PROVINCETOWN — The circus is coming to town, maybe.
A company calling itself 66 Days LLC agreed on Jan. 23 to pay the town recreation commission $150,000 to rent Motta Field for the summer of 2020. Sources at Seashore Point and town hall confirmed that the field will in fact be rented to Cirque du Soleil, founded in 1983 in Quebec and now grown into a global entertainment business. The Cirque appears in numerous cities and towns across the U.S., including Boston, and in 60 other countries, according to Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group’s website.
Eric Martin, event coordinator for the entertainment group, has been meeting with abutters, town officials, and the Provincetown Recreation Commission for weeks, though Martin himself refused to confirm any of this, and referred only to an “event” in the public meeting that the Independent attended.
Martin remained mum when questioned directly. He explained that signed legal agreements prevent anyone from releasing details until everything is finalized.
“It’s pretty customary to plan an event before announcing the event,” Martin said.
Town officials signed nondisclosure agreements pending a public announcement tentatively scheduled for a Feb. 10 select board meeting, according to a town official. This is an unusual arrangement in Provincetown history; the company has kept its name out of the public eye even while appearing before public boards such as the recreation commission.
According to preliminary documents released to the recreation commission, the “event” would come to town in June with two “townie nights” on June 30 and July 1, though it’s not clear what that designation means. Tickets to various Cirque shows nationwide range from $75 to over $200.
A circus tent would stay up at the field until Sept. 16, with performances scheduled at 8:30 p.m. until Aug. 1, when they would begin at 8 p.m. and then at 7:30 p.m. starting Sept. 1, according to the documents.
Motta Field, on Winslow Street, is traditionally rented each season by a few regular groups including the Portuguese Festival, but not for the entire summer, said Brandon Motta, who as the recreation director arranges rental of town playgrounds and fields. The Portuguese Festival would still be able to use the field, Motta said.
Usually the recreation commission charges a rental fee of $300 a day with more for utility use, but this is a special case, Motta said. The circus would pay much more.
While plans have been in the works for some time, the arrangement is not a done deal. Cirque du Soleil still has to get approval from the licensing board and perhaps other regulatory boards.
The summer of 2020 may be busier than usual. It is expected to have a Pilgrim theme, as it precedes the 400th anniversary of the landing of the Mayflower in Provincetown Harbor. There are several events planned, beginning in April by a group led by the Pilgrim Monument & Provincetown Museum (PMPM). When asked about the circus, PMPM Executive Director K. David Weidner said the town’s events are not connected with it.