The Venetian Macao, ZAIA™ for Cirque du Soleil
© 2008 Cirque du Soleil
© Aedas Ltd.
© 2008 Cirque du Soleil
© Red Dog Studio / Cirque du Soleil

The Venetian Macao, ZAIA™ for Cirque du Soleil

Macao, China

Auerbach Pollock Friedlander provided theatre and audio-video consulting for Cirque du Soleil’s ZAIA™, a 90-minute cosmic experience at the Venetian Macao Resort Hotel. Following a three and a half year run of ZAIA™, the theatre became a venue for live performances.

Auerbach Pollock Friedlander’s collaboration with designers from Cirque du Soleil, the Venetian Macau Ltd. and Aedas Architects of Hong Kong fostered the design for this spectacular 1,800-seat performance space. The firm’s work coordinated the theatrical technology with the performance environment, completely immersing the audience in the production and enveloping it in a complete three dimensional experience.

Based on a proscenium form, several circular layers of “gill walls” created curved proscenium walls from the audience to the stage. The ceiling, completely open to the room volume, incorporated a complex system of an oval track with multiple overhead tracking acrobatic trolleys, a large mechanized video sphere that travels on three axes over the entire audience and the stage. The show utilized the entire theatre with scenery and performers entering from the rear of the audience, as well as from the stage.

The dynamic production required an integrated approach to merge the theatrical infrastructure with the building. The technically-advanced theatrical systems included an automation system for all mechanized overhead rigging, 3D acrobatic flying with collision avoidance capabilities, 3D sphere flying, high-speed trolleys and bridge cranes, stage lifts and integrated turntables. The accommodation of special effects, lighting, projection and sound systems completed the high tech aural experience.

The scenery garage at the rear of the house, together with performer access platforms throughout the overhead areas, further enabled the audience volume to come alive with performers and scenic elements.

Architect: Aedas Ltd., HKS
Acoustics: Shen Milsom & Wilke
Size: 33,000 SF
Completion: 2008