FYI Vol. VIII, No. 2


Circus Harmony Recognized by State Arts Council

Since 1983 the Missouri Arts Council and the State of Missouri have been honoring the state’s arts heroes, the people who make the arts happen. The annual Missouri Arts Awards celebrate people, organization and communities that have made profound and last contributions to the cultural and artistic climate of the state.  Circus Harmony was recently awarded the Missouri Arts Award for Arts Education.  In accepting the award Jessica Hentoff, Circus Harmony’s founder and director , said “We deeply appreciate the recognition of Circus as an art form and the value of Circus Harmony’s work teaching the art of life through circus education.


7 Fingers Announces New Partnership

The 7 Fingers circus company and Virgin Voyages, a cruise ship line, are pleased to announce their collaboration. Two original 7 Fingers productions will be featured onboard the Scarlet Lady, which will set sail towards the Caribbean in April 2020.

For the past several years, the Virgin Voyages creative team has been closely following The 7 Fingers. It was in August 2015, the year in which Richard Kilman, now Virgin Voyages Vice President of Entertainment, attended Traces at the Edinburgh International Festival, that the two organizations began to grow close. In 2017, the partnership came to fruition as Virgin Voyages put together a creative team to realize its next major project: a completely new kind of voyage by sea.

Nassib El-Husseini, CEO of The 7 Fingers, underlines the importance of this collaboration : “I’m very pleased the company can benefit from such an international exposure. It’s an exceptional opportunity to expand our creativity through this valued partnership that extends for many years.”

“No kids, no buffets, and no limits,” promises Virgin Voyages: a 24/7 festival at sea where tranquility meets curiosity, and travelers can expect the unexpected. The Scarlet Lady will offer passengers a host of tailor-made, intimate, authentic entertainment, including two original productions created by The 7 Fingers in the principle theater onboard.

The Artists of 7 Fingers have been working in their new Creation Centre, in the heart of the Quartier des Spectacles in Montreal, to create two 60-minute shows: Duel Reality and Ships in the Night. The first is an acrobatic reimagining of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, staged as a sporting event for 12 circus performers, directed by Shana Carroll. Ships in the Night is a multimedia cabaret for ten dancers and a singer, into which director Gypsy Snider places two young protagonists in search of their identity.

Three creative labs of one to two weeks have already been held between June 2018 and February 2019 for each of the shows. While production will continue throughout 2019, the rehearsals with performers will resume for eight weeks in January and February 2020, half of which will take place on the ship itself.

The project’s creative team was announced by Richard Branson on February 14. His speech was part of a celebratory event in New York as sales for the Virgin Voyages inaugural season officially opened for bookings between April 1 and October 21, 2020.


No Elephants or Tigers at UniverSoul Circus in This its 26th Season

While elephants and tigers have long been staples of the circus, they’ve been making their way out in recent years. And this year, they will not be a part of UniverSoul’s shows in Atlanta. Circus representatives would not comment on whether this is a long-term decision.


Cirque du Soileil is Expanding its Reach into the Realm of Magic

Cirque du Soleil Entertainment group, the global conglomerate, recently announced that it had acquired the Works Entertainment group, makers of the Illusionists magic franchise and other shows. The Illusionists has  been a popular entertainment on Broadway for the past several holiday seasons.

This is another step in Cirque du Soleil’s efforts at diversifiying. It acquired the Blue Man Group in 2017 and VStar Entertainment Group, a family oriented company last year.  Daniel Lamarre president and chief executive of Cirque du Soleil said the company became interested in the Works because of the similarity in the performance and business models of the two companies.  Price of sale was around $40 million.

“Like us, they have no stars. The show is the star and they are constantly using different magicians.  The fact that they are not focused on stars gives you scalability,” Lamarre said.

Scalability has been the key to the Canadian company’s success.