20 Jun 2019

Temperature Control in a Big Top is a Balancing Act: The Cirque du Soleil Story

Cirque Du Soleil performance

If you’ve ever been to the circus, you’ve probably been too in awe of all the acrobats, contortionists, and talented artists to think about what it takes to keep the big top at a comfortable temperature for everyone. 

Think about it: most circuses travel the world showcasing their exceptional stunts and stories, which means that one day they might be performing in the arctic conditions of Moscow and the next be in the sticky surroundings of Rio de Janeiro. Despite the changing climate outside, one thing has to remain consistent for both the audience and the performers: the temperature inside the big top. 

The Cirque du Soleil is a fine example of this. 

Dating back 32 years to its humble beginnings in Quebec, Canada, the show now features more than 18 performances around the world. At any one time, there are around 116 permanent staff on hand and another 120 local workers that are hired at each location. 

This means that, as well as the mammoth task of ensuring the big top is at a comfortable temperature for everyone, the organizers have to make sure that their staff are kept in good conditions too. Air conditioning is needed for the office spaces, power is needed for the computers and lights, and a complex temperature control solution is absolutely vital in the big top. 

A Constant Source of Power

Cirque du Soleil needs a constant source of power for lighting, sound, and automation. When you remember that there are acrobats flying through the air at 10 feet a second, you can begin to understand just how important it is to have a reliable power supply. If there’s an outage for even a second, the results can be fatal. 

For the organizers, it’s absolutely vital to have confidence in their power provider simply because of the dangerous situations the artists are in. 

Maintaining High Standards

Over the past 32 years, the Cirque du Soleil has skyrocketed in popularity and is now one of the most famous circuses in the world - and it hasn’t been an accidental journey to fame. In fact, the show prides itself on its high standards; if they don’t provide the quality they need, people will simply stop coming. 

This is one of the reasons Cirque du Soleil has partnered with Aggreko for 15 years now. Our high standards align with the requirements of the show which means the organizers can sit back and relax while we take care of all things power related.

We know that power and temperature control are critical components of any event, which is why we created a specialist temperature control system for the circus that is based on a water cooled system. Essentially, it cools and heats water around the big top and is flexible enough to change from hot to cold at a moment’s notice. 

This means that the inside of the big top can remain a consistent temperature regardless of whether the sun is beating down in Rio or the second snowfall of the day is just about to begin in Moscow. 

But the outside temperature isn’t the only reason the big top needs to be consistently comfortable. The artists need to have a warm-up environment that is 21.5 C at the minimum, while certain acts like the balance goddess need extra special conditions. For this particular act, the big top needs to be as still as possible. 

In order to do this, we change the air conditioning settings and turn off a series of exhaust fans to keep the tent as still as possible without overheating the audience. 

Big Top Temperature Control is an Art

It’s highly likely you’ve never thought about the power needs of a circus, but for event organizers, it is one of the most important components of a show. 

Just think about the incredible amount of power that’s needed to fuel a show as big as the Cirque du Soleil: all the lights inside the big top, all of the music that pumps out of huge speakers, and the need for a comfortable temperature in the tent regardless of the climate outside. 

But this is just the start. Wherever there’s a show, there are people working behind the scenes to make it happen. This means power is needed in offices, meeting rooms, and everywhere else you can possibly imagine to keep things running smoothly.

Thanks to Aggreko’s unique solution that was created especially for the needs of the Cirque du Soleil, the show can continue to go on for another 32 years. 

Watch the whole story about the power needs and set up for the Cirque du Soleil in the video below: