Cirque du Soleil

2000 National Arts Centre Award

A true cultural ambassador for Canada, this unique circus troupe has revolutionized and reinvented live performance and acrobatics and introduced millions of people to its spellbinding performances set to original music by Canadian composers. Cirque du Soleil pushes limits and challenges conventions. It speaks a universal language of wonder, laughter and tears. Its music sings to the soul. And its costumes and sets are pure fantasy. In its sixteen-year history, Cirque du Soleil has touched the hearts and fired the imaginations of over 23 million dreamers throughout the world.

"Born" in Quebec in 1984, Cirque du Soleil has grown into a spectacular international success. Guided by its president, Daniel Gauthier, its founder, Guy Laliberté, and the shows' orchestrators-Director of Creation Gilles Ste-Croix, directors Franco Dragone and Guy Carson, and a stellar creative team-the Cirque has brought to life a fantastic and magical universe that appeals to audiences of all ages.

Originally Cirque du Soleil toured one show at a time. Today, the company employs over 2,000 people and is active on four continents, with seven shows currently in performance: the extraordinary aquatic show « 0 », Mystère, Alegria and La Nouba are installed in permanent venues, while Saltimbanco, Quidam and Dralion are touring around the world. The troupe also appeared in its first large-format IMAX production, Journey of Man, which opened in May in Montreal, New York and Los Angeles.

Cirque du Soleil offers more than world-class entertainment to the community. A percentage of the company's box office revenues are donated to philanthropic causes, and its innovative workshop program offers training in gymnastics, stiltwalking and other performing arts to young people in vulnerable socioeconomic circumstances around the world. Programs have been given in Mongolia, Australia, Brazil, Ethiopia, and England, as well as in various North American cities.