Project Description

Cirque du Soleil: Sarwat Watan

FRAY Studio designed 2D, 3D, and real-time material to create an enthralling environment for Cirque du Soleil’s show, Sarwat Watan.

When FRAY Studio worked with writing-directing duo LuSi (Lulu Helbæk and Simone Ferrari) on Sarwat Watan, they intended to make it Cirque du Soleil’s most immersive show yet.

From the start, the creative team tried to minimise production difficulties as much as possible, as they knew they would be unable to see the acts until they were on the floor with them. Even Composers Bob & Bill had to wait to write the music until they could see what the performances would look like on location.

As FRAY Studio’s Finn Ross explained, “Keeping up with something as high-intensity as a flying pole act or aerial suspension routine inside a more traditional pipeline is clunky and slow,” so the studio used Notch in addition to Unreal Engine and After Effects.

In Notch, they built highly responsive animations that could be altered quickly, generating everything from sand, which swelled and stirred on the floor throughout the show, to a field of lavender. With Notch’s advanced particle systems, they added stunning touches of light.

The creative team used the VYV PHOTON as their media server, which gave them ample precision while displaying their creations on exacting surfaces like voile fabric, moving scenery, and water. Even without a complete tracking system available, they could create the appearance of interactivity with the flexibility Notch provided.

“Notch is like a Swiss Army knife when it comes to particle systems. Its adaptability allowed us to elevate this show, making it all much more exciting and aesthetically pleasing.”

Finn Ross, Designer, FRAY Studio

Client: Cirque du Soleil
Production Company: FRAY Studio
Design: Finn Ross & Adam Young
2D, 3D & Real-time Artists: Letty Fox, Norydas Genys, Kira O’Brien, Grace Arnott-Hayes & Laura Perrett
Arabic Calligrapher: Jassim AlNasrallah
System Design & Engineering/VYV: Anthony Bezencon
Programmer: Richard Thomas
Story & Direction: LuSi (Lulu Helbæk & Simone Ferrari)
Creative Direction: Fabrice Becker

Set Design & Co-Prop Design: Stéphane Roy
Lighting Design: Mathieu Poirier
Video Design: FRAY Studio

Acrobatic Design: Jerome le Baut
Costume Design: Nicolas Vaudelet
Music Composition: Bob & Bill
Choreography: Mélissa Colello & Anthony Venisse
Co-Prop Design: Madeleine Bernatchez-Elliott
Assistant Director: Fred Ambrose
Concept Artist: Filippo Baracchi
Artistic Coordinator: Ahiu Pourteau
Makeup Designer: Gabrielle Brulotte
Photography: Marie-Andrée Lemire