The name Guy Laliberté may not sound so familiar with you, but I am pretty sure that you already heard the powerhouse performance of Cirque du Solei. From a homeless guy performing on the street, Guy Laliberté has now amassed a fortune amounting to $2.6 billion.
A Pure Love and Passion towards the Performing Arts
Born on the 2nd of September, 1959, Guy Laliberté’s love for the performing arts developed at a young age during the time when he witnessed the performance of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey that were travelling across their town. During his high-school years, he started producing his own events. By that time, he also became an expert player of harmonica and accordion.
During his college days, Guy Laliberté took a risk by dropping out of school and following his dream. He started by being a street performer playing music and entertaining the people who will pass. He was then discovered by a troupe of travelling street performers that showcase stilt walkers, acrobats, sword swallowers and fire breathers. Unfortunately, Guy realised the hardships of being a street performer. Money was hard to come by so he decided to return once again to Quebec City and find another job at the power plant. After three days at the job, his co-employees went on strike; it will not be long when guy will be fired by his employer.
Guy Laliberté took this as a sign from God. He told himself that he will no longer take a different job and will completely dedicate his entire life on the performing arts. Guy started again as a tilt walker under Daniel Gauthier and Gilles Ste-Croix which will eventually become his business partners. They started with a summer event they called la Fete Foraine that gradually grew.
It was 1983 when the government administration of Quebec on that time offered a grant to celebrate Canada’s discovery. In order to win the 1.5 million grants and impress the judges, Giles Ste- Croix travels a total of 56 miles on stilts. They used the price money to build the first version of the infamous Cirque du Solei which became a financial and a critical success. The financial success was relatively modest, recording an annual profit of $40,000 on the year 1987. Again, Guy Laliberté took the risk by taking the entire team to Los Angeles. If this plan turns out unsuccessful, he will be left penniless, and the entire team will not have the money to return to Canada. Fortunately, it became a smash hit which leads to another success.
It was in the year 1992 when Guy Laliberté landed on his biggest opportunity when Steve Wynn decided to sign the circus team to perform at the Treasure Island Hotel. The first produced show of Cirque du Soleil entitled ‘Mystere’ managed to sell out every single tickets. After this success, they decided to perform at the different venues wince they have no binding contracts with Steve Wynn. In just a little time, Cirque du Solei was already performing at more than 300 cities worldwide in front of more than 100 million audience.
Today, Guy Laliberté has at least 5000 performers and recording an average of $1billion annual revenue. He owns 80% of the entire company, and he still has full creative control on the permanent and travelling shows.