First: are you a friend of Cirque du Soleil? As a fan you'd probably answer yes
without any hesitation. But would you be surprised if I told you the answer was most
likely no? Before you wrinkle your forehead in confusion or yell out in protest
let me ask you another question: ever come across a page dotted with star-like shapes
accompanying names within your Cirque du Soleil programmes and wondered what that page
was all about? If you've seen such a page (and I'd be surprised in this day and age
if you had), then you've stumbled upon the recognition for "The Friends of Cirque du
Soleil" – a rewards program for those patrons who helped Cirque fund its spectacles –
and the reason behind this line of questioning. The page described can be found in many
of Cirque's earliest printed programmes, from its first organized tour through Quidam's
original North American Tour (1996-1998). Yet, the purpose of the page was rarely
"The Friends..." was a special club created by Cirque du Soleil to recognize its
greatest sponsors and most generous contributors in its earliest days. Cirque du
Soleil wasn't always the multi-million-dollar company it is today, and in the beginning,
the majority of the company's operational budget came from the Canadian Government, but
that just wasn't enough. In order to keep up with their needs, another percentage of
their budget was donated from companies and citizens within Canada itself. It's those
donations that are honored on "The Friends of Cirque du Soleil" page.
And how did you become an honored "Friend" of Cirque du Soleil?
Simple, by "purchasing" a seat under the big top for $500.00 CDN or more, placing
you in one of three categories: Silver, Gold or Platinum. And depending on the amount
you donated you received a plethora of unique gifts.
For a donation between $500.00 CDN and $999.99 CDN, you were considered Silver
Status and received a permanently affixed nameplate on a ringside seat under the
big top with the donators name on it. For a donation between $1000.00 CDN and $4999.99
CDN, you were considered Gold Status and received the same rights and privileges as a
Silver Status member and two other perks: the donator's name printed every year in the
Cirque du Soleil souvenir program, and the donator's name posted on the "Friends of
the Cirque du Soleil billboard affixed within the confines of the big top. And for a
$5000.00 CDN donation or more, you were considered Platinum Status and received the
same rights and privileges as a Gold Status member and two additional perks: an
honorary certificate attesting to your support of the Cirque, and two complimentary
tickets for a show in every city on the tour. Wow!
Through the years many individuals and companies donated outright to Cirque or
contributed to their "chair buying program". Chair buying programs are nothing new
and are put into place to help raise money for a cause – such as keeping a museum
running or in this case, a new circus. But with Cirque du Soleil emerging as a major
player on not only the circus scene but the performing arts scene by the end of the
1990s, the company no longer needed to rely on government funding or patron donations
to keep afloat and "The Friends of Cirque du Soleil" all but disappeared. In fact, the
last mention of this program came in the Quidam 1998 programme and with it "The Friends
of Cirque du Soleil" became nothing more than a memory.
What we would come to know as the TAPIS ROUGE experience started with Dralion as
the "Dralion VIP Package" – a "new and exciting way to live the magic of Cirque
du Soleil, before the show has even begun." The Dralion VIP Package offered not
only top-quality food and service but also a "unique look inside the fantastical
universe of Cirque du Soleil" in the intimate setting of the Lincoln-branded suite.
"Treat yourself to an unforgettable experience!" the pitch implored, but what did
the Dralion VIP package include?
- Category 1 seat under the blue-and-yellow big top (section 101 or 102), one of
the best seats in the house!
- Complimentary preferred parking
- Personalized will-call service and greeting by hosts
- Access to the climate-controlled Lincoln Suite via an exclusive entrance,
one hour before the show.
- An array of gourmet hors d'oeuvres and a variety of refreshments
- Beverages and an assortment of desserts during intermission
- A closer look at Cirque provided by a unique exhibit
- Priority purchase of Cirque du Soleil merchandise
- Complimentary souvenir program, and
- Exclusive Dralion gift (a lantern, and/or a CD)
Dralion audiences in Santa Monica, California were the first to try out this
new experience when the show opened there on September 23, 1999. It proved successful
enough that the "VIP Experience" was extended to Cirque du Soleil's other touring
shows at the time – Saltimbanco (as the "Saltimbanco VIP Experience") and Quidam
(as the "Quidam VIP Experience") – as the tours at that time were sponsored by
Lincoln. (The experience was not transferred to Alegria; it was ending its European
Tour and was preparing to settle at the Beau Rivage.) The Lincoln VIP Experiences
proved to be so popular that by the next touring show – 2002's VAREKAI – the concept
was revamped. TAPIS ROUGE was born (trademark was filed April 17, 2002, published
October 2, 2003, and finally registered on December 7, 2004). The "new" concept – now
more Cirque-y than ever – proved to be an even bigger success, and it was replicated
across all touring big top shows not long thereafter.
The moniker TAPIS ROUGE was used to describe Cirque du Soleil's VIP experiences
for the next 10 years. By mid-2012, the name was inexplicably changed to VIP
ROUGE, which... makes absolutely no sense. As earlier defined, VIP is itself an
acronym that means Very Important Personage; a person who is accorded special
privileges due to their high social status, influence, importance, or in this case,
someone able to afford the higher priced ticket. And "rouge", also mentioned earlier,
is simply French for "red." So while the idea of a "red carpet" made sense as a name
for Cirque du Soleil's VIP hospitality program, the new name – as translated to be
VIP Red – did not. Confusion around the name Tapis Rouge may have contributed
to the change (although the program was often billed as the VIP Tapis Rouge
Experience, so there should not have been any confusion at all); its corporate
sponsorship around the same time may also have contributed to the name change. Either
way, the options with VIP Rouge were basically the same with regular upgrades in
presentation over the years (new colors and whimsy in 2010, new "glass tent" in 2016,
On October 13, 2010, Entertainment Benefits Group (EBG) was proud to announce an
exciting new experience by Cirque du Soleil that would include exclusive backstage
experiences at The Beatles LOVE at The Mirage and "O" at Bellagio. The packages
included a premium ticket and a special backstage tour for one of these Las Vegas
production shows, creating an intimate experience for a select number of guests.
The "Cirque Insider Access" package was available for select performances starting
October 29th of that year and would be exclusively sold through BestOfVegas.com and
select retail partners of Entertainment Benefits Group.
"We are thrilled to be partnering with Cirque du Soleil to allow fans to experience
something so special and that has never been available before now," said Brett D.
Reizen, President and CEO for Entertainment Benefits Group. "Cirque du Soleil is
known throughout the world for creating some of the most beautiful and amazing
experiences for their audiences. Now, with BestOfVegas.com, we can take the audience
even further into the creative world of Cirque du Soleil by giving customers an
upfront and exclusive behind-the-scenes look at two of the most spectacular shows
in the world."
The "Cirque Insider Access" package allowed a limited number of guests each night
to hear the history of the show's production, get a peek behind the scenes, receive
a special Insider Access VIP lanyard, plus a special limited-edition bag with Cirque
du Soleil merchandise items. Most importantly, guests would enjoy the show from
special reserved seating from the best seats in the house and enjoy front-of-line
concession passes. After the performances, guests who enjoyed The Beatles LOVE
received special access with a Front-of-Line VIP Pass for Jet Nightclub at Mirage,
while the guests that enjoyed "O" were given a Front-of-Line VIP Pass for Bank
Nightclub at Bellagio. Special offers were also included for The Beatles REVOLUTION
Lounge at Mirage and Caramel at Bellagio.
The two programs at "O" and LOVE proved so successful that the experience was
later extended to KÀ at MGM Grand. Here's how the three were then described:
"O" AT BELLAGIO — This package offers you a performers' perspective as you enter
their world, behind the curtain, under the water. Your tour will take you behind the
stage, under the stage and through the costume areas, allowing you to take in all
the extravagance, the surreal, and the unimaginable pieces that make "O" such a
breathtaking creation. Learn about the complexities of maintaining such an elaborate
production, the importance of bubbles, yes, bubbles, and even take a moment to relax
in the green room among the performers. Some may even be in costume, make up and all!
After your tour, you may pinch yourself to remember that you weren't dreaming; you
did in fact face the unique props of "O" just moments ago. You did stand within mere
feet of a famed Cirque du Soleil performer. And now the show is in full swing,
everything you saw backstage comes to life on the "O" stage in one cohesive masterpiece.
LOVE AT THE MIRAGE — Beatles fans, Cirque du Soleil fans, and newcomers to both are
guaranteed to marvel at the spectacular production that is LOVE, but before being
engulfed in an all too groovy and jaw-dropping performance, take an exclusive tour
behind the scenes of LOVE to see how Cirque du Soleil is paying tribute to one greatest
rock bands to date. Guided by a former Cirque du Soleil performer, you'll be
transported back to the 60s as you boogie your way through props and costumes behind
the stage, under the stage, and even above the stage… 52 feet above the stage, to
be exact. Marvel at all the levers and pulleys, nooks and crannies that push and
pull, drag, and drop props – all bringing the show to life. Venture through the
gym and green room where you'll come face to face with some the performers. Some
will be in costume and some will even have their make up on. Go on, it's perfectly
okay to stare. Learn about some of LOVE's most interesting facts like the youngest
performer in the show is 9 years old and played a Beatle. Their oldest performer was
76 and played Eleanor Rigby. Your once-in-a-lifetime experience doesn't end when the
tour ends; your Cirque Insider Access package includes a premium ticket to see the
show and with the best seats in the house, you'll have your breath taken away as all
your newly found knowledge is put on display right in front of you.
KA AT MGM GRAND — This Cirque Insider Access package is now available for guests
who are looking for the ultimate, in-depth experience of Cirque du Soleil and the
world-famous production "KA". Come witness one of Las Vegas' most popular shows
with an exclusive and intimate backstage tour, premium center section seating,
front-of-line access to the theater and concessions, exclusive Cirque du Soleil
merchandise and much more! The backstage tour experience takes place the afternoon
before the performance. Because of the nature of the production, artist training and
stage preparation, tours may be modified or altered based on the date. The tour
experience includes a full, behind-the-scenes tour with a very small group to observe
the stages, cranes, show props and other surprises that will make this truly a
But this was only the beginning of VIP experiences in Las Vegas.
While Tapis Rouge proliferated across Cirque's touring shows, VIP services at its
resident shows lacked, until in 2008, when Tapis Rouge came to The Beatles LOVE. "LOVE
Tapis Rouge invites you on an exclusive behind-the-scenes psychedelic journey," the
release stated. "Take a contemporary virtual trip into the world of The Beatles LOVE,
while immersed in the ultimate VIP sensory experience created by Cirque du Soleil!"
- An exclusive reception before the show at REVOLUTION Lounge.
- Cocktails and hors d'oeuvres inspired by The Beatles.
- Delight in a uniquely-designed, festive, musical atmosphere.
- Hosts with information about the show and The Beatles.
- See a backstage video of the making of LOVE.
- Pick up a specially-designed LOVE gift bag (w/souvenir program)
- Then, experience LOVE itself, in preferred seating!
- And after the show, enjoy REVOLUTION lounge through a VIP Entrance with no
cover fees (valid for one week after seeing the show!) and one free drink!
Tapis Rouge for LOVE began Thursday, June 26, 2008 at a cost of $295.00 USD (+ tax).
A similar experience would eventually be ported over to "O", and later still to KA,
just like the Cirque Insider packages. Success followed and by early 2014 upgrades to
each began to appear. «O» was first by inviting guests to experience the show
in ultimate comfort and luxury as it introduced seven new VIP suites to the theater at
"Combining the grandeur of the Bellagio with the master creativity of "O" the seven
exclusive box suites offer a unique opera-house style and feel," the press release said.
"With the suites, guests have a choice of a bottle of champagne or wine, chocolate
truffles, and aprivate cocktail server with a full range of ordering options from the
show's concessions including popcorn, premium cocktails, chocolate-covered strawberries
and more!" Formerly part of the lower balcony Loggia level, the new suites are complete
with premium views of the stage overlooking the theater and are comprised of four
plush seats each alongside a dedicated speaker system, crystal light fixtures, a
private door for entry and soundproof drapery that separates the seven suites for
privacy and can also be drawn back to accommodate parties larger than four. The VIP
Suites at "O" mark the first-time Cirque du Soleil has combined a VIP seat with such
detailed, personalized service. "We're very excited to bring an elevated level of
VIP-service to ‘O' with our new suites," said John Byers, company manager of "O" at
the time. "The VIP suites allow guests who have previously visited to see the show from
an entirely new vantage point and for first-time customers to see the show in a
At launch the new VIP experience at "O" cost $295 per person ($335.45 with taxes
and fees). Eventually, these experiences would be re-branded as "Le Grande Expérience"
at «O» the Bellagio, "A Toast to LOVE" at The Mirage, the "KÀ Imperial Experience" at
the MGM Grand, and by 2019, "In the Wings" at Mystère, Treasure Island, with a few more
amenities, such as:
- Pre-Show Experience — Enjoy an amazing experience surrounded with
LOVE's own artists, as they share their point of view and journey.
- Exclusive Behind-the-Scenes Tour — Awestruck in wonder how the show comes to
life minutes before the performance with a backstage tour. The narrated backstage
tour features the history of The Beatles. The tour starts at 6:00pm.
- Premium Seating — Enjoy the best seats in the house while watching an
- Remember the Moment — Receive a commemorative photograph in a lovely
|KA: "VIP Imperial Experience"
- Exclusivity — Enjoy a private entrance and early access to the VIP Lounge
with a dedicated host to present fascinating historical and technical information
about the show whilst you sip and nibble on a complimentary beverage and snack.
- Backstage Tour — See props and costumes from the show right before
they're used live on stage!
- Meet & Greet — Rub elbows with some of our artists, and get to know the
person behind the makeup, captured by a professional photographer.
- Imperial Seating — Enjoy one of the best seats in the house in our elevated
Imperial Experience box
- Remember the Moment — Professional photos of your artists meet & greet are
delivered to you in a lovely souvenir folio.
|«O»: "La Grande Experience"
- Pre-show Reception — Enjoy an exciting pre-show reception with champagne
and hors d'ourves as you relax in our private VIP room. Whilst waiting, get a
sneak peak at "O" on an exclusive video.
- Meet & Greet — Mingle with the performers before they take the stage.
- Best Seats in the House — Enjoy our plush VIP seating accompanied with
wine or champagne and private cocktail service.
- Remember the Moment — Leave the show with champagne flutes and a
commemorative photograph of your experience.
- Pre-Show — Enjoy an exciting pre-show experience with cocktails.
- Exclusive — Get early theater access to enjoy exclusive time
with the artists, and participate in a high-five finale moment with the cast.
- Meet & Greet — Meet with the cast of Mystère
- Premium Seats — Enjoy a VIP seating and get a "in the Wings" view from
- Champagne — Sip on a glass of champagne while enjoying the performance.
- Remember the Moment — Receive a commemorative photograph
Eventually, Cirque du Soleil would expand beyond the Tapis Rouge hospitality
experience to offer other up-charged, hard-ticketed events for big top tours,
such as the "Premium Behind-the-Scenes Experience". The pitch: Have you ever
wondered what goes on backstage at a Cirque du Soleil show? Have you ever wanted
to experience the thrill of being part of a creative production unlike any other?
Here's your chance! Behind the Scenes offers you a rare opportunity to immerse
yourself in the secret world behind a Cirque du Soleil show. Along with a maximum
of 20 guests, you will get an intimate view from a whole new perspective as this
package grants you exclusive access before and after the show to production areas
normally restricted to the general public. This private excursion also included:
- Guided backstage visit for insights into life on tour.
- Access to the best seats and to the VIP area for food and drinks
- Meet & greet with artists after the show, including a Q&A session
- Exclusive lanyard and show souvenir program
"Don't miss your chance to get an insider's look at our fascinating universe
and follow in the footsteps of artists and staff members who bring our creativity
to the stage every day," the pitch concluded, and for those who had never had
the opportunity to see the behind-the-scenes operations of a touring show, this
provided that opportunity – though it was costly (prices fluctuated depending on
city.) Behind the Scenes packages were applicable to select evening performances
only and tours were only available in English except where specified. The tour
started 90 minutes before show time at the Cirque du Soleil Box Office.
While Cirque du Soleil had given its Las Vegas shows the royal VIP treatment with
not only sneak peeks at trainings (free) and behind-the-scenes tours during the day
(paid ticket), it largely ignored its other resident show in North America – La Nouba –
when it came to these up-charged events. That is until July 11, 2014, when a new
backstage experience – called L'Experience – was put on offer for Friday and
Saturday performances only. The $250 + tax package included:
- A viewing of the 6pm show with front and center category seating
- Souvenir popcorn and soft drinks
- A Cirque du Soleil gift bag with merchandise
- A meet and greet with a performer from the show
- A look backstage at costuming and other areas, and…
- 10% discount for use in the gift shop
This experience actually grew out of a 2012 offering entitled "La Nouba: Dinner
and a Show". This limited-time offer included dinner at House of Blues (1 appetizer,
1 entrée, 1 non-alcoholic/non-specialty drink and 1 dessert – gratuity not included),
and a Category 2 ticket to "La Nouba". The package cost $99 plus tax, per guest age
10 and older, and $85 plus tax for guests age 3-9, for a savings of about 25% for
adults. How about that.
How's that old saying go? Something old, something new, something borrowed, something
blue? Bah who needs that! Are you looking to spice up your wedding just a bit? How
about a Zumanity Wedding by Cirque du Soleil? Cirque began offering weddings at
Zumanity at the beginning of 2016, and it is truly something special. "Your love is
unique and extraordinary," the pamphlet begins. "At Zumanity, we not only understand
but celebrate that!"
Similar to the show, Zumanity
weddings celebrate love in all forms, and this unforgettable ceremony will allow loved
ones to bear witness to an exclusive, yet meaningful, commitment to marriage in an
extraordinary way. Both true Zumanity fans and couples who dare to love boldly will
enjoy the incorporation of Cirque du Soleil artists into their one-of-kind and
never-before-offered experience. The celebration of love will begin with Edie,
Zumanity’s ‘Mistress of Sensuality,’ performing the marriage ceremony inside the
plush Zumanity Theatre Lobby, joined by two additional artists to escort the couple
down the aisle. Following the unconventional nuptials, the newlyweds will rejoice in
their special commitment with a sparkling wine toast and enjoy the cabaret-style show
from VIP seating in the “Love Seat” sofas, getting the best view in the house of
electrifying acrobats, soaring aerialists and lustful dancers. Couples will also
receive a keepsake marriage certificate and a professional photo and video package
offered by Cashman Photo that includes a dedicated photographer, high-resolution and
web-resolution images, a high-definition video of the ceremony and a live webcast of
the ceremony available for 30 days.
Available to adults 18+, a Zumanity Wedding is a wedding experience that will leave
everyone talking about the unexpectedly sexy and risqué way you chose to tie the
knot!" Zumanity wedding packages start at $3,500 and include:
- Intimate ceremony performed by our "Mistress of Sensuality, Edie" in the
lobby of the Zumanity Theater.
- Escort by two (2) Zumanity artists
- Professional Photo/Video package by Cashman Photo:
- Dedicated photographer
- High resolution images for archiving and printing
- Web resolution images for social media sharing
- Online ordering of prints and photo products
- A High Definition video of the ceremony
- A live "webcast" of your ceremony with 30 days of replay
- Keepsake Marriage Certificate + official certificate filing with the State of Nevada**
- Sparkling Wine Toast (for participants age 21+)
- 2 VIP Sofa Seats (Category A) for the happy couple to watch the show.
Naturally there are some caveats, such as other Zumanity MCs will be substituted
as necessary in case Edie is not available. And that parties to be married are
responsible for obtaining an official Marriage License from the Clark County
Marriage License Bureau and must present prior to the ceremony along with
government-issue photo identification. (And that's because the "keepsake
certificate" is for souvenir purposes only. If needed, the couple must request
legal copy of the Marriage Certificate from the Clark County Clerk beginning up to
15 days post-ceremony.) Do all that and your Zumanity marriage will be legal and
binding in the State of Nevada! (Note, weddings are held prior to the 7:00pm
performance only. Not available on Wednesday or Thursdays.)
In 2015, Cirque du Soleil moved from the Big Top to the boardroom: As of October 1st,
the Québec-based performance group began offering "SPARK Sessions" for VIP groups in
the entertainment company's theatres, studios and training facilities in Las Vegas.
Exclusive workshops custom-built for corporate groups, the sessions were designed to
stimulate creativity, innovation, and synergy by harnessing Cirque du Soleil principles
and best practices. "Our guests have always wanted to go behind the curtain at a Cirque
du Soleil performance, and companies have been asking us for years how we manage to
spark the creativity that you see on stage," said James Guilford, Creator and Content
Strategist for SPARK at Cirque du Soleil. "SPARK Sessions are our way to bring people
into the Cirque world while also creating some of the most interactive and educational
teambuilding experiences right on stage. It's our hope that SPARK Sessions will ignite
innovation, thoughtfulness, curiosity, and creativity in everyone who participates."
Primarily, SPARK Sessions are designed to share the unique approaches Cirque du Soleil
takes on creativity, branding, talent acquisition, and other topics relevant to top
performing companies. Guilford says these sessions are a logical next step for Cirque
du Soleil. "Cirque's dual identity as both a corporate entity and a contemporary circus
requires us to employ nonconventional methods to solve challenges all modern businesses
must face" explains Guilford. "By default, we have to think out of the box about things
like talent acquisition – especially if the talent you want to acquire is an expert
Offered exclusively to VIP groups and corporate teams, SPARK Sessions included
out-of-the-box client events, employee incentive programs, and more. In 2015, when
the program began, Cirque du Soleil offered two of these session types – Learning and
Teambuilding – starting at $550 USD per person.
Learning Sessions illustrated how Cirque du Soleil fueled innovation, maintained
operational excellence, and nurtured creativity in employees. They included:
- Journey – a tailor-made tour providing insights and sneak peeks
- Forum – an interactive panel discussion staffed by Cirque experts
- Flare – a demonstration of the theatre's technical abilities
SPARK's teambuilding session, "Soar," challenged participants to build synergy
by creating a cast of characters and building a performance with make-up, costuming
and props in a unique Cirque du Soleil space. Outcomes included improved
communication, collaboration and trust. This session included:
- Formation – instruction in Cirque arts by artists and coaches
- Exhibition – a live performance by the participants
- Flash – a photo with characters in full costume and make-up
By 2017, SPARK Sessions would expand into multi-tiered experiences. By then SPARK
had hosted corporations like Google, Adobe, Home Depot, Hewlett Packard Enterprises,
SABMiller, and Life Time Fitness to name a few. "Some of these top-performing
companies came to use Cirque because we are uniquely positioned to speak on topics
such as talent acquisition or dynamic customer experiences," says Guilford. "Think
about it. The nature of our shows requires us to seek and invest in top talent.
Moreover, since audiences come to Cirque for spectacle, we are tasked to deliver
amazing CX every night." Kris Chanski, producer of Cirque Experiences adds, "We have
many clients that come to Cirque seeking our signature wow-factor. Some use SPARK
Experiences to reward their top-performing team members. Others want to provide
out-of-the-box wow moment for their most valuable clients."
With three different workshops—Teambuilding Sessions, Experiences, and Notes—SPARK
was able to accommodate groups of all sizes, giving each participant a uniquely
rewarding experience. "We like to think of it as Harvard Leadership Institute meets
Alice in Wonderland," says Kris Chanski. These include:
- SPARK Teambuilding Sessions (available for groups of 20 – 40 people) provided a
teambuilding activity that included a meet-and-greet and photo op with Cirque du
Soleil artists; gave instruction in Cirque arts by the company's world-class artists,
coaches, and choreographers; and included a live performance on a Cirque du Soleil
stage by the group with makeup, costumes, and props.
- SPARK Experiences (available for groups of 50 – 300 people) provided a "wow
moment" activity that included a meet-and-greet and photo op with Cirque du Soleil
artists; contained a one-hour immersive experience including an interactive
presentation of the theater's state-of-the-art technological abilities; and held
discussions with the theater team on how they made the show come to life each night.
- SPARK Notes (variable group size) offered a panel discussion brought directly
to your Las Vegas meeting or conference space; gave an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity
to learn from experts at the company; and had a dynamic closing act performed up
close and personal by the artists of Cirque du Soleil.
In addition, each participant – regardless of session type – also received a
ticket to the show to see for themselves how Cirque du Soleil practiced what they
preached. The 2017 edition of SPARK Experiences started at $275 per person whilst
SPARK Sessions started at $950.Unfortunately, it does not appear that SPARK
Sessions and Experiences lasted much beyond 2017. In 2018, the program's creator –
James Guilford – left Cirque du Soleil and the program was quietly removed from
the company's website.