Cirque du Soleil is doing final prep work for its first-ever show in Qatar tomorrow night at the Aspire Dome amid boycott calls over its August performance in Israel.
Organizers say two 747 cargo planes were needed to carry all the material, cast, crew and more than 80 tons of equipment for the performance, which is entitled Saltimbanco and will run from July 4-7.
Most tickets types are still available at prices between QAR 130-750 - although VVIP seats are apparently sold out - and can be purchased on cirquedusoleil.qa, virginmegastore.me or in person at Souq Waqif, Lagoona Mall and Landmark Mall’s Virgin Megastore.
As Cirque gets ready to launch though, some activists have been calling for a boycott of the performance.
A group calling itself the Qatar Youth Opposed to Normalization published a letter to the director of Cirque du Soleil last month saying:
We were dismayed to learn that Cirque du Soleil is scheduled to perform in Tel Aviv this August, after first performing in Doha in July.
Doha has a rich history in welcoming and advocating arts and cultural exchange, but the choice by Cirque du Soleil to perform in Israel is tantamount to condoning the policies of an apartheid state.
As people of conscience we are writing to ask you to respect the Palestinian Civil Society Call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions
The petition the group posted on Change.org has only garnered 339 signatures out of a goal of 2,000. Similiar campaigns have also been started in Jordan and Canada.
Qatar’s campaign though, has been lambasted by at least one critic though, who says it “smacks of extreme hypocrisy” given the poor migrant labor record in the country.
What do you think? Who’s going, who’s not?
Credit: Photo courtesy of Cirque du Soleil, graphic by Qatar Youth Opposed to Normalization