Cirque Du Soleil Talks Tech with StorageCraft

Cirque Du Soleil Talks Tech with StorageCraft

August 6

Ever see one of those shows by Cirque Du Soleil and wonder how they managed to pull off some of those famous stunts?

Well, we were really curious what types of IT needs Cirque Du Soleil has, who handles it, and how they make sure everything goes off without a hitch, so we asked them.

Here are responses from an email interview with one of the IT technicians, Alanna O’Connell, who works on the Michael Jackson THE IMMORTAL World Tour for Cirque du Soleil.

StorageCraft: How do you go about determining what types of information technology needs a show will have?

O’Connell: The technology needs for touring are standard across the shows, differing only between our arena shows and Big Top productions. The equipment is organised and distributed to the show from our international headquarters in Montreal.

StorageCraft: What IT do you typically use? Is there a time when you have had to add something specialized?

O’Connell: The IT components of the show are primarily for back-of-house functionality; for Tour Management communications and to facilitate the reporting of other departments. We use Cisco switches, basic routers, computers and phones. And we run a whole lot of cable. My role is primarily IT communications and networking.

StorageCraft: Are all of the shows generally the same in terms of the moving platforms and other computer-generated contraptions that allow the troupe to pull off some of their famous stunts, or are there some specialized things that are used depending on the stunts?

O’Connell: The stage and set design and functionality is managed by separate departments. For example, we have an entire department for lighting – anything automated or even manual that occurs in the show is managed by them. This is the same for the video team and again for the sound technicians. Their equipment is maintained within their department.

StorageCraft: Similar to my question prior, after everything is set and the show is going on, who manages the IT components, and are those also the same people who make sure everything goes off without a hitch, or is that another team?

O’Connell: I am always onsite from the setup to the teardown of every city to troubleshoot and repair any of the networking or computing devices that require it. The other technical components within the show are managed by the relevant department.

So you see, it takes all sorts of IT components and people to make Cirque du Soleil’s troupe soar high above the audience. Bet you will be looking at more than just the acrobatics next time you see a show, right?

Photo credit: Ed Schipul via Wikimedia