Cirque du Soleil Lays Off 400 Workers Worldwide

 Julie Aucoin

TORONTO – Canada’s Cirque du Soleil may have all those long-running Las Vegas shows and its billionaire owner traveling into space as a private citizen.

Even so, the Montreal-based entertainment behemoth on Wednesday unveiled plans for a restructuring.

The Quebec-based entertainment group that started out with big-tent circus performances on Wednesday confirmed that it will eliminate 400 jobs from its worldwide workforce of around 5,000 people, which includes artists.

In addition, its expensive Hollywood show Iris is closing early amid lackluster ticket sales.

Around 2,000 people work out of the company headquarters in Montreal, where most of the job cuts will fall.

Cirque du Soleil, which has 20 shows running internationally, met with employees in Montreal on Wednesday, before making the cuts public via a press conference.

Guy Laliberté, who launched the Cirque du Soleil in 1984 and in 2009 flew into space for 11 days at a reported price tag of $35 million, was absent from the Montreal press conference.

Renee-Claude Menard, communications director at Cirque du Soleil, told reporters that, despite the restructuring, Laliberté had no intention of selling the company.

The conglomerate has reportedly sustained losses from Cirque du Soleil Worlds Away 3D after a recent release at the local multiplex.

And a number of Cirque shows in the last year closed early, including Viva Elvis at the Aria Resort and Casino in Las Vegas and ZED at the Tokyo Disney Resort.

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