A performer at the 2019 Montreal Cirque Festival.
Montreal -- the Canadian city that spawned the global juggernaut Cirque du Soleil -- has once again reimagined the circus, this time tapping into the rich animation and video game production talent found in the Quebec metropolis.
In the old port district, between a giant bridge over the Saint Lawrence river and a Ferris wheel, two strange white pyramids sprouted up this summer -- an edgy 21st century big top.
They are part of the latest act from Guy Laliberte, the founder of the venerable Cirque du Soleil who, after selling his company to Chinese and American investors in 2015, started a new venture: Lune Rouge (Red Moon).
That company is behind the strange pyramids of PY1, a show that blends acrobatics and multimedia flair with vibrant sounds, lasers, 360-degree projections and special effects.
Hive of talent
Montreal, a city of four million, boasts an eye-popping 140 video game studios, including a branch of one of the world's largest, Ubisoft.
"We are looking to tap into the expertise of video game makers and others as we begin to break barriers between the worlds of showbiz, circus arts, theatre and video games, and merge these disciplines to create new forms of entertainment," Guibert told AFP.
The city hosts several annual major cultural events such as the annual Montreal Jazz Festival and comedy festival Just For Laughs, attracting scores of entertainers who, according to Guibert, have helped turn it into "a world centre of expertise in creativity but also in production."
For Nadine Marchand, director of the Montreal Cirque Festival, which grew out of the global success of Cirque du Soleil, many circus companies are now mixing elements of dance, visual arts and music into their shows.
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