A circus company that has existed for nearly 30 years, Cirque Éloize saw 95% of its income drop to zero overnight with the arrival of the pandemic. After this hard blow, the company set up a series of projects that could stand despite the sanitary measures. In interview with The newspaper, the founder of Éloize, Jeannot Painchaud, is very realistic about a return to normal that he does not see before 2023 or 2024.
How are things going at Cirque Éloize at the moment?
“Over the past few months, we realized that it was going to be much longer than we all thought last spring. We took note of that. There’s no point in booking international tours right now because people aren’t ready to come forward. For us, the recovery is somewhere in 2022, gradually, and there will be a return to normal in 2023 or 2024. ”
How has the pandemic affected Cirque Éloize for almost a year
“When PKU came on, it was a balm. The first instinct we had was to ask ourselves how to keep our world motivated. We had to take note that we were on a break and that we had to accept it. There was no point in fighting. ”
“Never. Not for a moment. It was difficult. But I am far too optimistic, combative by nature. I didn’t allow myself to think that. We got to work very quickly to get help, we borrowed money, there were grants available. We were very careful. It was managed very tightly. Christian Leduc, our general manager, has been very good at keeping our teams motivated. We formed lots of committees: well-being, recovery, development, artistic. A month after the start of the pandemic, I think we had seven committees. During the first month and a half, we had a little happy hour on Zoom every day with everyone who could. We wondered how we were doing. It allowed us to confide, to talk about our families. ”
How many employees are there at Éloize?
“Just before the pandemic, on the payrollwe were talking about 400 people. There are a hundred permanent people in there. In those, I include artists who were under contract for periods of two years. In the office, it was 35 salaried employees. There are 300 freelancers who are not full time, but who worked on a regular basis with us. ”
What percentage of circus artists have decided to give up the environment and reorient themselves?
“The En piste association carried out a survey in recent months and the results were quite dramatic. More than half of the artists were thinking of changing their profession. It must be said that when the three main employers (Cirque du Soleil, Éloize and the 7 Fingers) no longer have a show overnight, a lot of people have no work. But there was a resurgence during the summer. We were able to reopen the studio so that people could come back to training. It brought back hope…”
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