Cirque prepares ground-breaking show in King Fahd Stadium

To mark Saudi National Day on the 23rd of September, the General Entertainment Authority presents one of the largest custom-made events by the world-renowned company Cirque du Soleil, organized by MBC Group.

The record-breaking performance – which will feature Cirque du Soleil’s largest number of circus artists ever assembled for a special event – will get underway in a visually stunning world to celebrate the 88th Saudi National Day and a future ‘Beyond the Horizon’.

A joint press conference between the MBC Group, the General Entertainment Authority, and Cirque du Soleil was held at King Fahd Stadium on Thursday afternoon to answer media questions and give some details about Cirque du Soleil’s upcoming special performance, part of Saudi Arabia’s 88th National Day celebrations. The show is slated to be one of the biggest performed by the Cirque and their first in Saudi Arabia. It is a one-night-only, exclusive event, designed especially for this occasion.

Daniel Fortin, vice president of Creation at Cirque du Soleil, teased the audience with a few details of the upcoming show. “With a cast and crew of over 300, this is one of the biggest shows we’ve ever done,” he said.

“Without giving too much of the plot away, the story is centered around the sun, and takes place from sunset to sunrise. Everything from the costumes to the stage props was created as a homage to Saudi culture. You’ll see a lot of Bedouin influences in the staging and in the music. We drew inspiration from a variety of sources, such as traditional Bedouin tents, desert scenery, even the stadium itself.”

The production exclusively designed for this occasion, will take place at the King Fahd International Stadium in Riyadh in front of 27,000 attendees – making it one of the biggest Cirque du Soleil productions ever created for a customized event. A tailor-made 85 x 40-metre stage has been designed and constructed especially for the occasion. The show has been in development for six months, and the cast and crew have been preparing for the show at the King Fahd International Stadium since the beginning of August.

The show will contain new technology, and 16 unprecedented acrobatic acts. However, Fortin refused to share too many details. “You’ll just have to see what we have planned at the show.” He said. “But I think you will be impressed. We’re doing things we’ve never done before.”

Show Synopsis: As the sun sets on the horizon, a tribe of nomads gather on the dessert dunes in search of an oasis when a raging sandstorm sweeps across their encampment. The desert dwellers are whisked off to a surreal world and the wheels of the future begin to revolve. The encampment turns into a magical oasis where waterfalls flow upwards, and when the great falcon spreads its wings, a new sun rises over the horizon.

Acts/Presentations: The production will blend the latest technological innovations in stagecraft, large-scale video projections, special effects, and fireworks with Cirque du Soleil’s signature style acrobatics. Intertwining storytelling with spectacular acrobatics, viewers can look forward to aerial silk, suspended pole, rotating ladder, German wheel, fire manipulation and trampowall specialists, a group of unicyclists, a troupe of contemporary and hip-hop dancers, electric motorcycles, and even a free-flying Hoverboard.

Set Design: The visual theme of the King Fahd International Stadium’s exterior is reminiscent of Bedouin tents. This design will be explored on stage as well, thus creating ‘a theatre within a theatre’ experience. The four elements will come into play with the tent structures and four enchanting mashrabiya-inspired lanterns to immerse the audience in a surreal realm where tradition inspires the future.

“This upcoming Cirque du Soleil event will provide the Saudi audience with an enthralling international entertainment experience, mixed with locally-relevant content,” said Abdulrahman bin Nasser Al Khalifa, General Manager of Communications and official spokesperson of the General Entertainment Authority.

Al Khalifa said the event is part of the Authority’s efforts to attract the largest entertainment and leisure companies to the Kingdom, adding that these efforts will support the local sector.

Omar Al Radi, Head of Events at MBC Group commented: “Organizing such a phenomenal event is thanks to the ambitious vision of our country, which has instilled enthusiasm in the hearts of all of us, as we work on this extraordinary international event that is set to break records, and go beyond the international standards to celebrate the Saudi National Day like never before. We are proud to be part of Saudi National Day celebration and to be taking it to a global level as the show will be televised live with around 200,000,000 expected viewers from around the world”

Tickets to the show sold out in less than 48 hours after their release; an incredible feat as the show has allocated more than 27,000 seats for the performance. Abdulrahman Al Khalifa, spokesperson for the General Entertainment Authority, was pleased— but not entirely surprised— by the public’s reaction to news of the show. “We felt that variety in the types of events we brought to Saudi Arabia was important,” he said, “and we conducted a number of research workshops to determine what sort of events would be well-received by the public. Cirque du Soleil was mentioned frequently in our research, so we’re very happy to have had the opportunity to bring them here.”

MBC head of events Omar Al Radi also expects a big response to the televising of the show, which he estimates will break records. “We’re broadcasting the show live on both our local and international channels, such as those in Europe and in America.” he said.
“We’re expecting over 200 million views. Probably record-breaking numbers. MBC is proud to have been part of bringing this historic event to Saudi Arabia, and we can’t wait for you to see it.”

{ SOURCE: Arab News and Arab }