Behind the Big Top at Cirque du Soleil’s Volta

San Jose welcomes back Cirque du Soleil with their latest production, Volta. I had the opportunity to visit with the team backstage and sit down with Head of Wardrobe, Karen Tushaus along with a step by step makeup tutorial with one of the performers, Charlotte Sumian. I have to say that it was such a treat to see what us normal spectators don’t have the opportunity to, up close and personal.

Q&A with Head of Wardrobe, Karen Tushaus

Q: How many people are on your team who help with the design and execution of the costumes and of those people, do you outsource for every city or do you have a long-standing team who’s been with you from the start?

A: There are 3 people on the team who travel with the show, including myself and every city we travel to, we outsource about 4 people to assist with the wardrobe team. As far as the design and execution of the costumes, that is an army of people back in Montreal.

Q: How many times do you and your team have to fix the costumes during a show and how many pieces do you have as a backup?

A: During a show, we hopefully don’t have to fix anything but it does happen from time to time. I would say we average 2 repair emergencies during a show but during the day, we do a thorough check of all of the costumes to make sure that there are no repairs to be done.

Q: Which is your favorite piece that you are most proud of?

A: The piece that I absolutely find beautiful every time I see it is the singer’s piece, Camilla Bäckman, she’s one of the memories. She has a ghostly blue color of the crystals on the very delicate costume and her hair is fully braided and very textured.

Q: What happens to the costumes after the shows run and how are they repurposed?

A: All of the costumes are scanned in and customs forms are made and travel back to Montreal, to their original home. When they get back to Montreal, often times they can be cut up and reused for other costumes or often times they can be reused for other productions in various forms.

Fun fact: all of the costumes are machine washable which are washed daily onsite.

Onto the makeup session with artist Charlotte Sumian!

She is part of the Greys, Free Spirits, and the Acrobatic Ladder act. This is the first time I’ve sat with an artist and watched them do their own makeup. Yes, you read that right, they do their own makeup (which I automatically assumed someone else did) and they normally have about 15 minutes to do so.

The photos above are the various looks that Charlotte applies for the show. What impressed me is how much setting powder she applied along with the setting powder vacuum they have backstage…impressive!

And Charlotte’s Free Spirit look is complete! Check out the stash of pro-makeup that each performer uses and has plenty of back up of.

There you have it, stunners! That’s our exclusive behind the scenes sneak peek at Volta, now performing in San Jose.

For more information and how to get tickets to the show, visit their website at The show is running now until March 24, 2019.


Founder / Editor & Chief

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *