Founded by a group of street performers in 1994, Cirque du Soleil gained international renown for providing unique entertainment. Cirque shows combined a blend of
acrobatics, clowning, music, costumes, and scenery that evoked awe and wonder in audiences wherever the company pitched its tents. Because of this acclaim,
Cirque grew and in 2002, the company oversaw eight troupes that performed before nearly a million people around the world.
The case opens with Murielle Cantin, Cirque’s casting Director, in the midst of yet another recruiting trip. Casting Cirque shows had always been difficult. Though
headquartered in Montreal Canada, Cirque relied on performers drawn from all over the globe. The company’s growth means that recruiting trips needed to uncover
ever-larger pools of extraordinary artists. Just to fill-in turnover in the existing casts in 2002, Cantin would have to recruit over 100 performers.
The rest of the case details how Cirque integrated and supported the artists it recruited. The company places an extraordinary emphasis on encouraging creativity
and exceptional performance. But could this commitment continue with the increased demands placed on the company by growth? Could Cirque diversify into other
entertainment media or even into fields quite different than entertainment?
1. What is Cirque du Soleil’s product and strategy?
2. How has Cirque structured and supported its casts to deliver superior performance?
3. What are the challenges to Cirque’s continued growth and/or diversification?