Cirque Du Soleil is the longest running and world famous circus production in the world. Ever since its debut performances, its successfully blended traditional circus acts with thematic storytelling and style. Every show tells stories that are almost guaranteed to captivate and enthrall audiences of all ages from every corner of the world. The vivid blend of music, athleticism, wonder, and circus antics have kept it in the public eye for nearly 40 years.
But what has made the Cirque Du Soleil the world’s most famous circus productions?
It all begins with a performance style that uses no animals anywhere in their shows. Which means that viewers can trust that the stellar productions and thematic shows on stage are absolutely free of animal abuse and harm. The show also features the most sophisticated clowns who can still bring out the laughs and silly, while still appealing to audiences of all ages. On top of that, the Cirque Du Soleil also incorporates all the circus acts you could ever want or expect including: high flying trapeze leaps, death-defying balance beam walks, dazzling fire breathing and flame-dancing shows, and more.
It’s easily the total package circus experience wrapped up in some of the most cool and visionary themes and stories that have ever come to the stage.
How Cirque Du Soleil Began
Though the company was founded in 1984, it’s story begins in 1979 when Guy Laliberté, who had just quit college to learn fire breathing, organized a summer fair in Baie-Saint-Paul with the help of Daniel Gauthier and Gilles Ste-Croix. Part of the publicity for the event, to convince the Quebec government to help fund the operation, involved Ste-Croix walking 56 miles from Baie-Saint-Paul to Quebec City on stilts.
This gave the troup funding which led to them touring Quebec in 1980.
The show, Les Échassiers, was well received by audiences and critics alike, but it was a financial failure. So Laliberté spent winter in Hawaii while Ste-Croix remained in Quebec to set up “The High-Heeled Club”, which was a nonprofit holding company to mitigate their losses from the previous summer. This eventually led to the show breaking even.
Later the team opened up La Fête Foraine, a street performance festival that reached moderate success. This success may have led to the government of Quebec giving him a $1.6 million grant to host a production the following year as part of Quebec’s 450th anniversary celebration of the French explorer Jacques Cartier’s arrival in Turtle Island (North America). Which would then become Cirque du Soleil’s first production, Le Grand Tour du Cirque du Soleil.
It’s easy to imagine how the Global Pandemic changed things for this circus company. Early in 2020, Cirque Du Soleil responded to the pandemic by suspending 44 active shows and ordering temporary lay-offs of about 95% of their staff. This led to the company facing financial troubles with a massive debt that was only somewhat offset by shareholder injections and a hufe loan from the Quebec government. In fact, the company filed for bankruptcy protection in June 2020.
Despite this, the company announced plans to rehire as many of their laid off staff as possible once conditions improved. And to perhaps help this, the company sought takeover deals that would give them the money to stay in business and rehire staff. So there was hope when MGM Resorts International CEO Jim Murren and Canadian Investment Company Catalyst Capital bought the company.
And sure enough, in summer 2021, the company began reopening several shows, beginning with most of their Las Vegas-based resident shows as Zumanity was permanently shut down in November 2020. Then some of the touring shows reopened starting from late 2021 throughout 2022.
Then, in November 2021, a new resident show, Drawn to Life, premiered. Which stands out as it was the first new production since the start of The Global Pandemic.