Louis Patrick Leroux

Louis Patrick Leroux, Associate Professor of Playwriting and Dramatic Literature in both the departments of English and French Studies at Concordia University, holds a Doctorate in Theatre from the Sorbonne nouvelle in Paris and a graduate degree in Arts Management from HEC-Montreal. He coordinates the Working Group’s activities. His interest in circus/cirque comes through his practical experience in theatre and his scholarly research into discourse and self-representation in Québec Drama. He was intrigued by the presence of so many “legitimate theatre” practitioners working with Cirque du Soleil and other Québec-based circus troupes and he has since pursued research into Québec-based nouveau cirque.

He is a playwright and a director who has been an ongoing Artist in residence at Concordia’s Matralab research-creation center since 2007 and a full member of the Hexagram Institute for research/creation in media arts and technology.

After editing a special issue on Québec’s cultural presence in Las Vegas for L’Annuaire théâtral and publishing Cirque-related companion pieces in Québec Studies and Revista Mexicana de Estudios Canadienses, Louis Patrick Leroux invited colleagues working in various complementary fields to engage and establish a working dialogue on their common research interests.

Recent major funding as Principal investigator for circus-related research: Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Connection Conference and Workshop Grant (2012-13): “The State of Circus Research in Québec Workshop session on the Models and Conditions of Possibility.” Fonds québécois de la recherche sur la société et la culture (FQRSC) Établissement de nouveaux professeurs-chercheurs (2011-14): « La Conquête Américaine du Cirque du Soleil : comprendre le contexte des spectacles permanents d’un genre éphémère ». Recent major funding as a collaborator: SSHRC Partnership Grant (2013-2017; Judith Marcuse, Principal Investigator) “Art for social change: an integrated research program in teaching, evaluating and capacity-building.” SSHRC Industrial Research Chair for Colleges in Circus Arts at National Circus School, Montreal, (2012-2017; Patrice Aubertion, Chair holder).

In Spring 2012, he was a Visiting Scholar at the Centre for Canadian Studies at Duke University, North Carolina. In 2012-13, he was a Scholar in residence at the National Circus School of Montreal and is an ongoing active collaborator of the Canada Research Chair in Circus Arts. In Spring 2014, he will be a Visiting Professor at Charles University in Prague, where he will give talks on Québec drama and contemporary circus.


Circus research related publications

The following includes only circus-related research and publications. For other research (on theatre, Québec drama and literature, anglo-Québec literature, and other topics), visite the Concordia English Department website.

Book (currently under peer-review):

  • Cirque Global: Québec’s Expanding Circus Boundaries, edited with Charles Batson, Union College. Edited collection (multiple authors). Submitted Fall 2013.

Edited Special issues (academic journals):

  • “North-South Circus Circulations between Québec and the U.S.”, Québec Studies, currently undergoing peer-review, submitted Fall 2013.
  • « Le Québec à Las Vegas », L’Annuaire théâtral: revue québécoise d’études théâtrales, no 45, Spring 2009 (actually published May 2010). Additional task: coordinating the translation of three articles from English to French.


Submitted or forthcoming

  • “Circus Research and Research on Circus in Québec ,” Theatre Research in Canada, Forum section, submitted in November 2013. 14 p.
  • “North-South Circus Circulations: Where Québécois and American Circus Cultures Meet,” Québec Studies, submitted in October 2013. 34 p. Currently under peer-review.
  • “Le Cirque du Soleil et Hollywood: Iris” Québec Studies, submitted in October 2013. 25 p. Currently under peer-review.
  • “Cross-Border Circus: Americans in Montreal: a panel discussion” with Amy Cohen, Francisco Cruz, Kyle Driggs, Louis Patrick Leroux, Sarah Poole, and Duncan Wall. Edited and with notes by Louis Patrick Leroux, Québec Studies. Submitted in August 2013. 34 p. Currently under review.


  • « Le Cirque du Soleil à Hollywood: retour sur Iris », Revue de théâtre JEU, no 148, p. 155-159.
  • « Zumanity : la spectacularisation de l’intime, ou le pari impossible d’authenticité au Cirque », L’Annuaire théâtral. Revue québécoise d’études théâtrales, no 45, printemps 2009 (actual publication May 2010), p. 69-91. <link>
  • « Le Québec à Las Vegas: pérégrinations postidentitaires dans l’hyper-Amérique »
    L’Annuaire théâtral, no 45, printemps 2009 (actual publication : May 2010),  p. 9-20.
  • « Cohérence esthétique, anémie dramaturgique » (review of Cirque du Soleil’s Ovo)
    Spirale, no. 227, Summer 2009, p. 28-30. <link>
  • « What happens in Vegas… (les coulisses d’une recherche) »
    Québec Studies, no 48, Fall 2009/Winter 2010. <link>
  • « The Cirque du Soleil in Las Vegas : An American Strip-Tease », dossier « Exporting Popular Culture », Revista Mexicana de Estudios Canadienses, nueva época, December 2008, p. 121-126.

Keynotes and guest talks:


  • “Writing on and thinking about Contemporary Circus,” Congress for Humanities and Social Sciences, Brock University, St-Catharine’s Ontario, May 2014
  • Charles University, Prague, April 2014 (Visiting Professor, one talk will be on Québec contemporary circus).
  • “In Conversation with Lyn Heward,” Concordia-Globe and Mail Conversations on Creativity Series, Concordia University, Montreal, 12 March 2014.
  • “Why Study Québec Theatre and Circus?,” University of Virginia, Charlottesville, 17 January 2014.
  • One talk on dramaturgy and two panel discussions, Northwestern University and Chicago Contemporary Circus Festival, Chicago, 8, 10 and 11th January 2014.


  • « Que raconte le cirque québécois, quel sens y donner? Quelques pistes pour une dramaturgie circassienne », École nationale de cirque de Montréal, 10 May 2013.
  • Cirque in Space! The ethos, ethics, and aesthetics of staging and branding the individual of exception,” guest talk at the Centre for Canadian Studies, Duke University, Durham North Carolina, 11 April 2012.
  • “Cirque du Soleil and Laliberté’s Social and Poetic Mission into Space : the Ethos of staging the individual of exception,” keynote at the Centre for Creative Collaboration, Royal Holloway/University of London, 26 January 2011.
    – A longer, rougher version of this paper was also given at Concordia’s Working Group on Cirque research, 14 January 2011.
  • Zumanity: the spectacularization of intimacy, or the impossible gamble of authenticity in the Cirque,” invited keynote speaker at Université de Montréal’s English Graduate Student Conference, 13 March 2010.
  • « Le Cirque du Soleil à Las Vegas : à la (re)conquête de l’hyper-Amérique? », visiting lecture at La Maison Française, Department of French, University of Virginia, 24 February 2010.
  • “The Cirque du Soleil and Hyper-America” Department of French, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 26 February 2010.

Conference papers

  • June 2013. « Circus Research and Research on Circus in Québec », Canadian Association for Theatre Research, Congress for the Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Victoria, British-Colombia (JI).
  • November 2012. « Cirque du Soleil : circus reinvented or brand-for-hire? », American Council for Québec Studies, Sarastoa, Florida (CFP).
  • November 2009. “Québec, Nevada: the Impact of Québécois Theater Directors on the Cirque du Soleil’s Permanent Vegas Shows,” Association for Canadian Studies in the U.S. biennial conference, San Diego (JI).
  • February 2008. “The Cirque du Soleil’s American Dream,” as part of the “Québec in Vegas” panel, “Are We American? Canadian Culture in North America” Conference. The McGill Institute for the Study of Canada, McGill University. (JI)

Guest lectures in the classroom & invited teaching

  • “Circus in and from Québec” talk given at University of Nevada at Las Vegas to a group of theatre and engineering students from UNLV, Polytechnique Montréal and others as part of a week-long seminar on the Stagecraft and mechanics of circus. Coordinated by Magali Marcheschi (Polytechnique), 1 May 2013.
  • “Reading & analyzing circus as performance,” guest talk in “Methods of Research” course at National Circus School of Montreal, instructor: Duncan Kevin Wall. 28 February 2013.
  • “Understanding, preparing, and reading the professional markets” Graduating class of the professional circus program at National Circus School of Montreal. Guest instructor (6 hours), September 2012.

Panel discussions :

  • « Writing for the Circus ». Hosted by Montreal Working Group on Circus Research and TOHU, at Le Port de tête bookstore, Montreal. 3 April 2013. Panel discussion.
  • “Navigating interdisciplinary, negotiating institutional and disciplinary resistance, and keeping focus when everything is just so interesting,” Graduate Conference panel discussion featuring visiting faculty. “Labyrinths: Navigating Complexity Across the Humanities” Conference, McGill University. 15 February 2013.

Experiential research into Circus Dramaturgy

  • Researcher and assistant to Samuel Tétrault on research-creation workshop with les 7 doigts de la main (7 Fingers), Géodézik, and National Circus School of Montreal as part of a focused exploration of circus, technology, and dramaturgy, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, and Spring 2014.

Graduate supervision (circus topic)

  • Dr. Jennifer Spiegel, on social circus, postdoctoral fellow, department of English, 2013-15.
  • Paloma Holmes, « Ethnography and Circus Culture », School of Exercise Science, University of Toronto. On-site research supervisor at National Circus School during 2013-14.
  • Sue Proctor, “Clowning as a Theatrical Tool for Social Change and Community Well-Being,” Specialized Individual Program; secondary field supervisor (the principal supervisor is Ted Little, Theatre). Started September 2010. Defended March 2013.

Organizing Academic Conferences

  • Co-organizer, “The State of Circus Research in Québec: Workshop session on the Models and Conditions of Possibility,” international conference held at Concordia University, McGill University, National Circus School, and TOHU. SSHRC-funded. September 2012.


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Members of the group are regular collaborators engaged in an ongoing conversation. They regularly attend Working Group meetings in Montreal or elsewhere and are expected to give at least one talk a year or to act as respondents to colleagues' papers.


Graduate Students

Regular participants, working with Working Group members or working on circus-related scholarly topics:

  • Joanna Donehower
    doctoral candidate, PhD in Humanities, Concordia; supervisor: Louis Patrick Leroux
  • Lyn Charland
    doctoral candidate, PhD in Humanities, Concordia; supervisor: Louis Patrick Leroux
  • Sue Proctor
    MA in SIP, Concordia; supervisor: Louis Patrick Leroux
  • Johanna Tzountouris
    MA, Laval University
  • Katie Lavers
    PhD Candidate through WAAPA (Edith Cowan University, Australia)


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