The highly acclaimed theatrical act Cirque du Soleil returns to London from 22 November 2001, pitching their Grand Chapiteau at Battersea Power Station. The hugely popular troupe has performed in the UK for the past five years, and will be presenting its current show, Quidam.

The production has already been experienced by 4.5 million people worldwide, and is directed by triple Obie Award-winner Franco Dragone. Noted for its hallmark use of stage sets, acrobatic artistry and special effects, Quidam played the UK last year but high ticket demand left many fans disappointed.

The Cirque du Soleil company is currently staging seven shows on four continents. Over 30 million people have witnessed its offerings over the years since it was founded by Guy Laliberte, in Montreal, in 1984. Circus arts, a live music soundtrack and fairytale magic have become the staples of the Cirque's ever-popular performances.

Commenting on Quidam, Dragone says: "We wanted this latest production to be more human. It transcends the 20th century and marks a turning point. Like preceding creations, it conveys emotion, but it is also more raw, more intense and more dramatic." The show's theme concerns a nameless individual, lost in an anonymous society. Meanwhile, a young girl rages that she has already seen all life has to offer, and finds herself in the universe of Quidam. There she meets two characters, and a trio of hair-raising clowns, who attempt to seduce her with the unsettling and the terrifying.

Quidam includes 52 performers from ten different nations, and the creative team behind previous shows such as Alegria and Saltimbanco have conceived Quidam. Dragone's co-director is Gilles Ste-Criox, with costumes from Dominique Lemieux, set design by Michael Crete, choreography from Debra Brown and newcomer Benoit Jutras as the musical director. The set design will feature a 120-foot overhead conveyor, with five rails which take up the interior surface of the Big Top.

- by Gareth Thompson