1980, Quebec City. People rush to meet three exhausted travellers, who have just walked 90 kilometres in 22 hours…on stilts!
They had left for this trip to be noticed and raise funds. Their goal was setting up their own circus company, but not just like the others.
At the time, circus companies still followed the main rules established at the beginning of the twentieth century by the showman Phineas Barnum. A show was to include trained animals, stellar acrobats, clowns for children.
In the 1980s, hundreds of circus companies competed fiercely to attract an increasingly rare audience. Yes, things have changed: the circus is no longer popular compared to the cinema or the television.
Result: circuses earn less and less money.
Our young waders say it is time to reinvent the circus, thus changing the business model.
Thanks to their genius, the three friends got their first funding and launched their project: the Cirque du Soleil.
Pets and animals? That’s enough! We don’t want to see them in cages any more, and it costs too much to keep them healthy. The stellar acrobats? Okay, long live to young talents, unknown and motivated. Clowns? We keep the principle but let them do things that make adults laugh too. The sand track and the badly heated tent? Never again, the Cirque du Soleil offers comfortable space and beautiful decorations.
And it works! The new model finds their audience and it is known all over the world. Some of the founding waders even become billionaires.
Now, however, with the Covid-19 crisis, the management of Cirque du Soleil has filed for bankruptcy protection at the end of June. With bankruptcy, Cirque du Soleil aims to restructure its debt with assistance from the Canadian government and private equity firms, to be able to return enchanting their millions of fans around the world with their acrobatic shows.