Circus billionaire plans show from space

Wed Sep 2, 2009 4:31pm EDT
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By Irene Klotz

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (Reuters) - A billionaire Canadian circus entrepreneur who will visit space this month said on Wednesday he will host a live event from orbit on October 9 to promote the importance of access to clean water globally.

Guy Laliberte, founder of the Montreal-based Cirque du Soleil, said environmental activist and former U.S. vice president Al Gore, Irish band U2, veteran rock musician Peter Gabriel and other celebrities will take part in the show from 14 cities around the world.

Laliberte, 50, is due to fly into space on September 30 aboard a Russian Soyuz capsule to travel to the orbiting International Space Station. He will pay $35 million for the 11-day trip, becoming the seventh private citizen to be a "space tourist." Cirque du Soleil operates innovative circus shows.

"I just hope that as a citizen of Earth, this will inspire people in a new way," said the former street performer, who became a billionaire after turning his traveling circus act into an entertainment powerhouse.

Laliberte told a webcast news conference from Moscow that he planned to host a two-hour live show from the space station promoting the importance of access to clean water and conserving the planet's water resources.

Millions of people in developing countries do not have access to clean water, and water-borne illnesses are a persistent problem in many impoverished regions.

Laliberte said the planned broadcast from space will link up with stages and theaters in: London, Paris, New York, Montreal; Moscow; Johannesburg; Mumbai; Marrakesh; Sydney; Tokyo; Mexico City; Rio de Janeiro; Santa Monica, California; and Tampa, Florida.

The show will be coordinated by Laliberte's environmental foundation One Drop. It is scheduled to be carried live on the Internet through the website in partnership with

(Editing by Pascal Fletcher and Will Dunham)

<p>Guy Laliberte prepares for exercises during a training session in the International Space Station (ISS) at the Star City space centre outside Moscow, August 25, 2009. REUTERS/Sergei Remezov</p>