ON THE EDGE
While Cirque du Soleil celebrated its birthday throughout 2004, the
year brought forth a couple of very interesting changes to the company’s
operational structure: Guy Laliberté stepped down as company President.
An internal memo obtained to all employees dated February 25, 2004 outlined
this change, and more:
First, the appointment of Daniel Lamarre as the new President and Chief
Operating Officer (COO) of the company, allowing Laliberté to virtually
step back from the day-to-day operational responsibilities and focus more
on the creative side of projects, which he said was the most dear to him.
“This change comes at a time when Cirque is facing new business and
organizational realities,” Laliberté said. With many new ventures on the
drawing board, Laliberté will be busy. Laliberté will retain the title of
Founder, CEO and “Guide”.
The new role will be supported by five senior vice-presidents, including
two recently created — Senior Vice-President of Shows, and Senior Vice-President
of New Ventures). This change also merits a change to Cirque du Soleil’s
Executive Board, which shall now consist of seven members — Guy Laliberté,
Marc Gagnon, Michael Bolingbroke, Robert Blain, Eric Foumier and a position
to be determined.
The second profound statement in the memo is an announcement of the upcoming
departure of Lyn Heward, President and COO of the Creative Content Division.
Her slated departure is 2005; however, Heward is remaining on-board as an advisor
until her replacement arrives. She will remain an Executive Board member until
that time. “This year, Cirque is celebrating its 20th anniversary. When I look
back on our accomplishments, I am proud of what I see. When I look ahead, I am
confident that the future will take us still further. I wish Daniel the best of
luck in his new role and I am counting on him and his team to support me as we
pursue this incredible adventure.”
Lyn Heward’s loss would be felt in a number of profound ways, and though Daniel
Lamarre proved to be more than competent at stewarding this rather large creative
ship, other forces would weigh heavily on him and his charges.
Cirque presses on.
Celebrity Cruises unveils a unique concept of on-board entertainment developed
by Cirque du Soleil on two of its cruise ships. This concept, called "
the Bar at the Edge of the Earth"
featured unique dining fare with a Cirque du Soleil flair.
The company continued showcasing its creativity by taking part in the celebrations
surrounding the 100th Anniversary of the City of Las Vegas, a city that has helped
Cirque as much as Cirque has helped it. For the city's Centennial 100 Murals Project,
the company created "Humble Beginnings", a 50m wide and two stories tall mural that
will make it the biggest of the project! Mark Jenkins, a carpenter on Zumanity, came up
with the idea of portraying young people and Las Vegas in black and white on the right,
and Cirque, colour and vibrancy on the left. He also designed the images. Each of
Cirque’s was represented by two characters. Even the green apple that is the logo of
Apple, the Beatles’ company, was there! The project took almost five months to complete,
from the time of the first planning meeting to the last day of painting on site.
It also enlightened visiting nationals to the Canadian Pavilion at Expo 2005
in Aichi, Japan (a city east of Nagoya). Three Nostalgic Old Birds entertained
attendees in front of the Pavilion while the Alegría Musicians and White Singer
interpreted two of the show's songs inside. And two performances specially created
by Cirque helped launch the official logo of
the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. The special presentation, which was aired on CTV
at 7:00pm Vancouver time or 10:00pm in Montreal, were put together from a talented
team from "O", including: seven artists, six riggers, and under the artistic direction
of Rob Bollinger (Artistic Director), and Krista Monson (Artistic Coordinator),
and under the technical direction of David Chabira (Head Rigger).
Cirque also created and performed the special
"Reflections in Blue" (Réflexions
de bleu), a unique one-night water show as part of the opening ceremonies for
the XI FINA World Aquatics Championships in Montreal, Canada; And the first
touring show in three years is launched in Montreal. Directed by Daniele Finzi
Pasca, the Italian-born director takes Cirque du Soleil through the funeral of
a clown in Corteo. Cirque du
Soleil Images films
Corteo during its Toronto
stop-over, later premiering on CBC/BRAVO and released onto DVD.