The Montreal Working Group on Cirque/Circus began in 2010 as an informal gathering of academics interested in the aesthetics, economics, and ethics of Cirque du Soleil as both a force in renewing circus arts in Québec and as a major cultural force promoting Québécois creativity and commercial innovation. Louis Patrick Leroux, Erin Hurley, and Karen Fricker, after having worked on a special issue on Le Québec à Las Vegas for the scholarly journal L’Annuaire théâtral, combined forces with economic geographers Norma Rantisi and Deborah Leslie who were already engaged in Cirque-related research. Colleagues from National Circus School were soon invited to participate in the ongoing discussion. The first year’s activities were focused around a model of seminar presentations of ongoing research where colleagues were encouraged to openly discuss issues, challenges, and outcomes.

By the end of the first year, and into the second year, the Working Group began to widen its scope onto circus practices in Québec and abroad.