“Cirque du Soleil Rebrands – The New Le Groupe du Soleil?”

On November 21, 2017, in a video posted across its social media footprint, Cirque du Soleil shocked the fan community with a re-branding announcement that would, in their own words, take the company into the future of entertainment.

Originally composed of 20 street performers in 1984, Cirque du Soleil completely reinvented circus arts and went on to become a world leader in live entertainment. Today, on top of producing world-renowned shows, Cirque du Soleil extends its creative approach to a large variety of entertainment forms, such as multimedia productions, immersive experiences, theme parks, and special events.

With this ever-evolving self-reinvention, Cirque du Soleil needed a new identity – and a new name – one that would embrace and respect their heritage while at the same time evolve with the company’s new mission. Thus two new distinct logos were released as part of this announcement: a modified sunburst for the CIRQUE DU SOLEIL ENTERTAINMENT GROUP (the new umbrella company), and a roundel featuring the Cirque Sun-face motif in its center, labeled CIRQUE DU SOLEIL (the circus arts brand).

A bombshell.

Cirque du Soleil’s original logo was created in 1984, by Josée Bélanger (a stiltwaker who, along with Gilles Ste-Croix, Serge Roy, Carmen Ruest, and Guy Laliberte, founded the non-profit Club des talons hauts to promote stilt-walking events in Quebec, the forerunner to Cirque du Soleil), and is based on a tarot card representing the sun. The sun as a symbol is important because it embodies youth, energy, and dynamism – like Cirque du Soleil itself. Up until now the logo had evolved only slightly since its debut – from a multi-color tarot-inspired painting to the sun-burst we’ve known these 25-plus years (colored either blue or gold) – with only one other change of note: the extension of the Q’s tail under the U in CIRQUE DU SOLEIL in mid-2006.

These icons will join the other subsidiaries of the new Cirque du Soleil, some of which you probably already know, like 45 DEGREES (so named after Montreal’s latitude) and BLUE MAN GROUP (which Cirque purchased 4 months ago). But there are a few subsidiaries (and partnerships) listed that haven’t received as much attention in the past, and therefore, may be less familiar to fans – 4U2C, EGB, and OUTBOX.

Who or what are these all about?


Founded in 2013 by Cirque alums Yves Aucoin and Stéphane Mongeau, 4U2C specializes in creating and producing video, scenographic design, and any form of multimedia experience for the entertainment industry. Combining scenography, lighting, video, and 3D effects/mapping, the company’s modus operandi is to bring visual environments to life. The company’s in-house studio offers everything needed to create engaging imagery, including concept research and storyboarding, HD filming and editing, 2D and 3D animation, motion design, special effects, green-screen shooting, compositing and post-production. Since its debut, 4U2C has developed more than 100 projects for sporting events and festivals such as…

185 Bravos (February 2014) — Along with the 40th of the Jean-Duceppe theatre company, the 50th of the Place des Arts, and the 80th of the Montreal Symphonic Orchestra, 4U2C was commissioned to direct an epic outdoor sound and light show that celebrated the 15th anniversary of the winter festival Montréal en Lumière. In short, it was a giant 185 candles blowout for some of the pillars of Montreal’s cultural community, one that lit up the sky and literally engulfed the awestruck crowd. 4U2C masterfully orchestrated a multidisciplinary team of collaborators in the combined production of original music, large-scale architectural projections and fireworks displays.

Veracruz Games (Opening Ceremony 2014) — 4U2C shined on international shores when they company produced the visual media content for the Opening Ceremony of the Central American and Caribbean Games. 4U2C took the 30,000 spectators on a breathtaking journey from the mystical galaxy to the majestic Tajin pyramid through traditional Mexican dances and celebratory sport rituals. Under the artistic direction of ANIMA Inc., 4U2C brought the three-tiered stage to life with a vibrant combination of mapped 3D animation, illusion effects and live shot footage. Researched, storyboarded, designed and produce over 120 minutes of video content for the ceremony while providing efficient on-site collaboration with the multidisciplinary team to ensure that our projection mapping integrated beautifully with the lighting, stage design and live performances.

Celine Dion (2013) — When internationally acclaimed artist Céline Dion made special appearances in Quebec and Europe, 4U2C was there to create the lighting and stage design. Using a combination of animation, graphic design, recorded footage and real time shots of the singer, 4U2C filled giant screens across the immense Plains of Abraham in Quebec City for 40,000 patrons, and then tailored the production design for two new venues in Belgium and Paris.

Igloofest (2014 & 2015) — Igloofest attracts thousands of electronic music enthusiasts to the Old Port of Montreal in the dead of winter with its igloo village, its urban vibe, its program of the best in local and international DJs and its powerful architectural projections. 4U2C was there to prove that even in deep-freeze temperatures they can turn up the heat with their dramatic and vibrant lighting and projection scenography. In 2014, 4U2C designed and built one of the performance spaces. The organizers loved it so much that in 2015 they asked the company to create the entire lighting design for Igloofest, including two stage areas, public spaces, architectural projection systems and show ambiance lighting.

Summer Festivals — 4U2C collaborated on the stage conception and produced the lighting design as well as custom video content for Osheaga, Heavy MTL and Ile Soniq, all large-scale, outdoor events catering to tens of thousands of spectators. In collaboration with Evenko, 4U2C developed a unique turnkey production approach comprising multiple stages hosting simultaneous performances, unexpected gathering spaces, art installations, and other facilities. From heavy metal in the park to techno under the sun, from art direction to lighting, and site design to VJing, 4U2C does it all.

Sporting Events — When the legendary Montréal Canadiens hockey franchise asked 4U2C to produce their 2014 playoff pregame show, they were thrilled. The show turned into such a viral sensation that the Canadiens asked the company to up the ante in 2015. The success attracted other sports teams in hockey and basketball, including Toronto’s Maple Leafs and Raptors. 4U2C’s unparalleled projection and mapping solution for ice rinks and large arena surfaces gave the original multimedia content unmatched resolution and puts us one step ahead of the competition.

In fact, 4U2C collaborated with Cirque du Soleil on TORUK-The First Flight and has worked with 45 DEGREES on many of their special events and projections over the years. The subsidiary’s website is currently under re-construction, but keep a weather eye on http://www.4u2c.com for future developments! (And yes, you do pronounce it: for you to see!)


Established in 2001, Entertainment Benefits Group (EBG) today is one of the largest privately held travel and entertainment providers in the United States. Headquartered in Miami, with offices in Orlando, New York and Las Vegas, the company operates a network of consumer and Business-to-Business (B2B) businesses that reach over 60 million users and sell more than 6 million admission tickets annually. Its Corporate Programs Division, made up of TicketsatWork, Plum Benefits and Working Advantage, is the largest, most comprehensive corporate travel and entertainment benefits program in the country – serving 40,000 corporate clients and 50 million employees.

EBG has a proven track record of establishing successful and innovative website portals and partnerships. Owning 100 percent of its technology, EBG has developed a customized point-of-sale ticketing and administration system that supports a continuously growing infrastructure. EBG also operates consumer sites, including Showtickets.com, BestofOrlando.com and BestofVegas.com, over 45 retail locations in Las Vegas, Member Deals and the largest Premier Ticket and Operations Center in Orlando – located minutes away from the Walt Disney World Resort and Universal Orlando Resort.

“I was thrilled for Cirque to partner with EBG after meeting Brett and learning about the company’s early proven success in the Orlando market,” said Cirque du Soleil president and CEO Daniel Lamarre. “EBG accounts for a significant amount of ticket sales across Cirque’s domestic productions, and they enhance our efforts in selling tickets, with their corporate program becoming an extension of our own team.”

In 2010, Cirque du Soleil partnered with EBG to launch the exclusive “Cirque Insider Access” backstage experiences at THE BEATLES LOVE and “O” (which were later expanded to also include KA). Packages included an exclusive and intimate backstage tour of the show, received a special Insider Access VIP lanyard, plus a special limited edition bag with Cirque du Soleil merchandise items. Most importantly, guests enjoyed the show from special reserved seating from the best seats in the theaters and enjoyed front of line concession passes. (Read more about these experiences here: http://www.cirquefascination.com/?p=6635).

And in 2011, the two companies partnered to launch the “Cirque du Soleil Gift Card”, applicable towards Cirque du Soleil show tickets. We reviewed the product at the time (http://www.cirquefascination.com/?p=2999); you can still purchase the Cirque du Soleil gift card here should you be interested: < https://www.cirquedusoleil.com/gift-cards >.


Outbox AXS was founded in 2011 by concert promotion giant AEG, Cirque du Soleil, and industry veteran Jean-Francoys Brousseau as a rival to Ticketmaster. Outbox offers a strong ticket selling tool in some 20 countries and in 10 different languages using signature interactive seat maps, 3D customized venue plans and one page checkout. Outbox leverages its know-how to find customized, innovative and relevant ways to help its clients better sellout seats. Clients are typically major live event global venues or international promoters looking for integrated, specialized solutions. Outbox helps manage ticket window sales, call center service, group sales, season tickets and special events. Partners using the Outbox Platform for their ticketing needs are: Cirque du Soleil, Evenko, Montreal Canadiens, Juste pour rire (Just for Laughs), Amphithéâtre Cogeco, Vidanta, Centre Bell, Treasure Island Las Vegas, Osheaga Music and Arts Festival, HEAVY Montreal, AXS, MARVEL Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N, SISMYK, QuébéComm, and more. Get more information about OUTBOX at their website: < http://www.outbox.com/ >.


It might surprise some of you to know that this new grouping isn’t really all that new. Back in the late 1980’s, Cirque du Soleil organized its various divisions and subsidiaries under a similar moniker – LE GROUPE DU SOLEIL.

Names and labels like “Créations Méandres”, “Tous Azimuts”, “Télémagik”, and “Enterprises Nâga” were prominent on various Cirque du Soleil programmes, videos, CDs, and other merchandise world-wide when Cirque du Soleil had just found its footing. But having seen one of these names one might ask: how did they fit into the overall corporate picture of a young Cirque du Soleil?

“Le Groupe du Soleil” was and in many cases still is an interesting piece of Cirque’s corporate puzzle from the very beginning of this enigmatic troupe. For example, from its initial creation through to 1989, Le Cirque du Soleil was produced by “Club des Talons Hauts, Inc.,” the same group Cirque was born from. In that instance Cirque du Soleil was produced by that entity. But later that same year (August 1989), the last year the creators had given themselves to firmly establish their art, Cirque du Soleil as a Company changed and morphed into “Le Groupe du Soleil”, completely shedding their “High-Heals Club” roots. Under the guidance of Daniel Gauthier (a one-time Cirque Treasurer, President and founding member), this moniker encompassed many of the derived companies that sprang up in support of the artists and their product at the time. Many you’ll recognize; many are still around today (albeit under different names and in different forms)…

Le Cirque du Soleil Productions — Spark. This is the starting point; “the locomotive; the raison d’être”. This part of the Groupe specialized in mounting tours, staffing its workshops and studios, and managing its vehicle fleet and specialized equipment.

Créations Méandres — Creativity. This division managed the authors’ rights and copyrights, and took charge of recruitment and training of artists, and was responsible for publishing the music for the shows. This division was also known as Les Productions Méandres Inc. The musical publication part became CIRQUE DU SOLEIL MUSIQUE in 2004.

Tous Azimuts Enterprises — Investment. Tous Azimuts was an investment company handling the creation and development of other related companies for Cirque du Soleil. Tous Azimuts was also responsible for the marketing and publishing of CDs, programmes, T-shirts, and other products bearing the Cirque du Soleil logo and likeness.

Télémagik — Filmworks. This division was formed early on and released the original 90-minute version of “Le Magie Continue”, as well as “Le Cirque Réinventé”, “Nouvelle Expérience”, “Saltimbanco”, and the documentaries “Quel Cirque!”, “Saltimbano’s Diary”, “Alegría: The Truth of Illusion” and “Full Circle: The Making of Quidam”. Télémagik was renamed CIRQUE DU SOLEIL IMAGES in May 1997 to better brand the multimedia company with its parent, and the division has gone on to release a plethora of other shows and documentaries by Cirque du Soleil.

Enterprises Nâga — Services. This division provided a range of services from snack-bars to the creation, production, distribution, and management of Cirque du Soleil’s promotional products. Enterprises Nâga released the CD and Vinyl editions of “Cirque du Soleil”, the original 1987 tour music.

Admission/Microflex — Tickets. This company was started with the assistance of Cirque du Soleil to distribute tickets for its shows as well as other cultural and sporting events throughout Quebec. Together with Microflex, a software company that specialized in computerized ticketing, it became the largest ticket-sales network in the province and later grew to encompass events throughout Canada and the United States. TicketMaster acquired Admission/Microflex in 2000; today this part of Cirque du Soleil is served by OUTBOX, as noted above.

* * *

What’s past is prologue.

In either case, going beyond its various creations, the new CIRQUE DU SOLEIL ENTERTAINMENT GROUP aims to make a positive impact on people, communities, and the planet with its most important tools: creativity and art. With a new name and a new attitude, the company seems to feel it is now in the right position to capitalize on its talents to fuel its future endeavors. Change is definitely afoot and it’ll be fascinating to see where Cirque du Soleil is as a company in the coming years.

Meanwhile, keep up with the CIRQUE DU SOLEIL ENTERTAINMENT GROUP through their new website: < http://www.cdsentertainmentgroup.com >.