme an original soundtrack is created by members of Cirque’s composer-led creative team
 The soundtrack serves as a cue to the performers, guiding them through the show and each act. To ensure that the musicians follow the pace of the performers, all Cirque shows
use live music. In the event an act fails, the musicians adjust tempo and volume and improvise if necessary
 The heart of all Cirque shows is the performers and their unique acts. As a starting point for all casting needs Cirque has created a database called Cirque Memory where amongst
the many pieces of information it catalogues is a 20,000 member list of performers to draw upon
 Casting agents and scouts scour cities and remote areas looking for new talent to add to new and existing Cirque shows. Additionally, the casting agents hold auditions twice a year
at the Montreal headquarters. If a live performance is not possible candidates can also submit video auditions
 All Cirque performers must complete training before they can perform with a show. Each performer is sent to headquarters where they will train for one to four months. More than 50
percent of Cirque's acts come from the gymnastic arts; the rest come from a mix of circus arts and theatre backgrounds. During this training period, performers learn the skills
Staging and Equipping
 The Cirque set design department creates the stage and equipment for each show. The two major considerations are aesthetics and safety
 Innovation in aesthetics and safety design is an essential ingredient in the recipe for Cirque's success. Cirque has invented many pieces of equipment specifically for their shows,
including the fast track, a specialized trampoline, and the double Russian swing – an element used in most of Cirque’s productions
 Cirque will hire other companies to help in the creation of some aspects of the set and stage, but anything that is actually used by the acrobats is designed at an R&D facility at
Costume and Makeup
 Cirque performances are experiential and artists interact with the audience so it is imperative that great attention is paid to make up and costumes (16)
 The costume designer's goal is to design a costume that creates a character and allows the cast member to perform unconstrained, all while blending aesthetic elements and safety
 It is not uncommon for nearly 100 designers to work on a single production

From the Streets to the Stars

Beyond the Show Overview Creating live shows and presenting them under the big top will
Beyond the Show
Creating live shows and presenting them under the big top will remain central to Cirque, as evidenced by the 20 shows they are currently
mounting all over the globe (85% of revenue is from live performances). However the dreams of its founders force Cirque to seek
compatible opportunities wherever possible.
After its performances in California in 1987 executives from Columbia Pictures expressed interest in producing a Cirque movie. While
nothing came of those early inquiries it foreshadowed the extension of what would become the Cirque brand beyond its core live show.
Cirque has extended its brand to other realms and on the strength of its live shows now has interests in television, movies, merchandising
and by virtue of its experience ethic is considering even restaurants.
Corteo (Japan)
Dralion (Mexico)
KOOZA (North America)
OVO (North America)
Quidam (South America)
Varekai (Europe)
Television and Movies
Cirque’s first foray into movies was the widely popular IMAX release
Journey of Man in 2000. Since then via its Events & Images division
original content is created for television and DVD release.
Alegría (North America)
Saltimbanco (Europe)
Event Planning
Banana Shpeel (Chicago, New York)
While expanding into the organization of events may not be an
intuitive extension the fact remains that Cirque has gathered 25 years
of experience of event planning. Through the Events team Cirque has
provided planning services for both public and private clients.
ARIA (Las Vegas)
CRISS ANGEL Believe (Las Vegas)
Cirque offers a wide range of products (bags, jackets, key chains, etc.)
at all of its shows and online. Through its Merchandising division the
company wants to offer the Cirque experience through high quality
products. Products are developed through the use partners with the
goal of bringing “artful living” into the lives of Cirque fans.
With its licensing division Cirque is endeavouring to apply its talents to
other areas not connecting to the core product in any direct way.
Through its own initiatives and with partners Cirque is exploring the
hospitality field – bars, lounges, restaurants, spas – and has already
launched a women fitness program in Las Vegas – JUKARI.
KÀ (Las Vegas)
La Nouba (Orlando)
Mystère (Las Vegas)
“O” (Las Vegas)
The Beatles LOVE (Las Vegas)
Zumanity (Las Vegas New York)
ZAIA (Macau SAR, China)
ZED (Japan)
Wintuk (New York)
7|Summary Appendix |Our OVO Experience Dream Come True OVO From the Streets to the Stars
Appendix |Our OVO Experience
Appendix |Our OVO Experience
Dream Come True OVO From the Streets to the Stars A Treat for the Senses
Dream Come True
From the Streets to the Stars
A Treat for the Senses
It’s doubtful that anybody, including Laliberté himself, could have envisioned the success that Cirque du
Soleil would achieve. The phenomenon that is Cirque has been researched by phd’s, dissected by
business strategists, admired by artists, enjoyed by audiences and even copied by competitors.
As an enjoyable part of our research we went to watch OVO staged in the Portland’s in downtown Toronto.
OVO (meaning egg) is a dive into the colourful, busy and energetic ecosystem of insects. When the
mysterious egg arrives along with its awkward owner, a mystery and love story ensues.
What began a story of street performers in the outskirts of Quebec entertaining audiences for spare
change has evolved into a global business worth billions. The natural question is how will it last? While
audiences can be fickle, and if anything has been learned from the 2008 recession it’s that businesses
of today are not guaranteed a tomorrow regardless of their history; Cirque has managed to thrive by
constantly innovating and creating experiences that the world cannot get enough of.
Really, if one think of it; it’s only appropriate that founder Guy Laliberté took the show to the stars – it is
almost the only place on earth that has not had the opportunity to experience the circus of the sun.
 The site of the production was
under the big top. Cirque creates a
mini-city that travels with the show
and presents OVO in what is a
very organic, customized and
intimate environment.
 Before the show began characters
from the production interacted with
the crow in costume. During the
show we were entertained with
incredible acrobatics, humour and
 During the intermission Da went
Cirque has quite an
array of merchandise to help the
audience extend their experience
beyond the big top.
 Quite unexpectedly is the show
was drawing to a close the scent of
lily was dispersed throughout to
draw us into the world that Cirque
had created. With the wonderful


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