When the crowd becomes performer

Turn the circus into an interactive experience?

That is what we did with our app “Quand la foule devient cirque.”


The challenge

  • Increase human interactions in the performing arts by taking advantage of technology
  • Bring together two great artistic discipline that rarely have been mixed: circus and digital art.

The project

We wanted to transform the public’s relationship to a street circus show. We have developed an ecosystem of transparent, agile and easy-to-use technology applications for everyone; easily usable by the director so that he can controls at his fingertips his troupe of acrobats and their interactions with the public, easily usable by the attending crowd, who is invited to play and respond to different requests for interaction.

We have schematized and created:

  • For the director:
    • a) A desktop control tool to allow him to prepare a series of pre-programmed commands
    • b) a mobile tool to allow him to move into the crowd and launch the pre-set commands according to the reactions of the crowd.
  • An Android app integrated to the acrobats costume with DEL Lights (using FadeCandy and NeoPixel technology). Making sure that the acrobats can receive real-time performance guidelines without limiting the execution of their movement.
  • An application for the public on IOS and Android that allows to take control of the show.
  • Storage organization on Nginx servers, Reverse proxy, connected to a duplicate Admin Server and Socket Server in 2 different data centres.
  • An AR experience showcasing a miniature circus, that allowed the public to play a hide and seek game on the festival site and having a 4th clue integrated to the live performance inked on the hands of acrobats.


We have created a technology accessible to the general public allowing them to take control of a show and to intervene in real time on the progress via their phone. The interaction had to be done under all circumstances, whether there were one or 500 users simultaneously. The screenwriting aspect and the technological aspect of the show had to be developed in pairs. One of the main challenges has been to have no lag time and making sure the experience was as interesting to watch as to participate.

The structure in our ecosystem began with a "preset" action prepared by the director that allows him to transform into "triggers" via his mobile app during a live performance dictated to both acrobats and/or the crowd.  A series of surprise interactions for the audience to trigger were created using the basics available functionnality on any phones: the vibrations served as a signal to communicate with the spectator, the gyroscope to modulate the sound, the geolocation to assign commands to different subgroups and also to assign various musical instruments to take part in the kinetic orchestra, the light for live the augmented reality journey, that had to be available even at night.


Our application was used from July 6 to 16 with 2 performances per night.  Our statistics are based on the site’s visitor rate provided by the Montréal Complètement Cirque Festival :

  • Nearly 4,000 downloads (3,842) from July 6-16
  • There were 5,755 users / participants who used the app during the festival. 33% of users have used the app more than once.
  • 36.6% Conversion Rate
  • The average participation time on the application was more than 7 minutes. From July 6th to 16th, on iOS, we reported 21 crash of the application. This represents less than 1% of the sessions opened by participants on iOS.

The IP we created can now be used and adapted to any other type of shows :


To view the visitors app :

Android https://tinyurl.com/yaj7cr4x

IOS https://tinyurl.com/y8ajye8j