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Quidam (/kiːˈdɑːm/ kee-DAHM) was the ninth stage show produced by Cirque du Soleil. It premiered in April 1996 and has been watched by millions of spectators around the world.[1] Quidam originated as a big-top show in Montreal and was converted into an arena format beginning with its 2010 tour in North America.[2] It then changed back to the Big Top for a 3-month run in Seoul, South Korea before returning to an arena show for its tour to Oceania. The show performed for the final time in Christchurch, New Zealand on February 26, 2016.

The entire show is imagined by a bored girl named Zoé who is alienated and ignored by her parents. She dreams up the whimsical world of Quidam as a means of escaping the monotony of her life.[1]

The show's title refers to the feature character, a man without a head, carrying an umbrella and a bowler hat. Quidam is said to be the embodiment of both everyone and no one at the same time. According to Cirque du Soleil literature "Quidam: a nameless passer-by, a solitary figure lingering on a street corner, a person rushing past... One who cries out, sings and dreams within us all."

Set and Technical Information[]

The minimalistic stage was designed by Michel Crête to represent a monolithic structure such as an airport or train station where people are always coming and going. The major set element includes the five, all-aluminum, 120-foot (36.57-meter) arches above the stage, known as the téléphérique. These allow performers to be transported onto and off the stage from above. Each rail of the téléphérique has two trolleys: one to raise and lower the performer or equipment, and the second to transport it onto or off the stage.

The stage floor is made of aluminum decks with a perforated, rubber-type mat. The perforations, of which there are over 200,000, allow light to pass through from below the stage, creating visual effects.[1]

Costume Design[]


The cast of Quidam has a cast of 45 acrobats, musicians, singers, and characters, some of which are detailed below.[1][3][4]

  • Zoé: She is the principal character and singer in Quidam. Although average in nature, she longs for excitement.
  • Father: Completely, though unwittingly, self-absorbed, this character is lost behind his newspaper until he eventually open his eyes to find himself among his family and loved ones. His white shoes are the only indication of a hidden personality.
  • Mother: Conveys an air of absence and alienation whilst inside her lie fear, frustration, and desire. Through the show, she rediscovers the intense feeling of being alive through pain and courage, play and love.
  • Quidam: The show's titular character, who is anonymous, everyone, and no one (the name means "passer by"). He may have stepped out of a surrealist painting or been conjured up out of Zoé's imagination. He is known for his bowler hat and umbrella despite being headless.
  • John/Mark: He is an eerie yet charming guide on our mysterious journey through the world of Quidam. Also is represented as a father figure to Zoé hence him stepping into her father's shoes. The character changed of 'John' was played initially by John Gilkey and then by Mark Ward who performed the role from 1999 onwards. Sometime after this transition, the character's name changed to 'Mark'.
  • Karl/Fritz/Target: A living human bullseye fired at by everyone but is always smiling. His name has similarly changed throughout the years. Firstly named after his original actor Karl Baumann, he was then credited as Fritz during Matthew Baker's run of the character, but since then is being referred to as Target.
  • Chiennes Blanches: The silent chorus, the nameless and the faceless, the dehumanized, mechanical crowd, simultaneously leading and following. They also accompany the principal characters as they make their entrances and exits.
  • Les Égarés: Lost individuals who gather together in the streets and abandoned buildings of Quidam. Many of them perform in the banquine act.
    • Boum-Boum: A pale skinned, bald character who wears boxing gloves.[5]Enjoys screaming at the audience and walking away proudly, but will run away if an audience member screams back. He is aggressive and physically fit, yet extremely lifeless. It is as though his body lives on only because his soul refuses to leave it.
    • Aviator: This character runs around on stage with skeletal wings, but doesn’t look quite ready to take off. Perhaps he doesn’t know he has wings. Perhaps he knows, but can’t fly. Perhaps, like Icarus, he has tried and failed or perhaps he simply wants to escape this world and its problems.
    • Homme Rayé: Translating into English as the 'Striped man' due to his blue and red costume with white stripes. He is one of Les Égarés who has a scarred face.
    • Pierrot: Another of Les Égarés who is most noticeable when running across the stage in a long white gown and she has bright red hair.
    • Kangaroo: A character representing the youth in society, he wears a blue, sleeveless hood and is one of Les Égarés.
    • Blue Lady: A pale skin lady, always spinning on herself.
    • La Garçonne: One of Les Égarés, she is dressed in red and love skipping all the time.
    • Ballerina: A strange character, he is dressed with a tutu.
    • Rescapé: One of Les Égarés
    • Oublié: One of Les Égarés
    • La Mouche: An upbeat character that makes up Les Égarés, she is dressed entirely in light blue and green.
    • Funny Bunny/Peau D'ane: A character who chases and gets chased by other characters. A genius in ecology, lovey-dovey, and astrology. She is one of Les Égarés and is noticeable as a red rabbit on stage.


Quidam combines a mix of acrobatic skills and traditional circus acts:[1][6][7]

  • German Wheel: An acrobat performs tricks within a German wheel.
  • Diabolo: Originally performed by four girls and later as a solo act, the performer manipulates up to 3 diabolos (i.e. Chinese yo-yo) at once. A diabolo is a wooden spool balance juggled by two sticks linked with a string.
  • Aerial contortion in silk: Intensity, power and grace combine when a young woman becomes one with the column of red fabric which supports and cradles her.
  • Skipping ropes: Drawing inspiration from dance, acrobatics, and the art of manipulation, a group of 20 acrobats performs this familiar child's game in a steady stream of solo, duo, and group jumps and figures.
  • Aerial hoops: Three performers use hoops attached to the ceiling to perform tricks.
  • Handbalancing: Using strength and balance, a performer contorts into poses while on balancing canes.
  • Spanish webs: Artists fly over the stage, attached to trolleys on the overhead tracks. In turn or as a group, they occasionally perform a sudden drop, stopped only by the ropes looped around their waists or ankles.
  • Statue: Never losing contact, two strong, flexible performers move almost imperceptibly, assuming positions impossible without an impeccable sense of balance.
  • Banquine: An Italian acrobatic tradition going back to the Middle Ages that combines gymnastics and ballet. Showcasing the agility of the human body, up to 15 artists perform sequences of feats and human pyramids with their perfectly synchronized movements.

Acts in rotationEdit[]

  • Juggling: Up to 1 ball fly through the air, with additional manipulation of a briefcase, umbrella, and bowler hat.
  • Dance Trapeze: A solo trapeze artist twirls over the stage on a trapeze strung from the telepherique.

Retired actsEdit[]

  • Cyr wheel: An acrobat performed tricks within a large metal ring. This act replaced German Wheel between 2012 and 2013.
  • Manipulation: Three performers used warped metal sheets to juggle and manipulate a red ball that they each had; later in the act, they got rid of the metal sheet and juggled the red balls as well as many other red balls and a bowler hat each. This act was removed in 1998.
  • Aerial straps: Two artists grasped cords that dangled from the overhead rails; sometimes they performed on the ground, sometimes in the air. This act was performed during the Asia Pacific tour of 2004 - 2005.
  • Hoops: A performer spun and manipulated up to 20 spinning hoops all over her body. This act was performed in place of Handbalancing in 2002 and 2008.
  • Cloud swing: A unique combination of swinging trapeze and Spanish web techniques. This act was dropped from the show in 2012 due to issues with finance, and a single trapeze act temporarily replaced it. The cloud swing act returned to the show from 2012 to 2013 and during the Seoul, South Korea tour in 2015 because the promoter wanted to make the show as close to the original as possible during its final run under the Grand Chapiteau.
  • Duplex trapeze: A performer did tricks on a two tiered trapeze. This act was a temporary replacement for the cloud swing act in 2012.



Male Singers

  • Mathieu Lavoie: April 1996 - October 1998
  • Richard Price: January 1997 - September 2003; January 2004 - April 2004
  • Craig Jennings: October 1998 - November 2003
  • André Boileau: September 2003 - June 2005; January 2006 - July 2006; January 2007 - February 2009
  • Alain Labrie: June 2005 - December 2005; July 2006 - October 2006
  • Jamieson Lindenburg: February 2009 - November 2012; June 2013 - February 2016
  • Josue Anuar: December 2012 - May 2013

Female Singers

  • Audrey Brisson-Jutras: April 1996 - August 2000
  • Emily Duncan Brown: January 1997 - December 1998
  • Amélie Landry: March 1999 - April 2001
  • Kathryn Samman: July 2000 - January 2002
  • Gabrielle Cloutier: 2000 - June 2002
  • Denise Stefanie: February 2002 - July 2003
  • Catherine Downey: August 2002 - July 2004
  • Letitia Forbes: June 2003 - August 2007
  • Camille-Hélène Poliquin: July 2004 - June 2006
  • Tori Metzler: June 2006 - August 2007
  • Dalyane Gauthier-Dumas: August 2007 - January 2011
  • Ella Bangs: August 2007 - January 2011
  • Joi Marchetti: March 2011 - January 2013
  • Alessandra Gonzalez: March 2011 - February 2016


Quidam's diabolo act won a Gold Medal at the 1995 Festival du Cirque de Demain.[6] The show's banquine act won the Golden Clown at the 1999 International Monte Carlo Circus Festival.[6]




External Links []

[[Category:Retired Touring