From a group of 20 street performers at its beginnings in 1984, Cirque du Soleil is a major Québec-based organization providing high-quality artistic entertainment. The company has close to 4,000 employees, including 1,300 artists from more than 50 different countries.
Cirque du Soleil has brought wonder and delight to more than 155 million spectators in more than 300 cities in over forty countries on six continents.
For more information about Cirque du Soleil, visit www.cirquedusoleil.com.
The mission of Cirque du Soleil is to invoke the imagination, provoke the senses and evoke the emotions of people around the world.
The Creation of Cirque du Soleil
It all started in Baie-Saint-Paul, a small town near Québec City in Canada. There, in the early eighties, a band of colourful characters roamed the streets, striding on stilts, juggling, dancing, breathing fire, and playing music. They were Les Échassiers de Baie-Saint-Paul (the Baie-Saint- Paul Stiltwalkers), a street theatre group founded by Gilles Ste-Croix. Already, the townsfolk were impressed and intrigued by the young performers – including Guy Laliberté who founded Cirque du Soleil.
The troupe went on to found Le Club des talons hauts (the High Heels Club), and then, in 1982, organized La Fête foraine de Baie-Saint-Paul, a cultural event in which street performers from all over met to exchange ideas and enliven the streets of the town for a few days. La Fête foraine was repeated in 1983 and 1984. Le Club des talons hauts attracted notice, and Guy Laliberté, Gilles Ste-Croix and their cronies began to cherish a crazy dream: to create a Québec circus and take the troupe travelling around the world.
In 1984, Québec City was celebrating the 450th anniversary of Canada’s discovery by Jacques Cartier, and they needed a show that would carry the festivities out across the province. Guy Laliberté presented a proposal for a show called Cirque du Soleil (Circus of the Sun), and succeeded in convincing the organizers. And Cirque du Soleil hasn’t stopped since!
A Few Statistics
- In 1984, 73 people worked for Cirque du Soleil. Today, the company hires close to 4,000 employees worldwide, including 1,300 artists.
- At the Montreal International Headquarters alone, there are close to 1,500 employees.
- More than 100 types of occupations can be found at Cirque.
- The company’s employees and artists represent more than 50 nationalities and speak 25 different languages.
- More than 155 million spectators have seen a Cirque du Soleil show since 1984.
- Close to 15 million have seen a Cirque du Soleil show in 2014.
- Cirque du Soleil hasn’t received any grants from the public or private sectors since 1992.
Cirque du Soleil’s Areas of Activity
In 2015, Cirque du Soleil will present simultaneously some 19 different shows around the world. The heart of Cirque du Soleil’s activity remains creating live shows and presenting them under big tops, in theatres or arenas. Since 1984 close to 200 creators from the four corners of the globe have contributed their talents to this end. In 2014, in the context of an on-going strategy of diversifying its content and live-entertainment activities worldwide, Cirque du Soleil has created some 10 subsidiaries among which:
45 DEGREES creates and produces custom-made experiential content bringing the unique expertise and creativity of Cirque du Soleil to discerning clients who are seeking high-end creative services and branded entertainment for corporate,￼public and private events and special projects.
A sampling of events imagined by 45 DEGREES:
- Cirque du Soleil’s 30th Anniversary Music Concert (2014);
- Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade (2013 and 2014);
- World’s Exhibitions in Milano (2015), Shanghai (2010) and Saragossa (2008);
- The launch of the Kinect system for Xbox 360 (2010).
Cirque du Soleil Média
Cirque du Soleil Média is a long-term joint venture between Cirque du Soleil and Bell Media with a mission to develop new and original media content specifically for television, film, digital, and gaming platforms. Headquartered in Montreal, the company develops entertainment projects for sale and licensing around the world, leveraging Cirque du Soleil’s creative resources and infrastructure with Bell Media’s production experience, media platforms, and diverse distribution capabilities.
A sample of projects by Cirque du Soleil Média :
- Child of Light video game in collaboration with Ubisoft;
- Kids TV series Luna Petunia currently in development with Saban Brands.
Cirque du Soleil Theatrical
Cirque du Soleil Theatrical will develop unique theatrical opportunities for Cirque du Soleil. Based on traditional theatrical practices, these new productions will be created using the Cirque du Soleil signature style and aesthetic but will provide a very different experience for Cirque du Soleil audiences. Cirque du Soleil Theatrical productions are developed for Broadway and West End markets as well as global touring.
4U2C specializes in developing and creating multimedia visual environments that combine video, sound, lighting and special effects both for the stage and for projects on unusual projection surfaces with or without the use of screens.
A sample project by 4U2C :
- 3-minute pre-show animation projected on Montreal’s Bell Centre ice rink during the playoffs in 2014.
Outbox offers a strong ticket selling tool in some 20 countries and in 10 different languages using signature interactive seat maps, 3D customized venue plans and one page checkout. Outbox leverages its know-how to find customized, innovative and relevant ways to help its clients better sellout seats. Clients are typically major live event global venues or international promoters looking for integrated, specialized solutions. Outbox helps manage ticket window sales, call center service, group sales, season tickets and special events.