2007 to date
Cirque du Soleil, from Canada has 19 shows touring world, but only one of each show at anytime. It has come to Newcastle with an Arena based show since c.2007, performing to a 4000 audience capacity. In 2013 they brought Alegria to The Newcastle Metro Radio Arena. They had 106 people on tour with 50 performers, aged 20 – 50 years, from more than 12 countries. They are helped by 80 local people to set up the show, taking 12 hours. It takes 3 hours to break down. This tour of 4 weeks is the last year of Alegria after 20 years. The show is body based, with a non narrative style, live music, clown interludes and virtuoso acts: roue cyr, hula hoops with contortion, synchronised swinging trapeze, three Russian bars, power-run trampoline ensemble, fire staff and body burning, clowns, swinging cradle act, contortion double act, a hunch-backed ring master and beautifully costumed ring boys and dancers. Each year they donate 20 tickets to the local circus community for young people to see the show and this year invited young performers to attend a rehearsal. The local community circus has also benefited from Cirque du Monde’s Social Circus Training Programme which is delivered internationally. Several local teachers have taken the training in London.
There are several North-East based performers who work with the company, most of which have come through the Deerness School of acrobatics in County Durham. This includes Stuart Mackenzie who returned to train at Circus Central in 2013.