Cirque du Soleil Saudi Show Will Go On, Despite Spat With Canada - CircusTalk

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Cirque du Soleil Saudi Show Will Go On, Despite Spat With Canada

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.

The relationship deteriorated after a tweet from Canada’s foreign ministry called for the “immediate release” of detained activists in Saudi Arabia. The government in Riyadh reacted swiftly to what it perceived as interference in its internal affairs, recalling its ambassador, banning the Canadian ambassador to Riyadh, freezing new business deals and suspending flights to Toronto…

Read the Full Article at Bloomberg