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Project Details
Client: Microsoft
Location: Sao Paulo, Brazil
Services: Custom Creative Services, Cirque Us® Event Integration

Microsoft was seeking to create a visual and interactive experience for their partners during their incentive event in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The multiday event needed to instill teamwork, learning, motivation, and creative spark into attendees, along with giving them a “once-in-a-lifetime” experience.

With so much entertainment available and experiences available for people in everyday life it was very challenging to come up with something that’s a “once-in-a-lifetime” experience. We needed to find something that moved to being more than just watching in a third person perform some activity. We needed something that the attendees became invested in, motivated them and challenged them. We needed a hard deadline, and a product that we could build together.

From an entertainment standpoint the process of training for years and getting to perform those trained skills in front of a live audience is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that as professional entertainers you get to experience every day. Producing and performing entertainment is a team activity. Even if it’s a solo artist onstage there is a team behind that artist making everything work.

We wanted the group to accomplish a unique task, that was fun, that required them to learn a new skill, and that had a definitive deadline. Circus has a certain mystique and magic associated with it, so we chose theatrical circus as our vehicle. Circus by nature has incredible variety. The variety in the performance types alone requires a variety of support unmatched in other forms of entertainment. Circus troupes traveling together become very tight knit and dependent each other for their very lives. In a flying trapeze act for example, trapeze artists have to catch each other, riggers need to install the equipment properly, and the lighting team can’t blind the artists when flying in the air. There is a spirit of trust and teamwork in circus that is truly unique.

We wanted to transfer that “spirit of the circus” to the attendees and our concept was to use the entire audience as the cast and crew of a real theatrical circus production. We call this concept “Cirque Us”, both a play on the word “circus” and meaning a circus made up of ourselves.

The attendees, who were on location for the multiday event, signed up for 3 days of workshops to learn circus skills such as clowning, juggling, stilt walking, balancing performances, aerial performance, harness flying, and dance as well as behind the scenes elements such as rigging, stage management, production management, and stage technical elements. Workshops were lead by professional circus instructors as well as the professional specialty acts with whom the attendees would perform onstage.
The culmination of the workshops and show rehearsals was a one-hour production of Cirque Us under the Circo Luci big top, in which all 1,000 members of the audience, cycled from the audience to the stage to perform their “acts” in the show.

This Circus Us event was probably the best event in which we have ever been involved. The emotional feeling during the standing ovation was something that we have never experienced in another live production. The entire audience and performing cast were applauding for each other and themselves, simultaneously thanking their team and being proud of their accomplishments.

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