Although talented performance artists probably come to mind when you hear Cirque Du Soleil, it takes a large team to make these shows the international success that they are. When Cirque du Soleil’s “Quidam” visited Roanoke, the show featured 52 artists performing on stage. What we didn’t see were another 50 employees behind the scenes. There are employees who feed the team, others who manage the 250 costumes that are cleaned daily, and still others who keep everyone healthy. In all, there are about 100 different positions with this company, and I was able to speak with Quidam’s Production Coordinator Lauree Bangs and learn about her role with this fascinating organization.
Lauree was first introduced to Cirque when she and her family enjoyed a performance of Quidam in Ottawa in 2006. Later that year her daughter Ella, who was 8 at the time, was seen in a dance performance and asked to audition for Zoe, the lead role of Quidam. Both Ella and her sister Tessa sang, dance and played violin but had never done anything like what Cirque du Soleil or “circus of the sun” offers. “Pure Happenstance,” Lauree called it. Her daughter auditioned, was offered the role, and Lauree and Ella toured Quidam internationally for 4 years with Lauree eventually becoming the show’s production coordinator. Last year Ella left the cast after changes were made to the show, but Lauree stayed on and continues to travel the globe with Quidam returning home regularly to husband Bob and her daughters.
As Production Coordinator, Lauree’s job is to solve issues that affect the team, a role that sometimes puts her in the role of the “show mom”. Being the mother of two has helped prepare her to take care of a cast of 52 and the multiple issues that must be handled. Daily challenges Lauree faces may range from handling immigration matters for the cast to coordinating health care and insurance for patients who are constantly circling the globe. Lauree is the go-to person that fixes problems, a role she finds rewarding and fills her with pride. Cirque du Soleil employs artists from over 50 nations and the company offers ESL classes and employs translators to help communication between all the languages. In Quidam alone, over 20 nations are represented!
Quidam is the story of a young girl’s escape into a world of imagination. It is appropriate for audiences of all ages, but parents planning to bring young children may wish to explore the story and introduce the characters on the website prior to the show. Click here for a preview: http://www.cirquedusoleil.com/en/shows/quidam/tickets.aspx. To learn more about Lauree and her talented family, visit the Bangs family’s website: www.thebangsfamily.com