I finally ran away and joined the circus! I did, REALLY, but only for a day!
To give you a little of the backstory. I was chit chatting with an old friend about touring entertainment and before I knew it I was talking to the Senior Vice President of Wardrobe for Cirque du Soleil.
That conversation went exceptionally well, I was able to speak about my background and ask questions to see how their organizational setup differs to those that I am familiar with. He encouraged me to go and do a job shadow to see all of the inner workings as he cautioned that this work lifestyle is not for everyone. I happily accepted as each experience educating us in an unfamiliar area that can better influence our future life and career decisions.
So the day started at 2pm for me, from there I was whisked on a full tour of every knook and cranny of the setup. Walking the footsteps of the artists and creators, I entered through the back tent where training, dressing and pretty much everything takes place. From there I was lead through the tunnel into the Grand Chapiteau. The main backstage area is surprisingly small but I came to a conclusion that I will delve into later.
I was then walked through pretty much every costume in the show, speaking about how they are all cared for and kept looking fresh and new. After all, this show is packed up into a bunch of trucks every 8 weeks in addition to 10 shows a week, that is a lot of wear and tear on a bunch on fabric.
Something I found very interesting is how every role is very condensed, for example the wardrobe assistants are also responsible for maintaining several robot costumes even though they are made more like props and feature little fabric pieces. In addition to small things like ensuring garments that feature battery operated aspects have fully charged batteries. Coming form the film world those would all be handled by separate individuals, but life on tour is all about condensing as many roles as possible.
All in all the main traveling crew is 120 people with 64 trucks. In each city they hire a large number of individuals for roles such as concessions and ticket handling. It is a HUGE operation, a fully moving city but as an audience member you do not get the same experience with this kind of show in a theatre.
My day wrapped up by seeing the show, this show is called : Kurious; Cabinet of Curiosities. I was already a fan as the director also directed Madonna's super bowl halftime performance. Need I say more?
I am very glad I took the day to explore the world and talk with the cast and crew, it is a very intensive work environment that changes location every 8 weeks. Sometimes to very remote and cold places, small things that one might not think about initially upon coming aboard.
Onto the next adventure, whatever that may be....
Love and Light