Everything about the big top is designed to maximise the spectators' experience Cirque's use of the Grand Chapiteau (big top) to stage its productions is perhaps its only nod to tradition in the fittings and paraphernalia it uses. The attention to detail throughout, on the outside and inside, reflects Cirque's dedication to professionalism and innovation. The tent is made of PVC and is manufactured in France by internationally renowned big top manufacturer Voileries du Sud-Ouest. The tent measures 56 metres in diameter and 17 metres from the ground to the cupola. It is supported by four 27-metre steel masts. Despite its size, it has been designed to provide an intimate ambience for just over 2,500 people. This atmosphere is perfect for Quidam, which tells its own tale of intimacy. A Cirque spokesman said that audiences walking into the big top stepped into a magical world of fantasy and imagination. The original live music score, state-of-the-art set design and beautiful lighting effects enhance the experience. The seating layout supports the sense of intimacy, with a close-to-the-stage design that allows the audience to take in all that goes on in a Cirque show. The staging and choreography ensure there is always something to catch the eye, a characteristic of Cirque performances. Technically, Quidam features a nine-metric tonne structure called a Telepheric, a conveying apparatus comprising five aluminium rails that stretch almost the entire span of the big top. Supported by arching masts, it seamlessly transports artists and props on and off the stage and allows for special effects. The idea was conceived by one of Cirque's set designers, who was working on a way to bring the artists on to the stage or into aerial positions without cables obstructing the audience's view. The set has been designed to correspond with the artistic concept of the creators and to ensure the performances are maximised, with an uncomplicated urban feel. A section of the stage featuring two manholes can be rotated in opposite directions, giving the illusion of many entry and exit points. The stage is also used in the storyline, with performers magically appearing from below it, as in the case of one act. Cirque uses a non-solid acrobatic rubber surface called Mondo, sourced from Italy, to cover the stage. This protects the performers from injury by reducing the impact on the artists' limbs and joints, and is especially helpful to those who include tumbling in their acts. The surface also provides extra grip for acts such as the German Wheel. The cover has a metallic look that matches the style of the set. Lighting plays a crucial part in the show. Quidam uses more than 250 lights, and at each show three spot operators and a light board operator monitor more than 1,000 light cues. Cirque claims that if all the colour gel used for the lights were laid end to end, it would measure more than 500 metres in length. Both recorded and live music are used in Quidam, and constitutes an essential part of the story-telling, taking the audience from one emotion to the next. Six musicians and one singer perform live, enveloping the audience in the advanced surround sound-system. The score draws from a wealth of eclectic cultural blends, classical strings, synthesisers and guitars. All that goes on inside the big top is designed to heighten the excitement and awe that a Cirque production inspires.