After ten years of working on stage as an acrobat, Andrew Watson now works behind the scenes, as Director of Creation for Cirque du Soleil's new production, Zumanity. Previously, he played this role with Varekai, which premiered in the spring of 2002. This show marked a pivotal moment in the artistic career of a man who is no stranger to risk.
In 1984, the year Cirque du Soleil was founded, he enrolled as a general artist in the Gerry Cottle Circus in London. He was 24 at the time and didn't have the gymnastic training of most acrobats. But that didn't stop him: he became a trapeze artist. In 1986, his duo performance at the Festival du Cirque de Demain, in Paris, earned him job offers from several well-known European circuses. He went on tour with the German circus troupe Roncalli, attracted by its blend of theatre and traditional circus elements.
His Cirque de Demain performance was also noticed by Guy Caron, at the time artistic director of a youthful Cirque du Soleil. In 1987, drawn by Cirque's creativity and audacity, Andrew Watson joined the team of We Reinvent the Circus, the show that was to be the Quebec circus troupe's first major North American tour. Throughout his career as a Cirque du Soleil acrobat, Andrew Watson won several honours and awards, including the Clown d'argent at the Festival International du Cirque de Monte-Carlo, in 1990. He left the ring in 1990, and subsequently held the positions of director of casting and artist training, artistic coordinator and artistic director. From 1994 to 1999, he was involved mainly in the shows Saltimbanco, Alegría and Quidam.
In 1999, he decided to go back to London to live and work. Joining the New Millennium Experience Company, he designed the aerial acts and trained the acrobatic artists for the New Millennium Dome Central Show, presented in London as part of the year-2000 festivities. In 2001, he came back to Montreal with his family in order to oversee the creation of Varekai.