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Cirque du Soleil considering options after closing shows, laying off most staff


March 27, 2020
By Talent Canada Staff

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Clowns from Allegria. Photo: Provided by Cirque du Soleil

Cirque du Soleil says it hasn’t made a decision on steps it will take to stay afloat after cancelling all of its shows and laying off almost all of its employees due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Company spokeswoman Caroline Couillard says the company is working with all of its partners, as well as with the federal and Quebec governments, to determine how to best support it and prepare for a return to activities as soon as the pandemic is brought under control.

The company’s debt is estimated to be US$900 million.

Cirque’s main shareholder is TPG Capital, with a 60 per cent stake, compared with 20 per cent each for the Chinese firm Fosun Capital Group and the Quebec pension fund manager.

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A week ago, the company announced the layoff of some 4,700 employees and the cancellation of its 44 shows around the world, including six in Las Vegas.

American credit rating agency Moody’s last week lowered the company’s credit rating and said there was a high risk of default by the end of the year.

Self-isolation entertainment

Cirque du Soleil also announced it was launching a new digital content hub called CirqueConnect – available at cirquedusoleil.com/cirqueconnect.

Moved by a desire to stay connected to its fans, Cirque du Soleil content hub provides a source of high-quality entertainment for fans to enjoy from the comfort of their homes, as current measures to combat the coronavirus (COVID-19) have suspended live viewing experiences across the globe,” it said in a press release.

“We at Cirque du Soleil have a role to play in providing high-quality entertainment to our fans that are staying in their homes as this crisis unfolds,” said Sheila Morin, CMO of Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group. “Now more than ever, our fans need the distraction that spectacle brings, a break from the chaos. We want to do our part to spread joy, even from afar, directly to them.”

The CirqueConnect content hub is filled with footage from  various multimedia offerings, including:

  • A 60-minute special: Cirque du Soleil opens its vault of live show recordings and invites fans to witness some of the most iconic show moments of KURIOS – Cabinet of Curiosities, ‘’O’’, and LUZIA.
  • Virtual Reality Experiences: Download the Cirque du Soleil VR app to get onstage and step into the heart of Cirque du Soleil most thrilling moments.
  • Content Series and Tutorials: With titles such as Cirque it Out and Color Me Cirque, audiences can exercise like a Cirque du Soleil artist and learn make-up techniques from the professionals.
  • Music: Sit back and enjoy, sing along or get up and dance to a variety of music videos and soundtracks from our Cirque du Soleil shows.
  • Family-Friendly Favorites: Cirque du Soleil family programming includes Netflix’s Luna Petunia, an animated series of adventure, friendship and learning in the fantastical land of Amazia, and Big Top Academy, an original live-action kids series centered around an extraordinary group of young acrobats who dream of becoming circus artists.

– with files from the Canadian Press