Jun 2, 2017 | By Tess

For over three decades, Cirque du Soleil has wowed audiences around the world with its stunning acrobatics, enchanting themes, and visual feats. Founded in Montreal and now the largest theatrical producer in the world, Cirque du Soleil offers its audiences a fully emerging and exhilarating experience, thanks in large part to its amazing set design and costuming.

Now, for the first time ever, Cirque du Soleil will be featuring 3D printed parts on its intricately designed costumes. Will you be able to spot them? Perhaps only if you happen to see a performance of Kooza, which is currently running in Perth, Australia.

According to Jason Brass, who is the head of wardrobe for the Kooza production, his team is the first in the Cirque du Soleil family to get a 3D printer, and it seems they’ve been making good use of it.

Kooza is being performed in Perth, Australia until June 11, 2017

So far, the 3D printer has primarily been used to make certain costume props, which were previously mostly made by hand—a respected but time-consuming tradition. As Brass explains, his team has used the 3D printer to fabricate the “King’s crown,” an intricate piece of headgear. Originally, the crown was made by hand in Montreal, a process which took about 60 hours to complete.

Now, with the touring 3D printer, Brass and his team can make the crown in as little as 16 hours on location. More than just cutting back on production time, Brass says that the 3D printed crown will actually last longer than the handmade crowns, which were known to break at least a few times a year.

Handmade crown (above), 3D printed flexible crown (below)

By making the King’s crown using a flexible and recyclable 3D printing material, the costumer believes the prop will last much longer, thus reducing, in a small way, the production’s environmental impact.

In addition to making whole props, the 3D printer has also been used to repair and maintain existing costume details. With the ability to print in a variety of different materials, including bamboo-based filament, silver filament, and more, the Kooza costume department has been able to utilize its 3D printer for a number of different parts.

Described as “working like a dream,” the 3D printer has enabled the costuming team to reduce the hours it spends on maintaining costumes drastically. What used to be an eight-hours-a-day job (just to repair and maintain costumes) now only takes about eight hours in total for a 10-week production season.

But don’t worry, 3D printing isn’t sucking the creative soul out of Cirque du Soleil’s production, as the theatrical company still relies on local artisans to finish parts and add their creative touch to each show.

Cirque du Soleil has reportedly been exploring the use of 3D printing in its productions for over a year and a half, but Perth’s Kooza production will be the first to actually feature any 3D printed bits.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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