Abstract: Creativity and Place in the Evolution of a Cultural Industry: The Case of Cirque du Soleil

Norma Rantisi and Deborah Leslie


The urban foundations of cultural industries have been well-documented. These industries tend to concentrate in cosmopolitan settings with a wide range of talent and services. However, the mechanisms by which such an industry evolves and how this historical evolution draws on and shapes the cultural economy of a city has been under-explored. In this paper, we investigate these mechanisms through an analysis of the case of Cirque de Soleil, the internationally acclaimed Montreal-based circus troupe. Over the years, Cirque has expanded the number, location, and content of its shows and has continually introduced new design and performance elements. This paper considers how the broader cultural economy and policy context in which it is embedded has facilitated Cirque's ability to expand and to balance creativity and business.