By Michelle Graff
A shot of the slack wire act in “Ovo,” Cirque du Soleil’s touring show. The Canadian performance troupe is partnering with a Montreal-based real estate firm to open family entertainment centers inside malls.

Montreal--Step right up and see the latest effort to lure shoppers to the mall.

Cirque du Soleil, the performance troupe behind shows such as “O” and “The Beatles Love,” announced last week that it is expanding into malls with what it is billing as “family entertainment centers,” spaces where members of the public can participate in Cirque du Soleil-inspired activities like bungee jumping, trampolines, juggling and mask design.

Called “Creactive”—a mashup of the words creation, creative, create and active—the centers are based on what Cirque du Soleil already has at the Club Med resorts in the Dominican Republic and Opio, France, but are geared toward families and open year-round.

The centers will occupy spaces that are approximately 24,000 square feet.

The first mall-based Creactive space is set to open in September at a not-yet-disclosed Toronto-area shopping center owned by global real estate firm Ivanhoé Cambridge.

Ivanhoé owns shopping centers in Canada, Brazil, China and Germany, including the Outlet Collection at Niagara, the Montreal Eaton Center, the Wilmersdorfer Arcaden in Berlin, and the Downtown development in Rio de Janeiro. It is a subsidiary of Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, the Canadian investment firm that also has a minority stake in Cirque du Soleil.

Although Ivanhoé does not own any shopping centers in the United States, a Cirque du Soleil spokeswoman said Tuesday that the entertainment troupe is in discussions with other partners about opening family entertainment centers in international markets, like the U.S.

She said the company hopes to confirm these partnerships soon. 

20180620 Creactive renderingA rendering provided by Cirque du Soleil of what its mall-based Creactive space will look like. The first one is set to open this fall at a mall in Toronto.
The entrance of a Cirque du Soleil experience into the mall space is the latest in a series of efforts to pump life into malls by expanding beyond just shopping—which has become increasingly easy to do online—to offer food, entertainment and fitness options.

In a press release announcing Creactive, Claude Sirois, president of retail at Ivanhoe Cambridge, acknowledged as much, stating: “Creactive is perfectly aligned with our vision for our future of retail: to join forces with the right partners to offer innovative experiences … This collaboration is a terrific illustration of our efforts to transform the retail experience for our discerning guests.”

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