By Amanda Quayle
The Cirque team has experienced an overwhelming mix of trepidation, pride and responsibility bringing Kooza out of the Big Top and into the Royal Albert Hall. When you look at the halls history dating back to it’s opening by Queen Victoria in 1871, it’s easy to understand why. The world’s leading artists, spanning generations, have appeared on its stage and it has become one of the most well known theatres on earth.
It is a distinctive and beautiful building that imposes regality as you approach. More than 350 events are held annually showcasing classical, rock and pop concerts, ballet and opera performances, sports and charity events. The hall holds twice as many people as the tent, with 5,272 seats, wonderful for the artists as greater audiences enthusiastically shower them with well deserved clapping and wolf whistles. Another benefit of bringing the show indoors is the set up team are warm, their hands, faces and feet are flushed light pink, not purple and frozen if they were setting up outside, battling the bleak European winter in minus temperatures.
It is safe to say there has been more challenges of bringing a tent show indoors than what meets the eye. The sheer height and size of the hall means lighting and sound teams have to traverse perplexing territory to position their technical apparatus. While unsuspecting audience members dined with family and friends on Christmas Day and New Years Eve, the Cirque riggers were navigating the roof interior in what I can only describe as a complex algorithm resulting in sleepless nights. All teams are striving to live up to the reputation of this great hall whilst also maintaining the integrity of the magic that is Kooza. A tricky feat successfully accomplished.
I can’t help but be impressed with what the Cirque team have achieved. They are in foreign land here; the tent has been replaced by a world-renowned hall, trucks replaced by a maze of corridors leading to offices and nooks and crannies back of house. On an open site the team spends its days bathed in daylight and now working underground it is rarely seen, a strange feeling to get accustomed too. Not to mention the thousands of technical challenges they have faced and overcome.
I have always been a lover of entertainment and theatre but through my Cirque friendships a new perspective has been forged. An appreciation for all the people who are not seen under a spotlight or heard through a microphone but without them the show would not be possible. Next time you see a show I urge you to spare a thought for all the unseen talented men and women who through their skills and experience ensure the magic comes alive on the stage.
Read other articles by Amanda on Organised Chaos.
Amanda is a marketing and events professional with a passion for food and travel. She is currently travelling around Europe with her husband, Skip, who is the Head Chef for Cirque Du Soleil’s show ‘Kooza.’ Together they write about their circus adventures around the world on their blog “Graze the Earth”. You can follow their travel escapades at: www.grazetheearth.com.au or Facebook: Graze the Earth.