Quel Cirque Archive

  • Jean David’s Quel Cirque, Part 8 of 12: “First Steps Across the Sea”

    Jean David’s Quel Cirque, Part 8 of 12: “First Steps Across the Sea”

    For years, we’d dreamed of performing in Europe. We were convinced that there was a place for our shows there. In 1989, a business opportunity opened up for us. We needed a new show for our 1990-1991 North American tour, and Le Cirque réinventé (The Circus Reinvented) with which we had opened the United States, […]

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  • Jean David’s Quel Cirque, Part 7 of 12: “Strength in Diversity”

    Jean David’s Quel Cirque, Part 7 of 12: “Strength in Diversity”

    “Tickets, please!” It’s worth noting this aspect of Cirque du Soleil’s operations. Few companies can employ Cirque’s approach to customer service. It’s one of the great mysteries of modern management. One day, as the 20th century drew to a close, I was back in Montreal serving on a business conference panel on customer service. The […]

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  • Jean David’s Quel Cirque, Part 6 of 12: “Strategy”

    Jean David’s Quel Cirque, Part 6 of 12: “Strategy”

    We were quite open-minded toward our competition. There was no direct rivalry with traditional circuses. Our customers and products were very different from theirs; so we didn’t consider them rivals. Our real competition came essentially from cultural products like movies, festivals, theater, dance, and opera. Our clientele had a higher than average income, but they […]

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  • Jean David’s Quel Cirque, Part 5 of 12: “Persuasion”

    Jean David’s Quel Cirque, Part 5 of 12: “Persuasion”

    Cirque du Soleil mastered the art of information control or, if you like, public communications. Media relations played a pivotal role in our company’s success. Above all, much like publicity it helped boost ticket sales. Media relations directly affected everything written or said about our shows and organization. For over 50% of the clientele, the […]

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  • Jean David’s Quel Cirque, Part 4 of 12: “O, Canada!”

    Jean David’s Quel Cirque, Part 4 of 12: “O, Canada!”

    In 1985, the Ontario fiasco left us over $750,000 CA in debt. Technically we were nearly bankrupt. We asked Claude Castonguay, then a Canadian insurance company CEO, to help get us back in gear. The previous summer I had run into him at our Quebec City show. He was looking for tickets, but the show […]

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  • Jean David’s Quel Cirque, Part 3 of 12: “What! No Animals?”

    Jean David’s Quel Cirque, Part 3 of 12: “What! No Animals?”

    Cirque du Soleil is an animal free circus. In fact, this is one of the keys to its success. But, it wasn’t really the result of a decision we made. It was a natural outgrowth of who we were. After all, Cirque began as a group of street performers: acrobats, stilt walkers, fire eaters, clowns. […]

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  • Jean David’s Quel Cirque, Part 2 of 12: “The Appointment”

    Jean David’s Quel Cirque, Part 2 of 12: “The Appointment”

    1982. I was working as account executive for a Quebec city advertising agency when I got a call from an old pal Robert Lagueux. He headed the High Heels Club, a non-profit troupe that did street theater on stilts. His group was putting on a festival of street performers in picturesque Baie-Saint-Paul, a charming little […]

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  • Jean David’s Quel Cirque, Part 1 of 12: “The Early Years”

    Jean David’s Quel Cirque, Part 1 of 12: “The Early Years”

    Today a consultant in creativity and event marketing, Jean David was one of the pioneers of Cirque du Soleil, where he led the marketing department for 15 years (from 1984-1999), introducing the magic of the Grand Chapiteau to the whole world. During his tenure, David distinguished himself through innovative methods by commercializing the Big Top […]

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