Saudi Arabia’s spat with Canada may have affected the currency, maple syrup imports and thousands of Saudi students abroad, but there’s at least one Canadian business untouched: Cirque du Soleil.
The Montreal-based troupe will perform a customized show for Saudi Arabia’s National Day on September 23 in Riyadh, Cirque du Soleil said in an emailed statement. The hour-long show will feature more than 80 artists — men and women — wearing 250 costumes on a 300-foot stage, “making it one of the largest productions ever created for a single performance by Cirque du Soleil,” the company said.
It will be the first time Cirque du Soleil performs in Saudi Arabia. Under 33-year-old Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the conservative Islamic kingdom has been loosening social restrictions and expanding its once-anemic entertainment industry — all part of his economic transformation plan called “Vision 2030.” At the same time, the prince has led a political crackdown on domestic critics and a more aggressive and unpredictable foreign policy, including the kingdom’s split with Canada last month.
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