Cirque du Soleil is using 3D printers to assist with costume design in a “testing phase”, the world-renowned circus production has revealed.

The company is piloting the cutting-edge technology to ensure the 18,000 costumes it creates every year for its performers fit perfectly, it revealed during a behind-the-scenes tour in Montreal, Canada. 

A Cirque Du Soleil performer wears a costume designed by Mérédith Caron © Laurence Labat
A Cirque Du Soleil performer wears a costume designed by Mérédith Caron © Laurence Labat

Traditionally designers moulded a bust of its performers by making a cast but now hopes to use 3D technology to speed up the process.

Cirque Du Soleil currently uses Handyscan 3D devices to "scan" the hundreds of clowns, gymnasts and actors to create a resin bust of performers which their costumes will be fitted to. 

While it already has 3D printers on the premises, it hopes to invest more in the “very expensive” printing once the density of material and price is more market friendly. 

Founded in Quebec 30 years ago, Cirque Du Soleil uses IT on- and off-stage to wow audiences and streamline backend business processes.

It uses SAP for its CRM, procurement, HR and finance processes and despite its presence across five different continents it runs these functions centrally from the Montreal headquarters. 

Cirque du Soleil’s chief operating officer, Charles Décarie, emphasised that IT and technology runs the show, which needed “a sound management and operational foundation firmly in place if the creativity is to have any chance to flourish and grow. That foundation is the part that the audience never sees. Today, I would say more than ever, growth is synonymous with innovation at Cirque Du Soleil," he said.

Décarie, a former SAP employee added:  “We have over 150 million spectators in about 300 markets, or cities, on five continents. Cirque Du Soleil was founded in rural Quebec about 30 years ago by what I would call a ragtag bunch of hippies without any business experience at the time. We had 73 employees and now we employ and manage a payroll of 4,000 employees with 50 nationalities, speaking 25 languages - many of whom are in the road right now or in the air taking shows to audiences.”