This year celebrates Cirque du Soleil’s 30th anniversary of the first time its Big Top stopped in San Francisco. Though Cirque has toured all over the globe, San Francisco’s love of the arts has pulled Cirque du Soleil back to the Bay year after year. They have returned this year with a daring new performance, VOLTA. We talked with Sébastien Prévost about another skill that has kept Cirque performing all over the world, their ability to design individual performance experiences for corporate events.
What is Cirque du Soleil’s mission? How does it carry that mission globally? Our mission is to create memorable experiences for Cirque’s global audience. We are happy to say this audience is expanding to business clientele across world. Our teams set up corporate events ranging from a market launch in Tokyo, to a private Big Top performance in Brussels and even customized training sessions for a corporate client in Los Angeles.
How does working closely with the business community in cities where you perform help Cirque du Soleil thrive? We work tirelessly to spread the word about the company’s extensive corporate offerings. Few people can truly grasp all the possibilities, but it’s hardly surprising in the world of Cirque no dream is too big. I could talk for hours about private corporate events for 2,500 people where the entire Big Top is outfitted in the company’s brand. We also plan intimate business events where guests can enjoy creative surprises in the VIP Suite like changing décor and exquisite hors d’oeuvres.
Cirque du Soleil has a knack for redefining what is humanly possible. I’m still amazed by the artists who constantly push the boundaries of human performance to thrill audiences. In fact, I use this to encourage the team to dare to do things differently, because that’s the best way to continue to offer clients and guests a one-of-a-kind experience they will cherish forever.
What are the challenges you face as you move from city to city? The greatest challenge is that a circus, by definition, is a traveling show. That means an average of 20,000 tons of equipment, 120 people, including about 40 artists, going from town to town, not to mention the 150 people hired locally to put up the Big Top and lend a hand during the five days of installation. All of which calls for much more advanced tools and strategies than for resident shows. Cirque is all about wonder and extravagant performances. But above all, for Cirque it’s about flawless execution, where every detail counts.
Why does Cirque come back to San Francisco time and time again? Cirque du Soleil LOVES San Francisco! The city makes us nostalgic for the early days. We’ve been coming here since our first touring show, Cirque Réinventé, in 1988. We also enjoy the city’s diverse arts and culture scene, something at the heart of our business.
How does the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce help your business? The San Francisco Chamber of Commerce keeps us connected with the local business community and allows us to network. Having similar goals and values, our partnership builds lasting relationships through promotional initiatives and events like our featured performance of Luzia: A Waking Dream of Mexico at the Chamber’s 2016 Ebbies Awards.
Cirque du Soleil has returned to San Francisco with their dazzling new show, VOLTA Under the Big Top, which runs from November 15, 2018 until February 3, 2019 at AT&T Park. VOLTA showcases daring acrobatics, urban dance, and extreme sports paired with equally eye-catching sets and creative costuming.