As part of a strategy to appeal to children, Canadian company Cirque Du Soleil Entertainment Group purchased VStar Entertainment Group, the American production company responsible for live tours of the popular children’s cartoon, PAW Patrol, which won’t be going anywhere any time soon.
PAW Patrol is a kid’s cartoon that airs on Nickelodeon and revolves around a group of talking dogs who routinely save the fictional town Adventure Bay. The straightforward stories and cast of talking dogs dressed in unique uniforms made it a massive success with its young audience. In the five years since it premiered in 2013, it has gone from television curiosity, to full-blown pop cultural tour-de-force complete with lunch boxes, boogie boards, on top of the live shows produced by VStar Entertainment. And now that Cirque Du Soleil has purchased VStar and its florida-based subsidiary Cirque Dreams, the world-wide circus company has added the four legged heroes of Adventure Bay into its fold.
“We reach out to families but we have never targeted kids specifically,” said Daniel Lammare, CEO of Cirque Du Soleil Entertainment group in an interview. And while circus arts will always remain the company’s focus, the Montreal-based circus-juggernaut emphasized in an official press release, they are looking for ways to reach out to new audiences and connect with different brands.
The relationship between the two companies will be “plug and play”, which means shows will retain their own branding without emphasizing Cirque Du Soleil’s purchase of VStar, and shows like Paw Patrol Live, “Race to the Rescue” which has toured in 250 cities will remain largely the same.
The Paw Patrol shows are smaller in scale compared to the extravagant displays of Cirque Du Soleil, which usually incorporates aerial dancers and pyrotechnics, so VStar’s programming will add something different to Cirque’s portfolio.
Like The Wiggles but with dogs, Paw Patrol Live shows involve auditoriums full of preschoolers and parents watching performers in rescue dog costumes sing and dance their way through a live-action take on the television show. There are call and response sections, prop cars the performers drive around in, and computer-generated footage of Adventure Bay projected on a screen behind them.