Fun and learning in Las Vegas: Two UK students intern with Cirque du Soleil



By Emily Cedargren

Two UK theater students are trading in the dim lights of the Guignol for the glitz and glam of Vegas.

The two students, Kim Simpson and Suzette Gehres, are headed to Las Vegas to intern with Cirque du Soleil and continue their theater studies.

“(Cirque du Soleil) is a perpetual laboratory and platform for exploring blends of genres and disciplines with boldness and determination,” Gehres said.

Gehres said the internship with the Canadian entertainment company is competitive — thousands of applicants — and only a few are selected for the program.  Simpson got the internship by simply putting her name into a drawing while Gehres saw an information booth at a theater conference and set up an interview with the company.

The internship for both the students is focused on the technical side of the production. For Simpson, each week of her internship is focused on a different area, and the week’s worth of work and study is equivalent to a semester of class.

“I have learned how to do rigging, special effects, moving lights and using programs like (computer-aided design,” Simpson said.

Simpson’s program is not through Cirque du Soleil directly, but her program’s director, Don Childs, knows many people who work on Cirque.

“This program has tremendously helped me in my career as a theatre student,” Simpson said. “I have learned so much since I have graduated and I’m learning from people who work at Cirque du Soleil.”

For her four-week program, Gehres chose to study automation, carpentry and audio.

She said each intern is “placed within their field of interest at an entry-level role” where the intern will be able to “interact will all levels of management and technical skills.”

While both girls agree on the value of their internships, they are also enjoying all the Cirque du Soleil shows they can see.

“I am a fan of Cirque and I am looking forward to seeing as many or all of their shows as possible,” Gehres said. “Each show is unique and all the performers are amazing.”