Cirque du Soleil Files For Bankruptcy, Lays Off Thousands

Melissa Culross
June 30, 2020 - 10:13 am

    One of the biggest performing arts brands in the world is now a casualty of the coronavirus pandemic.

    The world famous Cirque due Soleil has filed for bankruptcy protection and is laying off 3,500 employees.

    "For the past 36 years, Cirque du Soleil has been a highly successful and profitable organization," said Daniel Lamarre, CEO of Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group, in a release. "However, with zero revenues since the forced closure of all of our shows due to Covid-19, management had to act decisively to protect the company's future."

    The company was founded in the 1980’s by a group of street performers and has since grown to hundreds of acrobat shows all over the world.

    “It’s created more than a generation of performing arts lovers,” said Pam McKinnon, artistic director of the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco. 

    Barry Kendall with the Circus Center training school says it transformed the industry, “from something that was diffuse family entertainment to something that could be a really compelling night out for the most sophisticated adult audiences as well as kids.”

    The company was forced to cancel all of its shows back in March.

    “The brand name is so valuable that I can’t imagine the Cirque du Soleil itself will go away,” said Peter Csathy with Creative Media. But, “if a brand like this is impacted in this way, then it’s symbolic of the hurt and the pain that’s out there.”