Skip to main content

Moving from one city to another

Ever wondered how our big top shows travel from city to city? Here’s a deep dive into the steps involved to move our mini-cities and all their residents! 

Footer article Moving Cities


1. Marking
The week before a big top city transfer, the site team with a few technicians visit the next location and drive nails and use spray paint to mark all the landmarks for the specific show layout. It's based on GPS using a center point in the middle of the big top.
2. Pre-Packing
Our technicians that aren't already prepping the new location work to pack up what they can, that doesn't affect the show in any way, the week before the move. We pride ourselves on each show being of the same incredible quality, whether it be the first or last one of a city. Mostly what gets packed in this step are spare items and maintenance stuff.
3. Packing
Immediately after the last show of a city, everything gets packed up! From the backstage training area (which actually starts throughout that day), to everything show related, to the actual bleachers, and everything that goes into our tents.

Pictures tead down of a big top


4. Tear Down
Once all the insides are packed, it's time for the actual tents to come down, and the entire site to be packed up and cleaned. Once this is complete all of the equipment and materials get moved to our new site, be it a quick drive to the next city, or sometimes across an ocean!
5. New City
The set up at each new city starts in reverse, with the site and tent going up first, and then the stage and seating, and finally show materials being added. When raising the tent in each city, local workers are hired to help as many people are required.
6. Validation
With the show being in a new place, and the entire show being taken apart and built back together, that means EVERYTHING needs to be re-validated. Our teams run all winches and acrobatic movements before artists come, taking weight and height measurements and adjustments. Then do it all again with artists. (2 nights of lighting focus to run every single cue and adjust all the lights. 1 night of sound focus)


Pictures of putting the big top up

7. Training & Premiere!
The final step is to have the artists train again before premiering in the new city! Fun fact: We hire many locals on set up and tear down. Usually, about 10-20 per day, while for bleachers and the tent can be up to 30 or 40 at a time. We also have fly-ins, which are Cirque-employed specialists who only travel to different shows for transfers. Some of those specialties are bleachers, the tent, and forklift/bobcat driving...


Photos by Antonio Moore, Echo head coach and Eden Bahar, drummer on KOOZA