Cirque du Soleil expands its audience to children

VStar Entertainment Group is the production company behind a live tour of Paw Patrol (above).
VStar Entertainment Group is the production company behind a live tour of Paw Patrol (above).PHOTO: NICKELODEON

NEW YORK • Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group's chief executive Daniel Lamarre has become a hero in the eyes of his grandchildren.

His company has acquired VStar Entertainment Group, a production company behind a live tour of Paw Patrol - a popular children's cartoon about search-and-rescue dogs.

The Canadian company, best known for its circus acts, purchased Minneapolis-based VStar and its subsidiary Cirque Dreams in a move to expand its audience to children.

"We reach out to families through our shows, but we have never targeted kids specifically.

"And we saw the success that VStar had with Paw Patrol," Mr Lamarre said.

"My grandkids love it so I will be a hero with my grandkids."

The VStar deal is part of an expansion into new markets for the company, which now offers performances on cruise ships and in malls.

It recently launched NFL Experience in Times Square in New York to allow audiences to immerse themselves in a simulated American football game.

VStar, with a track record of producing children and family shows based on brands from Nickelodeon and Spin Master, will help Cirque du Soleil enter what Mr Lamarre said is a multi-billion-dollar market.

He added that the deal would add an additional two million tickets to the 13 million that Cirque du Soleil now sells globally.

The company recently outlined plans to develop family entertainment centres in malls that allow the public to explore circus skills, among other activities.

The first facility is expected to debut in Toronto next year.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 07, 2018, with the headline 'Cirque du Soleil buys production firm'. Print Edition | Subscribe