A peek behind the curtains of KURIOS Cirque du Soleil

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Photo: Martin Girard / shootstudio.ca Costumes: Philippe Guillotel © 2014 Cirque du Soleil

It’s called “A Village on Wheels."

The mission of Cirque du Soleil is to invoke imagination, provoke the senses and evoke emotions of people around the world.

The creation of Cirque started in Baie-Saint-Paul, a small town near Quebec City in Canada. In 2016, Cirque du Soleil will present 19 different shows around the world. 

KURIOS – Cabinent of Curiosities is the 35th production from Cirque du Soleil since 1984.  The show is comprised of 46 artists from 15 different countries. Each artist is signed under contracts and has previously worked for a Cirque show.  KURIOS is celebrating their second Anniversary on April 24, which happens to be their 750th show.

This is the first time that Cirque du Soleil presents a welcoming act on top of the big top before the show starts. When weather permits, 3 artists climb up the big top and greet the guests from above while playing music and acting. Guests get a taste of the KURIOS experience as soon as they enter the site.

The KURIOS cast performers range in age between 22 to 62.  There are 15 nationalities representing the cast and only four are Americans. All of the performers are responsible for applying their own make-up every show, which can take between 40 minutes to two hours.

“We always try to have these artists come to us before something becomes a problem within their body. My biggest concern for these artists are them being focused because their performances can become routine,” said Chad Fraser, medical therapist.

KURIOS has the lowest stage of all the shows and is two feet lower than all the other Cirque shows.  The director wanted the show to have an intimate feel to this show. As the cast enters the main stage to perform, below the floor is a sealed box of wishes that will never be opened until after the show officially closes.  It could be years before the box is opened, pending the run of the show.

There are 426 props in the show, the most of any production in Cirque history.

You’ll hear a wide arrangement of music during the show. “You’ll hear a little bit of Polka to Waltz, but then you’ll hear almost rock and roll with a little steampunk,” said Eirini Tornesaki, singer.  “My role as a drummer is to not only support the foundation rhythmically of the show, but also a lot of the actions of the show,” said Christopher Chatham, drummer.

Behind the scenes factoids:

The Site

• The site takes 6 days to completely set up and 2 days to tear down.

This includes the installation of the Big Top, entrance and artistic tents, box office, administrative offices, and a kitchen and dining area for cast and crew.

• Some 65 trucks transport close to 2,000 tons of equipment for KURIOS.

• In each city, the tour relies on 150 local staff to get the job done

The Big Top

• The Big Top stands 62 feet high, is 168 feet in diameter and is supported by 4 masts, each 85 feet tall.

• It has a seating capacity of about 2,600, and a team of approximately 50 people are needed to raise the structure.

• More than 1,200 stakes are driven 4 feet into the ground to hold the tents in place.

• The flags flying at the entrance of the Big Top represent the 22 nationalities of the cast and crew.

The Kitchen

• The kitchen is the heart of the village. Not only does it serve between 300 to 400 meals every day (including to the artists), it is also the meeting place where cast and crew chat and catch sports events on TV.

KURIOS runs through May 8 at Atlantic Station. You can purchase tickets here:


Interact with the cast on social: Use #KURIOS #lifeontour #KURIOSabout and #backstagecirque on Instagram and Twitter.