Creative. Stage. Vision. Casting. Education.
“The universe is made up of stories, not atoms”
~ Muriel Rukeyser ~
Krista Monson is one of today’s most imaginative creative, stage, casting and vision directors. She is also an inspiring instructor and guest speaker. Her mission is to create excellence through collaboration while influencing others to reach their full potential.
Cirque du Soleil
Monson spent the past 11 years with Cirque du Soleil, first as Artistic Director of “O”, then as Casting Director for Cirque du Soleil’s resident shows worldwide and most recently as Conceptor and Stage Director for Cirque du Soleil Special Events. In 2012, she was featured in the CNN series Leading Women, an OMEGA Ladymatic sponsored series showcasing outstanding women at the top of their chosen fields. The series also featured Melinda Gates, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer,
But life wasn’t always about the wonders of Cirque du Soleil …
Before The Circus
Before joining the circus, Monson was a director, choreographer, instructor and producing director. A native Canadian, she directed and choreographed countless works in music theater, international special events, and multi-disciplinary genres, passionately fusing dance, music, theater and athleticism. Krista acted as principal choreographer for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the 2001 IAAF World Championships in Athletics, the third largest sporting event in the world. She conceived and co-created the show RhythMatix, touring Canada and the United States. She is the recipient of two Elizabeth Sterling Haynes awards in the category of Outstanding Choreography.
In 2001, having achieved certain success but ready for a new challenge, she and her husband, bassist Paul Shihadeh, decided to sell their house and belongings in Canada and move to the US to ‘be hungry again’.
In Los Angeles, the couple got what they wished for and found themselves putting coins in laundry machines as they had in their earlier years. They lived off of savings and spent time adjusting to life in California with their one-year old son. Luckily, they had the good fortune to meet extraordinary friends and collaborators along their way.
Krista free lanced in Los Angeles as a tap and musical theater instructor for Triple Threat Dance Conventions, Millennium Dance Complex and Los Angeles County High School for the Arts (LACHSA). She performed and trained with the Mark Goodman Tap Company, choreographed music theater and worked as a designer in corporate entertainment. Soon afterward, she received a call inviting her to meet with Cirque du Soleil in Las Vegas. That meeting led to her to enter the astounding world of circus arts and notably the world of Cirque du Soleil.
Monson received the position of Artistic Director of the renowned production “O” in Las Vegas. She was responsible for upholding the show’s artistic vision and integrity – a task she accomplished with great success by leading a collaboration of performing artists, coaches, stage managers, performance medicine specialists, and technicians, all stemming from a wide array of cultures, languages and areas of expertise. It was her job to ensure “O” maintained its position as one of the world’s theatrical tour de force.
Following her work as Artistic Director, Monson was invited to pilot and develop the first delocalized casting department for Cirque du Soleil based in the United States. Along with an international team of scouts and advisors, she was accountable for the placement of hundreds of artists for all resident shows worldwide including shows in Las Vegas, Orlando, Macau, Tokyo, New York and Los Angeles. She gained a profound understanding of hundreds of acrobatic and artistic disciplines in addition to developing a keen instinct for casting the right artist in the right position.
Writing and Directing
In 2012, Monson was asked to write and direct the inaugural ONE NIGHT for ONE DROP – a global, philanthropic event raising funds and awareness for One Drop, the foundation of Cirque du Soleil creator, Guy Laliberté. Krista and her team created a spectacular production involving over 400 Cirque du Soleil artists, designers, technicians and special. Following the success of that show, she wrote and directed Allavita! for World Expo 2015 in Milan, Italy for Cirque du Soleil Special Events, 45Degrees Entertainment Group. She also recently collaborated with Prince Albert II of Monaco and Cirque Éoize for the creation of Monaco Les Amants du Rocher.
In Real Life
Krista is proud of her diverse background ranging from canadian theater to internationally renowned circus and concert work. She is passionate about bringing together the authenticity of performing artists as human beings within the demands of the show business industry, wherever one is in the world. Monson has enthusiastically shared this message as a panelist and guest lecturer with Cirque du Soleil at numerous symposiums including North Carolina School of the Arts, Chapman University, Disney’s Club Penguin and the National Theater Conference.
Monson received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Faculté St. Jean, University of Alberta. In 2006 she was presented with the alumni award, “Prix d’avenir prommeteur – Most Promising Future” and in 2015 was the recipient of the University of Alberta’s Alumni Honour award, recognizing significant contributions locally and internationally. Her passion for the French language stems from her curiosity to communicate with people of different cultures and desire to see things from different perspectives.
She currently serves on the Advisory Boards at Chapman University in Orange, California (Master of Fine Arts Degree Program) and the Canadian College for the Performing Arts. Krista is also a proud member of the Académie Francophone of Las Vegas. She lives in Las Vegas with her husband and two sons.