Cirque du Soleil cuts 3,500 jobs to avoid bankruptcy as Covid-19 cancels shows

Cirque grew from a troupe of Quebec street performers into a global entertainment giant.

The bankruptcy filing comes three months after it temporarily suspended production of its shows (All photos: Cirque du Soleil)

After struggling to keep its business running amid coronavirus restrictions that began in March, Canada’s Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group finally filed for bankruptcy protection. The famed circus operator, which runs six performances in Las Vegas and has about 10 shows on tour across around the world, had to lay off its artistes too.

Along with its circuses, its also has musicals that tour the world including Michael Jackson One and The Beatles Love.

"With zero revenue since the forced closure of all of our shows due to COVID-19, the management had to act decisively to protect the company's future," Chief Executive Officer Daniel Lamarre said to Reuters.

Numerous reports have claimed that Cirque is drowning in nearly US$1 billion in debt as most productions remain suspended. To prevent the company from haemorrhaging money, the entertainment provider has laid off roughly 3,500 employees.


Cirque du Soleil started from a small troupe (Photo: Ivan Sarfatti)

The company has also received $300 million in fresh funding to “support a successful restart, provide relief for Cirque du Soleil’s affected employees and partners, and assume certain of the company’s outstanding liabilities,” it said in a press statement. 

Cirque said it will seek protection under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA), and its application will be heard on Tuesday by the Superior Court of Quebec.

It will also seek its immediate provisional recognition in the United States under Chapter 15.




For more information about Cirque du Soleil, see here. 


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