Cirque's Dubai extravaganza plans

The entertainment giant reveals its exclusive design and show plans for the UAE.
Cirque gets set to dazzle Dubai.
Cirque gets set to dazzle Dubai.

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The entertainment giant reveals its exclusive design and show plans for the UAE.

As Dubai prepares to entertain its own uniquely designed Cirque du Soleil show in 2011, a team of specialised individuals are hard at work developing the project.

Following the announcement in May 2007, that Nakheel and Cirque du Soleil had entered into a 15-year partnership to jointly develop a permanent show, the two organisations set about developing plans for the purpose built theatre.

The theatre will form part of the Village centre on the Palm Jumeirah and contain 1800 seats with a balcony.

The total architectural build area is 25,189sqm, including 13,783sqm for back of house, 2106sqm for the auditorium, 1937sqm of performance area and 4594sqm for front of house.

Cirque du Soleil's production vice president, Stéphane Mongeau, said the development of the custom-designed theatre and show was still in its preliminary stage as architects and show designers worked to develop the particulars.

"Cirque is currently developing the unique custom-made theatre. Our head of design at Cirque, Marie-Flore Gignac, is working very closely with the set designer, George Tsypin, along with an entire team of architects, draft persons, and project managers at our international headquarters in Montreal that are very dedicated to this project," Mongeau confirmed.

He said Cirque’s production manager, Robert Whelan, was working to make sure the project met all the resources, time and budget parameters.

"It will be a technologically challenging show as we are talking about water basins, tracks and trolleys, stage lifts, high speed winches, etc," Mongeau claimed.

The custom designed show has two main driving themes – the desert and the oasis, which Mongeau said were the inspirations behind the unique design of the auditorium and lobby.

"The desert theme as it appears on the stage spills into the auditorium and right into the lobby, so that the patrons are immersed in the feeling of the desert as soon as they set foot into the theatre,” he informed.

The shapes, lines and colours of the desert are considered to be strong elements behind the creation of show’s overall abstract impression, Mongeau said.

More than 100 technicians will be required to run the show, which will be performed by 70 entertainers.

Mongeau said show designers, Guy Caron and Michael Curry, were undergoing a design development workshop to determine their "unique needs" for the special stage.

Lighting designer Martin Labrecque and sound designer François Bergeron will design their own systems for the production with the specifics yet to be determined.

Mongeau said video projection would be an important component of the show, while rigging would prove “tremendously complex" within the vicinity as the stage and auditorium will be housed in the same space.

The show’s structure will be finalised by the end of 2008, with the expected completion date for the theatre to be January 2011.

The building team is composed of RSP Architects, Squire Mech PTE, ARUP Fire, Theatre Projects Consultants, D.G. Jones and Partner, Dar Al Handasah and Samsung.

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