ROLL up, roll up, Cirque du Soleil is in town!
The world-famous production is in Glasgow this week for several dates at The SSE Hydro.
The Sunday Post was invited to take a peek backstage at the preparation that goes into such a mammoth show.
Cirque du Soleil is celebrating its 25th anniversary, and the show running in Glasgow until September 9 is OVO, their 25th live production.
First premiered in 2009 in Montreal, it’s now entertained over five million people across the globe.
In a truly worldwide production, the cast and crew of 100 represent 20 different nationalities.
OVO – which is Portuguese for egg – explores the ecosystem at our feet, starring the tiny little creatures that we share our world with.
The show, which includes trapeze, trampolines and much more, tells the tale of a day in the life of a community of insects.
The 50-strong crew includes Scot Rory Boyd, who hails from Nethy Bridge.
The 22-year-old, who works as an Automation Technician, explains: “I look after everything that move in the show, winches, turntables, lifts… all of these things we control backstage from our desks.
“It’s good fun and crucial for a lot of acts in our show. We have a great relationship with the artists which makes it easier for us.”
Rory, who organised a ceilidh for the cast and crew on arrival in his homeland, is loving life being a part of the touring show.
“We get two days off in every city, we get to go and explore where we are and then we work five days,” he says.
“It’s great fun, you get to go to new places and see new people.”
Having studied in Glasgow and with family also in Dalry, Ayrshire, this show is a homecoming for Rory.
“It’s great to be back in The Hydro,” he says “I’ve been here so many times for gigs, concerts and shows so to be here finally playing and being backstage is super cool for me.”
Elsewhere behind the curtain, a huge wardrobe department keeps the characters looking their best, with each performer having been sized and their head scanned to ensure costumes are a perfect fit.
The team has to do 34 loads of laundry to prepare for a week-long run of the show, and there are over 1000 pieces of costume.
While tending to some ant shoes, Assistant Head of Wardrobe Patricia Forde said: “There are close to a hundred pairs in the show so it’s constant, trying to make sure they’re safe and functional while also aesthetically pleasing.
“The job is an absolute dream, when you think of wardrobe jobs, circus is up there with the best of them.
“You see a new city every week and get to do a great job so it’s a great combination.”
It takes 23 trucks to transport everything from city to city, with the next stop after Glasgow Nottingham.
Thirteen hours of work goes in to setting it all up – but it all comes down in three to four.
There’s a gym area backstage to keep the performers warmed-up for the show, and they all head out on stage for around an hour to practice their routines in the arena.
All of the performers do their own make-up, which can take 15 minutes to an hour to apply.
The music within the show is all performed live, with only the sound effects recorded.
Overall, more than 170 million spectators have taken in a Cirque du Soleil show since 1984, when the company began.
They now have close to 4,000 employees.