Cirque du Soleil says it is laying off up to 400 staff - 9 per cent of its workforce - because of rising production costs which are cutting deeply into profits, despite record ticket sales and revenue.
"The Cirque is not facing a crisis.
Things are actually going well," Renee-Claude Menard, public relations director for the Canadian entertainment firm, told a press conference.
She said the flashy, musically driven and modern circus show had sold 14 million tickets last year and revenues topped $1 billion.
But the company's rapid growth, and several "exterior factors" including a stubbornly high Canadian dollar, had taken their toll, she said.
Half of Cirque's staff are based in Montreal and paid in Canadian dollars, while 90 per cent of its revenues are earned abroad.
Several shows were cancelled last year.
Nineteen are still in production in Las Vegas and elsewhere.