The 7 Fingers

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The 7 Fingers (Les 7 Doigts)
Les 7 doigts logo.png
FounderShana Carroll, Isabelle Chassé, Patrick Léonard, Faon Shane, Gypsy Snider, Sébastien Soldevila, Samuel Tétreault
Founded atMontreal
PurposeCreation, production and touring of shows
Headquarters2111 Boul. St Laurent. Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Products2019 “Passengers”
2018 Temporel
2017 Vice & Vertu
2016 Réversible
2016 Bosch Dreams
2016 Princesse de Cirque
2015 Triptyque
2014 Cuisine & Confessions
2014 Intersection
2013 Le Murmure du coquelicot
2012 Séquence 8
2012 Amuse
2011 Patinoire
2009 Psy
2007 La Vie
2007 Projet Fibonacci
2006 Traces
2002 Loft

The 7 Fingers is an artist collective based in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The group is also known by its French name "Les 7 doigts de la main", which is sometimes shortened to "Les 7 Doigts".


The 7 Fingers is a collective founded in 2002 by seven circus artists: Isabelle Chassé, Shana Carroll, Patrick Léonard, Faon Shane, Gypsy Snider, Sébastien Soldevila, and Samuel Tétreault.[1] Faon Shane leaves the company in 2008.[citation needed]

Since 2003, the collective is led by Nassib El-Husseini, a political scientist, author, and former advisor to numerous governmental and non-governmental organizations both in Canada and abroad.[2]

On July 14, 2016, the collective created The 7 Fingers Foundation,[3] to support the creation, production, and diffusion of new original projects, and to offer artistic residences, workshops, artistic mentoring, seminars etc.

Until the end of 2017, the collective's headquarter was on 225 Roy East st. in Montreal. After 18 months of renovation work, The 7 Fingers moved to their new centre of creation and production, on 2111 Sain-Laurent boulevard, in the quartier des spectacles.[4][5]

Original touring shows[edit]

Unikkaaqtuat (2019)[edit]

Unikkaaqtuat is the latest 7 Fingers' creation (directed by Patrick Léonard), produced in collaboration with Artcirq from Igloolik (Guillaume Ittuksarjuat Saladin and Terence Uyarak), and Taqqut Productions from Iqaluit (Neil Christopher). It is a multidisciplinary creation, inspired by Inuit myths, and that will star Inuit and non-Inuit artists, including three Inuit musicians, four Inuit circus artists, and four circus artists based in Montreal. This project is part of the nine projects selected by the National Centre for the Arts of Ottawa and will receive a funding of $225,000 from the national creation funds.

Passagers (2018)[edit]

Passagers is a show celebrating the Human and a reflection on the importance and the beauty of interpersonal relationships, mixing dance, physical expression, acrobatics and projections, gathering six artists from all around the world, and accompanied by original musical compositions. This new creation is directed by Shana Carroll, assisted by Isabelle Chassé. Its premiere will take place at the Tohu, in Montréal,[6] on November 14, 2018.

The Circus Princess (2016)[edit]

Directed by Sébastien Soldevila, The Circus Princess is an adaptation of the operetta by Emmerich Kálmán. Rehearsals were held Montreal before a run at the Moscow Musical Theatre. 51 performances were given in the fall of 2016. The show reopened in 2017 for a total for 67 additional performances in March, April, June, July, and October.

Patinoire (2011)[edit]

The company's first solo show, Patinoire, features The 7 Fingers' co-founder Patrick Léonard. It is directed by Patrick Léonard himself and assisted by Nicolas Cantin.[7] The show was most shown for a month at the Festival d'Avignon in 2014.[8]

The Fibonacci Project (2007)[edit]

The Fibonacci Project is an itinerant work in progress type of project. It is an international cooperative multidisciplinary project, blending circus, dance, theater, video and music, based on several residencies throughout the world. Its name come from the Italian mathematician Leonardo Fibonacci, who discovered in the beginning of the XIIIth century a suite of numbers leading to the "Golden Number".

At each new residence, the show and its content evolve depending on the artists involved on stage, their performance and abilities, and on the reactions of the audience.[9] The artists are mostly locals from the places of residency.

The artistic residencies have taken place in Mexico City in 2007 and in 2009; in Montreal and in Igluulik (Canada) in 2008; in Copenhagen (Denmark) in 2009 and in 2011; in Barcelona (Spain) in 2010; in Buenos Aires (Argentina) in 2012;[10] in Marrakesh (Morocco) in 2016; and in Australia in 2018 and 2019.[11]

In July 2008, Montreal artists from The 7 Fingers, and some Mexican artists from Cirko de Mente, went to the Canadian great north to meet with Inuit artists from Artcirq, in order to associate their arts and their talents. After two weeks of creation, the artists gave several shows in Nunavut.[12]

A third stopover happened in Montreal in 2008 with the mexican, inuit and montrealer artists. The show continued on mutating.[9]

In 2010, Barcelona hosts the residency of The Fibonacci Project for three weeks. The show is composed of seven catalan artists and seven Quebecois artists.[13]

In April 2016, The Project sets camp in Marrakesh for two weeks. The show is composed of three Quebecois artists, seven Moroccan artists and three Guinean artists.[14]

Past original productions[edit]

Temporel (2018)[edit]

Temporel is a multidisciplinary show combining the universe of The 7 Fingers and the company Lemieux Pilon 4D Art, conceived and directed by Patrick Léonard, Isabelle Chassé, Michel Lemieux et Victor Pilon, and its choreography was created by Shana Carroll.[15] Its world premiere took place at the Place des Arts[16](Montréal) on January 11, 2018.

Vice & Vertu (2017)[edit]

Directed by three of the collective's co-founders – Isabelle Chassé, Patrick Léonard, and Samuel Tétreault – Vice & Vertu was performed from July 10 to August 6, 2017, at the Société des Arts Technologiques (SAT) in Montreal[17] as part of the city's 375th Anniversary Celebrations.[18] Vice & Vertu was an immersive, three-hour, promenade-style performance for audiences 18 years and over. The production was a work of fiction heavily inspired by historic figures from 1920s to 1940s Montreal.[18][19]

Bosch Dreams (2016)[edit]

Bosch Dreams pays tribute to the painter Jheronimus Bosch. The show was directed by Samuel Tétreault and coproduced by Theatre Republique (Denmark) upon an invitation from the festival Circolo (Netherland) with the support of Wilhelm Hansen Fonden and the Jheronimus Bosch 500 Foundation. The show was created for the 500 year-anniversary of the painter's death.[20] The show premiered in September 2016 in Copenhagen. The show performed in France for the first time in November 2017 during the festival "Québec à La Villette[21]" before touring there and abroad. The show was shown in Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Sweden, Spain, South Korea, Hong Kong and China.

Cuisine & Confessions (2014–2017)[edit]

Directed by Shana Carroll and Sébastien Soldevila, Cuisine & Confessions brought live cooking directly on stage. The show opened the 2014 CINARS Biennale in Montreal and went on to be performed 381 times. The show was coproduced by the Centre national de création et de diffusion culturelles de Châteauvallon (Ollioules, France), l'Espace Jean Legendre (Compiègne, France), le Grand Théâtre de Provence (Aix-en-Provence, France), the Tohu, la Cité des arts du cirque (Montreal), and Thomas Lightburn (Vancouver).

Réversible (2016)[edit]

Directed Gypsy Snider, Reversible was coproduced with the Théâtre du Gymnase-Bernardines (Marseille),[22] Thomas Lightburn (Vancouver), and the Tohu (Montreal).[23]

The show premiered in November 2016 at the University of Sherbrooke's Salle Maurice O'Bready in Sherbrooke, Quebec (Canada). In March 2017, Reversible became the first circus show and the first show from Quebec to play at the Bataclan, following its reopening and renovations in the wake of the November 13, 2015 terrorist attacks. In 2017, the show was filmed in St-Etienne (France) by Red Velvet for French and Quebecois television.

A third year of touring started in January 2018.

Triptyque (2015)[edit]

Under the artistic direction of Samuel Tétreault, The 7 Fingers partnered with three choreographers to create a performance composed of three acts:[24]

  • Anne & Samuel: a duo choreographed by Marie Chouinard.
  • Variations 9.81: a handstand quintet staged by Victor Quijada (Groupe RUBBERBANDance).
  • Nocturnes: a piece by Marcos Morau (La Véronal[25]).

The show was coproduced by Sadler's Wells Theatre (London), Thomas Lightburn (Vancouver), the Tohu, la Cité des arts du cirque (Montreal), Albourne (Norwalk), and Danse-Cité (Montreal). The show's official premiere was at the TOHU on October 14, 2015.[26]

Cuisine & Confessions (2014)[edit]

Directed by Shana Carroll and Sébastien Soldevila, Cuisine & Confessions brought live cooking directly on stage. The show opened the 2014 CINARS Biennale in Montreal and went on to be performed 381 times. The show was coproduced by the Centre national de création et de diffusion culturelles de Châteauvallon (Ollioules, France), l'Espace Jean Legendre (Compiègne, France), le Grand Théâtre de Provence (Aix-en-Provence, France), the Tohu, la Cité des arts du cirque (Montreal), and Thomas Lightburn (Vancouver).

In September 2018, Cuisine & Confessions is back on display with more than 4 months of performance in Paris (Theatre Bobino)[1].

Intersection (2014)[edit]

An interactive and immersive circus performance, Intersection was directed by Gypsy Snider and Samuel Tétreault, and was created in 2013 at the invitation of the TOHU to open the 5th Montréal Complètement Cirque Festival.

Le Murmure du coquelicot (2013–2014)[edit]

The result of a carte blanche given by the Théâtre du Nouveau Monde (TNM) of Montreal, Le Murmure du coquelicot was presented as the TNM's 2013–2014 season opener. Written and directed by Sébastien Soldevila, the show featured Rémy Girard, six acrobats, and Pascale Montpetit.

Séquence 8 (2012–2015)[edit]

Coproduced by the Nuits de Fourvière Festival (Lyon) and the Tohu, la Cité des arts du cirque (Montreal), Séquence 8 was performed for the first time at the Montréal Complètement Cirque Festival in 2012 and went on to be performed nearly 400 more times, reaching 300,000 spectators in 17 countries. The show was directed by Shana Carroll and Sébastien Soldevila. In April 2015, the show completed a three-year tour with a two-week run at the New York City Center.

AMuse (2012 / 2014) and AMuse, Un Dia (2013)[edit]

Created first in 2012 for the 60th anniversary of the Auditorio Nacional de Mexico, this original, family-oriented production was remounted in the same performance hall in 2013. A 45-minute version was performed more than 150 times at the Feria de León in Léon, Mexico, in 2013 and 2014.

Psy (2009–2013)[edit]

Directed by Shana Carroll and Sébastien Soldevila, the show was performed 300 times between 2009 and 2013.

La Vie (2007–2013)[edit]

La Vie opened in New York with 100 shows in a Spiegeltent, before embarking on an international tour. The show was initially coproduced by Spiegelworld and Ross Mollison.

Traces (2006 – present)[edit]

The show had its world premiere in Montreal in January 2006, shortly before performing at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, Australia. With ten years and nearly 1900 shows to its name, Traces is considered one of the collective's biggest successes. In 2011, the show played for one year at Union Square Theatre in New York.[27]

Loft (2002–2013)[edit]

In 2004, The 7 Fingers were invited to inaugurate the TOHU (Montreal), the first circular performance hall in North America. Loft was performed for the opening of the Bourse Rideau showcase event in Quebec City. A documentary by Sogestalt Television on the company featuring excerpts of Loft was broadcast internationally on the channel TV5 Monde. Over the course of 11 years, the show was performed nearly 900 times for more than 300,000 spectators.

Artistic collaborations[edit]

Crystal (2017 – ...)[edit]

Shana Carroll and Sébastien Soldevila (The 7 Fingers) directed Crystal (Cirque du Soleil)

Paramour (2016–2017)[edit]

Shana Carroll (The 7 Fingers) was the director of acrobatic creation and choreographer for this Cirque du Soleil production.

Darcy Oake, Edge of reality (2015)[edit]

After an initial collaboration in 2014 for illusionist Darcy Oake's television show, The 7 Fingers directed Darcy Oake's touring show, Edge of Reality, in 2015.

Peter Pan 360 (2015–2016)[edit]

In 2015, The 7 Fingers led the choreography and movement direction of Peter Pan 360[28] in the United States. Presented in the Threesixty Theatre, a 360-degree stage within a 100-foot high structure, Peter Pan was directed by Thom Sutherland with original music by Benjamin Wallfisch.

Queen of the Night (2013–2015)[edit]

In 2013, the company collaborated on Queen of the Night, creating the circus elements of the production, which played at the Diamond Horseshoe supper club in New York for more than 300 shows. The show was a fusion of theatre, music, circus, cuisine, and design.

Pippin (2013–2017)[edit]

The choreography and integration of circus into the Broadway revival of the musical Pippin[29] was entrusted to The 7 Fingers. In 2014, the show was performed 420 times at the Music Box Theatre in New York. Pippin also toured the US.

Il fait dimanche (2010)[edit]

This National Circus School of Montreal show was directed by The 7 Fingers.

Crime (2009)[edit]

The 7 Fingers staged and directed the National Circus School of Montreal's show Crime.

Special events[edit]

Original music[edit]

The 7 Fingers place a great deal of importance on music research and composition. The collective has released four soundtracks:

  • 2002: Release of the Loft soundtrack CD format.
  • 2007: Release of the La Vie soundtrack in CD format.
  • 2010: Release of the Psy soundtrack in CD format.
  • 2016: Release of the Réversible soundtrack on BandCamp.

Center of creation and production[edit]

Foundation Les 7 doigts de la main[edit]

Les 7 Doigts de la Main Foundation was established in 2016 and became a registered charity in the fall of 2017. The board of directors is chaired by François Dépelteau. The seven other board members are: Francis Baillet, Éric Batiot, Isabelle Chassé, Nassib El-Husseini, Thomas Lightburn, Danielle Sauvage, and Richard Stursberg.

Having become a registered charity in 2017, Les 7 Doigts de la Main Foundation is pursuing three campaign goals:

  • To support the creation, production and dissemination of innovative works;
  • To equip the new Creation and Production Centre with state-of-the-art equipment and technology;
  • To give back to the community by offering creative residencies, artist mentoring, workshops, classes, symposiums and other learning activities.

The financing campaign was launched on February 6, 2018 in the presence of M. Guy Laliberté, founder of Lune Rouge and Cirque du Soleil, Honorary Patron of the Campaign, who gave $1M. Other donors, including Investissements Québec, Daniel Gauthier, Gilles Ste-Croix, and the Caisse d'économie solidaire have also pledged to contribute to the campaign.

Awards and recognitions[edit]

  • January 2003: Prix Nikouline at the Festival Mondial du Cirque de Demain in Paris for a diabolo number performed by Patrick Léonard and Sébastien Soldevila.
  • January 2007: Gold medal at the Festival Mondial du Cirque de Demain in Paris for a hand-to-hand number choreographed by Shana Carroll and performed by Sébastien Soldevila and Émilie Bonnavaud.
  • April 2008: Two Drama Desk Award nominations (Outstanding Choreography and Unique Theatrical Experience) for TRACES.[32]
  • January 2009. Gold medal at the Festival Mondial du Cirque de Demain in Paris for the direction of Emma Henshall's trapeze act by Shana Carroll
  • 2010: Three Canadian Applied Arts Photography prizes for the poster of PSY by Varial.
  • 2010: Helpmann Award nomination (Australia) for TRACES.
  • 2011: Listed in Time Magazine’s Top 10 Plays & Musicals (TRACES).
  • May 2012: Off-Broadway Alliance Award for TRACES.
  • February 2012: "Prix du CALQ" from the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec for the North-American tour of TRACES.
  • 2012: Off Broadway Alliance Awards Best Special Event award for TRACES.
  • January 2012: Gold medal at the Festival Mondial du Cirque de Demain in Paris for a Chinese pole number (an excerpt from the show PSY) performed by Héloïse Bourgeois and William Underwood.[33]
  • 2013: Drama Desk Award for Queen of the Night, category "Unique Theatrical Experience"
  • 2013 : "Pippin" won 4 Tony awards, 4 Drama Desk Awards, 7 Outer Critic Circle Awards.
  • February 2015: "Artistes pour la Paix" (Artists for Peace) award in Montreal for the collective.
  • March 2016: Co-winners with the Musée d'Art Contemporain de Montréal of the Grand Prix du Conseil des arts de Montréal.
  • January 2017: Evolving Circus Award, USA.


  1. ^ Boisseau, Rosita (2011-10-29). "Reprise : Les 7 doigts de la main à Bobino". Le Monde.
  2. ^ Martin, Valérie (2013-05-12). "Nassib El-Husseini : de la politique au cirque". Actualités UQAM.
  3. ^ "Guy Laliberté verse 1 million $ à la Fondation des 7 doigts de la main". 2018-02-06.
  4. ^ "Un million pour le Centre de création et de production des 7 doigts de la main". Retrieved 23 November 2017.
  5. ^ "Les 7 doigts de la main". Groupe TEQ. Retrieved 23 November 2017.
  6. ^ "Passagers – Les 7 Doigts". (in French).
  7. ^ "'Patinoire' des 7 doigts". TVA nouvelles (in French).
  8. ^ JDD, Le. "Aimer, être... et patiner". (in French). Retrieved 2017-07-11.
  9. ^ a b "Pôle Fibonacci: Projet Fibonacci" (PDF) (in French). 2008. p. 32. ISSN 1923-2578.
  10. ^ "Le Projet Fibonacci fait son cirque à Buenos Aires". 2012-08-20.
  11. ^ "Projet Fibonacci".
  12. ^ "Artcirq".
  13. ^ "Actualités Barcelone". Gouvernement Québec (in French). 1 December 2010.
  14. ^ "awalnart" (PDF). (in French).
  15. ^ "Temporel 2018". (in French).
  16. ^ sa (2018-01-08). "Temporel – Cinquième Salle" (in French). Retrieved 2018-06-22.
  17. ^ "Vice & Vertu Société des Arts Technologiques". (in French).
  18. ^ a b "'Vice & vertu' – Plaisirs sur la 'Main'" (in French). 13 July 2017.
  19. ^ Siag, Jean (2017-07-10). "Vice & vertu: incursion dans le Red Light montréalais | Jean Siag | Montréal complètement cirque". La Presse (in French). Retrieved 2017-07-11.
  20. ^ "Bosch Dreams". (in French).
  21. ^ Rioux, Christian (2017-11-24). "Paris: le parc de la Villette aux couleurs du Québec" (in French). ISSN 0319-0722. Retrieved 2017-11-29.
  22. ^ "Réversibles – Les théâtres" (in French).
  23. ^ "Une réussite... dans tous les sens".
  24. ^ "Une création des 7 doigts de la main". 8 June 2016.
  25. ^ "La Veronal". La Veronal. Retrieved 2016-05-17.
  26. ^ "tohu" (PDF).
  27. ^ Brantley, Ben (2011-08-09). "Les 7 Doigts de la Main in 'Traces' at Union Square – Review". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-11-28.
  28. ^ Siag, Jean (2015-05-25). "Les 7 doigts à la rescousse de Peter Pan!". La Presse (in French). Retrieved 2017-08-30.
  29. ^ "Pippin returns to Broadway". A.R.T. – American Repertory Theater. Retrieved 2017-11-28.
  30. ^ TAYLOR, KATE (2014-02-06). "Montreal circus troupe has hand in Sochi opening ceremonies". Retrieved 2017-11-28.
  31. ^ Les 7 doigts de la main (2015-02-19). "The Naked Truth (BENCH/) By Les 7 doigts de la main". YouTube. Retrieved 2017-08-30.
  32. ^ "Nominees and Recipients – Drama Desk". Retrieved 23 November 2017.
  33. ^ Siag, Jean (30 January 2012). "Les 7 doigts de la main raflent l'or à Paris". La Presse. Retrieved 23 November 2017.