Cirque de Soleil show will not go on in Provincetown

Provincetown community fights back against plans for new Cirque du Soleil residency this summer

PROVINCETOWN — PROVINCETOWN, Mass. – The planning of a new Cirque de Soleil performance in Provincetown this summer has come to an abrupt halt.

The show, which would’ve happened in July and August at Motta Field, was being planned to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the Pilgrims landing in Provincetown.

Several local businesses and performers had a strong reaction this week to the potential news of the new Cirque de Soleil performance coming to town. Opponents tell Boston 25 News they may have reacted differently if they had known that the show was being planned.

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Kenneth Horgan, the owner of Pilgrim House, helped organize a petition of 70 people in opposition. He said his initial reaction was to defend the local performers who rely on tourism.

Horgan said he was deeply concerned that a large first-of-its-kind event in Provincetown, with the potential of selling 15,000 tickets per week, would directly impact the smaller performers who thrive in the town.

“The only way I can describe it, is if you own a small retail store and T.J. Maxx was going up next door,” explained Horgan. “In the absence of additional facts, it remains my position. Without consideration of how it would affect local performers… my loyalty and support stays with those local performers.”

Horgan told Boston 25 News there had “been no official communication” from anyone involved in the project.

“The information that I have now and as it continues to flow out, paints a different picture,” Horgan added. “If there were going to be incredible benefits, we missed an opportunity. There was no information, there was no engagement and there was no transparency.”

Horgan and others who signed the petition showed up to the town’s recreation commission meeting on Tuesday night. Several abutters of Motta Field also attended that meeting.

They stated that they had no idea about the summer performance being planned.

“The poor people in that neighborhood, the abutters had no clue,” said Jack Kelly, owner of Tin Pan Alley. “That was my concern of how quiet and silent everything had been.”

Eric Martin, the local producer who would’ve been the potential sponsor of the Cirque De Soleil show, has remained quiet about why the planning abruptly canceled. He did not return a request for additional comment from Boston 25 News.

In a previous statement, he said in part, “We wholeheartedly knew we were operating with good business conscience and had invested incredible amounts of money and time. All of us had the goal of bringing awareness, new faces, and a once in a 400-year experience to Provincetown.”

However, a spokeswoman for Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group said the project was only in preliminary discussions. She said the decision to not come to Provincetown was not related to the public outcry but rather a feasibility study.

“I think people got a little hasty about their feelings on the project,” said Chris Kosiavelon, who’s a drag performer in Provincetown. “A lot of people were in fear of the unknown.. I saw a little bit of positivity that could come from it.”

Local businesses and performers told Boston 25 News they are still confused as to why producer Eric Martin had already advertised the event on his 66DaysLLC company website.

Earlier this week, that site announced “Coming Soon! CirqueProvincetown2020.” It now only says “under construction”.

Provincetown community fights back against plans for new Cirque du Soleil residency this summer