Cirque du Soleil
1984
Canada
Music group
The story begins in 1982, in Baie-Saint-Paul, Quebec. In this haven of creativity whose rural charm attracts artists, art collectors and tourists alike, a group of young street performers mix with the crowd, walking on stilts, juggling and eating fire. They are the Club des Talons Hauts (the High Heels Club). Inspired by the spectators' obvious delight, the performers hatch the idea of organizing an entertainers' festival, the Fête Foraine de Baie-Saint-Paul—the precursor of what is to become Cirque du Soleil.

Cirque du Soleil was formed in 1984 by a troupe of street performers known as "Le Club des Talons Hauts" (the high-heels club), the same group which from 1982 to 1984 had organized the first street performers' festival, La Fête foraine de Baie-Saint-Paul. (Baie-Saint-Paul is a small town near Quebec City.)

Among the members of this group there is Guy Laliberté, then a musician and fire-breather, who is now Chief Executive Officer and Founder; Gilles Ste-Croix, who was often found high up on stilts in those days, served as Director of Creation on most Cirque du Soleil shows, and Guy Caron, then an actor, has directed some Cirque du Soleil productions.

In 1984, 73 people worked for Cirque du Soleil. Today, the organization has over 2,500 employees worldwide. The average age of Cirque du Soleil employees is 34.

Cirque du Soleil has not received any grants from the public or private sectors since 1992.

Initially, from 1984 to 1989, Cirque du Soleil toured only one show at a time and played to an average of 270,000 people a year.

In 2003, there are no less than nine Cirque productions running simultaneously. A tenth production is in the creation phase.

In 2002 alone, nearly seven million people saw a Cirque du Soleil show.

Since Cirque's founding in 1984, close to 40 million people have attended one of its productions.

Since it began, Cirque du Soleil has performed in over 240 engagements in 90 cities around the world.
Cirque du Soleil's International Headquarters are in Montreal.

Numerous organizations from around the globe have honoured Cirque du Soleil, particularly for its artistic and business achievements. These distinctions include prestigious Emmy, Drama Desk, Ace, Félix, and Gémeaux awards, as well as a Rose d'Or de Montreux.

Cirque du Soleil is now working on diversifying its commercial activities: for example, projects are under way in the entertainment, audiovisual, film, publishing, and merchandising fields.

On December 14, 1998, Cirque opened its very first store right in its new resident theatre at Downtown Disney West Side on the property of Walt Disney World Resort, near Orlando, Florida.

Cirque du Soleil statistics:
Founded: June 1984
Number of employees: 2,500
Number of artists: More than 500
Average age of employees: 34
Number of nationalities: More than 40
Languages spoken: More than 25

Number of shows currently running: 9
Varekai (North American Tour)
Dralion (North American Tour)
Quidam (Japanese Tour)
Alegría (North American Tour)
Saltimbanco (European Tour)
"O" (Bellagio, Las Vegas, Nevada)
Mystère (Treasure Island, Las Vegas, Nevada)
La Nouba (Walt Disney® World Resortd, Orlando, Florida)
ZUMANITY (New York-New York Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada)
Number of cities visited since 1984: Over 240 engagements in 90 cities

International Headquarters in Montreal : With almost 1,200 employees

Number of spectators since 1984: Almost 40 million

Number of spectators expected in 2003: More than 7 million

Number of spectators per weekend in 2003: More than 60,000
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Cirque du Soleil's artists (37)
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