Director of Creation, Cirque du Soleil
Making the stage
Neilson Vignola has carved out an impressive career as a stage and production manager as well as an assistant stage director in theatre, opera and circus arts. He graduated from the National Theatre School of Canada in 1980 and began his professional career working in various capacities at many leading Québec theatre companies, including the Théâtre du Nouveau Monde and the Compagnie Jean Duceppe. As the trusted collaborator of Robert Lepage, he assisted the stage director on several operas including The Damnation of Faust (Japan in 1999, Paris 2001, New York 2008-’09 and Québec City, 2012). This was followed by a production of 1984 (London, 2005), The Rake’s Progress (Brussels and Lyon, 2007) and Wagner’s The Ring Cycle (New York 2010, 2011 and 2012). In March 2017, he assisted Dominic Champagne for the production of Another Brick in the Wall - The Opera, at the Opéra de Montréal. Throughout his career, Neilson has also worked on festivals, musicals, dance productions and tours. Between 1987 and 1997, La La La Human Steps, Québec singer Diane Dufresne, Le Théâtre Populaire du Québec, Le Festival International de Nouvelle Danse and other companies engaged him as stage manager, production director, technical director or assistant stage director. Neilson joined Cirque du Soleil in 1998, first as technical director and then interim tour director of Saltimbanco. He later joined KÀ as the assistant to director Robert Lepage as well as Production Stage Manager, and in 2005 he filled the same positions on DELIRIUM with Michel Lemieux and Victor Pilon. Neilson was then appointed Director of Creation on ZAIA, TOTEM, TORUK – The First Flight and now on Cirque du Soleil’s first permanent show in China, where a new, state-of-the art theatre was built specifically for the show in the city of Hangzhou.