Follow Calgary theatrical company Le Cirque de la Nuit down the rabbit hole with their immersive circus show Wondrous

This Saturday, Le Cirque de la Nuit takes over The Palace Theatre once again, inviting audiences to join them in a journey down the rabbit hole in their immersive Alice In Wonderland themed event, Wondrous. This nearly sold-out show offers a cornucopia of circus delights — theatrics, live music, acrobatics, dance, aerials, pole, sword work, juggling and much more.

Sarah Benteau, one of the founding partners of Le Cirque de la Nuit, says the purpose of the organization has changed since its debut in 2013. “My cousin, (Jai Benteau), and I started it — our original goal was to be an events company and to create really immersive, nightlife experiences where we were pairing music and performances … We used to describe it as getting to go to a party inside a Cirque du Soleil set.”

As the business evolved, and specifically through 2018, Benteau says that what emerged was truly a performing arts company. 

“We work with a number of performers, mostly in the Calgary or Alberta area, and have developed these specific pieces of content which we then share with other promotors or corporations for their events or galas. They hire us to bring these performances to their events which has really allowed us to do more things more often and work with our performers much more consistently — bringing them work and allowing them to get paid to do what they love.”

According to Benteau, Kelley Matley becoming the full-time project manager has been integral in their ability to grow over the last nine months as the organization has expanded and evolved.

The Palace Theatre being restored has been a bonus as the organization’s theme has always been vintage, 1920s circus. The venue itself is now part of the décor rather than Benteau, Matley and their team needing to cover it up. 

“When (The Palace) was still Flames Central, one of the challenges was all the Flames insignia. The challenge with a heritage building like The Palace is there are limitations on decorating and installations. The great thing is, the staged performance can be seen from just about anywhere in the venue, because it truly was a theatre. When they underwent renovations, we had events in a few other locations, but the challenge was always that audiences wanted to be able to see that performance onstage, but also go grab a drink or talk with friends,” Benteau says.

Being an immersive event, folks are encouraged to dress the part. “The patrons really become part of the show,” Benteau explains. 

She recommends heading to The Costume Shoppe for a great selection of apparel options, but Le Cirque de la Nuit has also got a few suggestions provided for you on Facebook

Roving performers and plenty of other side attractions — a photo booth and fortune teller have been staples in the past — mean that the show is literally everywhere. From the moment you cross under the marquee, you have entered another realm. 

Benteau says that the added theme that’s anchored in Alice’s journey through Wonderland permits some great additional costuming components.

“Being able to have elements of one of your favourite characters from Alice In Wonderland and adding in the concept of circus stripes and little hats or whatever people think is fun and will make them feel confident in their own character for the evening.”

Pop up performances are also on the docket, but Benteau’s lips are sealed on those promising spectacles.

“I think what I love most about our shows is that everyone that’s there is just really looking to have a great time. You can talk to anyone, and meet anyone you want to … you can be anyone you want to!”

Le Cirque de la Nuit: Wondrous takes place Saturday, April 6th The Palace Theatre. For tickets please click here.

Sarah Allen is a recent graduate of Mount Royal University’s Journalism program. She is an arts advocate and has taken a recent interest into Calgary’s blooming circus community. A self-proclaimed storyteller, her work focuses around photography, videography and written content.