Saudi Arabia and Cirque du Soleil reach agreement on programs despite previous criticism

Saudi Arabia and Cirque du Soleil reach agreement on programs despite previous criticism

Paris, 2022-01-28 13:41:00. Saudi Arabia and Cirque du Soleil reach agreement on programs despite previous criticism


Saudi Arabia said it has reached an agreement with Cirque du Soleil that could see the struggling circus company perform in a slew of performances in the kingdom.

In a statement, the Saudi Ministry of Culture said the newly signed agreement means Circus will “have the capacity” to launch at least five of its touring shows including Blue Man Group and Paw Patrol, as well as a potential resident show unique to the country.

The government also specifies that the two parties will develop a plan to establish a regional circus training academy there.

The last time a circus pitched its tent in the kingdom in 2018, infuriated some of its artists, who had hoped the company would cancel performances amid international condemnation of the regime following the murder of Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi and a diplomatic row between Canada and Saudi Arabia. .

Shortly after the COVID-19 pandemic broke out two years ago, Cirque canceled its offerings and cut nearly 3,500 employees, but it began adding shows again last summer.

The Montreal-based company was sold to a group of its creditors led by Catalyst Capital Group in late 2020 after a circus troupe was forced to file for creditor protection.

Circus isn’t the only Canadian franchise that has faced calls to cancel shows in Saudi Arabia. Pop star Justin Bieber heard similar demands before his concert in the Red Sea city of Jeddah last month during the kingdom’s Formula 1 race.

This report was first published by The Canadian Press on January 28, 2022.

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