Published: Oct 17, 2011
Show stopping performances, death defying acrobatic feats and thousands of costume changes are all in a day’s work for one of Cirque du Soleil’s Artistic Directors, Gene Lubas, who came in to speak to students on 3 October.
Gene – who is currently overseeing Cirque du Soleil’s production, Viva ELVIS in Las Vegas - is responsible for producing ten shows a week, ensuring that each one is both spectacular and safe. He spent nearly an hour and a half talking about what life is like working for one of the world’s most famous entertainment companies.
“Our motto is ‘Invoke, Provoke, Evoke’, meaning that one of the things we pride ourselves on is our ability to keep reinventing ourselves,” he said. “We only have one of each show, so we want each performance to be utterly dazzling.”
Since its inception as a small Canadian street performance troupe in 1984, Cirque du Soleil has grown into a global theatrical phenomenon, with over 15 million spectators in 2010. The company currently runs 202 different shows around the world, including tours that have travelled to more than 300 different cities, as well as permanent shows in destinations such as Macau and Florida. It employs over 5,000 employees of 50 different nationalities, including 1,300 performers and 1,400 technicians.
Gene spoke in detail about Cirque’s activities – from the rigorous casting sessions they hold to recruit talented performers, to the development of the purpose-built theatres that the company has created in Las Vegas to accommodate its most technically stunning shows.
However, as he explained, the company is always looking to the future and thinking of new ways it can push the boundaries of performance.
“We believe that ‘impossible is only a word’,” said Gene. “Therefore, we are always encouraging our performers to push themselves and try new things. We want to keep outdoing ourselves with every show.”
Gene also had some words of wisdom to impart to our students on their future careers in the performing arts industry. “Network, network, network! Get your faces out there and keep knocking on doors until your knuckles are bleeding. If you don’t give up, you can have a brilliant, exciting career in the performing arts.”