Totem astounds at its London premiere in partnership with Sentebale


London, 16 January 2018: Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Sussex tonight attended Cirque du Soleil’s premiere of TOTEM at the Royal Albert Hall to raise vital funds and awareness for The Duke’s charity, Sentebale which helps youth affected by HIV in southern Africa.

The very special evening saw guests grace the red carpet and enjoy an awe-inspiring performance from the cast of TOTEM. Attendees included Sir David Jason, Sir Matthew Pinsent, Dame Kelly Holmes, Dame Esther Rantzen, Katherine Jenkins, Edith Bowman, Amber Le Bon, Danny Dyer, Claude Littner, Didi Conn, Jon Culshaw, Julia Davis, Kara Tointon, Hannah Tointon, Joe Thomas, Kelly Brook, Fiona Bruce, Rachel Riley, Victoria Pendelton, Christopher Dean, Alistair Petrie, Beverley Knight, Candice Brown, Sentebale ambassadors Laura Main and George The Poet, alongside Sentebale supporters Victoria Yeates and Laura Wright, and many more.

Since its Montreal World Premiere on April 22, 2010, TOTEM has been performed over 2,800 times in more than 45 cities. Approaching its 10th successful year of touring, to date, more than 5 million audience members have been mesmerised by the production. Written and directed by Robert Lepage, TOTEM features a cast comprised of 46 acrobats, actors, musicians and singers hailing from 19 countries: Australia, Belarus, Brazil, Canada, China, Czech Republic, France, Finland, Germany, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Mongolia, Russia, Spain, Ukraine, United Kingdom and United States.

CREDIT: Cirque du Soleil

This evening’s premiere, presented in partnership with Sentebale, marked the second event in a series of ‘Sentebale Nights’, building on the success of the charity’s first production with the hit musical HAMILTON in August 2018. Founded in 2006 by The Duke of Sussex and Prince Seeiso, Sentebale helps the most vulnerable children in Lesotho, Botswana and Malawi – the victims of extreme poverty and the HIV/AIDS epidemic – get the support, tools and education they need to lead long, healthy and productive lives.


The Duke and Duchess of Sussex arrive at the TOTEM premiere 
CREDIT: Justin Goff/

Lesotho and Botswana have the second and third highest prevalence rates of HIV in the world respectively. Sentebale works in these two countries delivering youth-appropriate HIV prevention solutions and weeklong residential camps and monthly Saturday clubs for those coming to terms with living with HIV. Sentebale reaches over 4,200 children and young people each month in Lesotho and Botswana through clubs, and last year delivered comprehensive sexuality education to 100,000 adolescents through  school and community outreach projects.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex meet the Company of TOTEM 
CREDIT: Justin Goff/

In October 2018, Sentebale expanded into Malawi with the pilot programme ‘Mawa Girls’ in partnership with the Global AIDS Interfaith Alliance (GAIA). In southern Africa, three out of four new HIV infections in 15-19-year-olds occur among young women, and seven in ten young women lack knowledge about HIV (UNAIDS, 2018). Keeping girls in school is a proven protective factor against HIV; when girls stay in school, they have lower rates of early marriage, pregnancy and HIV infection. Mawa Girls, the word ‘mawa’ meaning ‘tomorrow’, builds on GAIA’s secondary school bursary programme by incorporating our model of psychosocial support through camps and clubs. The curriculum focuses on life skills training, include encouraging girls and young women to stay in school, HIV prevention and sexual health and wellbeing. Sentebale currently reaches 360 girls each month in clubs and plans to run four camps in 2019 for 120 of those clubbers.

Tickets are on sale now, and for a truly unforgettable Cirque du Soleil experience a collection of premium and VIP experiences for all the family are also available. Tickets can be purchased through the Cirque du Soleil website or or 020 7589 8212. In support of Sentebale, donations can be made at




For more information, visit

Stay connected with TOTEM on Twitter: @Cirque #TOTEM

Follow TOTEM and Cirque du Soleil on: Facebook / Instagram / YouTube / Tumblr / Google +



TOTEM gratefully acknowledges its official partner, ŠKODA

TOTEM Official Trailer – viewing copy                                      


TOTEM Official Photos

Photos credit: Cirque du Soleil Inc.


Notes to Editors:

For further press information about Cirque du Soleil please contact:

Becky Williams    

Sarah Wareing   

Barry O’Reilly      

Lais Martins-Waring

LD Communications – 020 7439 7222


For media enquiries about Sentebale:

Alice Lycett Green, Head of Marketing and Communications:

+44 (0) 207 7300 226 | +44 (0)7968 272681



On an island evoking the shape of a giant turtle, TOTEM traces the fascinating journey of the human species from its original amphibian state to its ultimate desire to fly. Through a visual and acrobatic language, TOTEM explores the ties that bind Man to other species, his dreams and his infinite potential.

With acrobatic performances evoking selected scenes from the story of evolution, TOTEM depicts a world of archetypal characters who, in their own way, witness and act out the perennial, existential, questions of life. Alternating between science and legend, and peppered with aboriginal stories of creation, TOTEM explores the evolutionary progress of species, Man’s ongoing search for balance, and the curiosity that propels him ever further, faster, and higher…

Since its World Premiere in 2010, more than 5 million people, in more than 45 cities around the world, have been mesmerized by the intimacy and beauty of TOTEM. Written and directed by Robert Lepage, TOTEM features a cast of 46 acrobats, actors, musicians and singers, in an uplifting array of athleticism, comedy, soul-touching theatrics and surprising visual effects.

About Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group

Originally composed of 20 street performers in 1984, Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group completely reinvented circus arts and went on to become a world leader in live entertainment. Established in Montreal, the Canadian organization has brought wonder and delight to over 190 million spectators with productions presented in close to 450 cities in 60 countries. Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group currently has over 4,000 employees, including 1,400 artists, from nearly 50 countries.

Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group creates content for a broad range of audacious projects. On top of producing world-renowned shows, the organization has extended its creative approach to a large variety of entertainment forms such as multimedia productions, immersive experiences, theme parks and special events. Going beyond its various creations, Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group aims to make a positive impact on people, communities and the planet with its most important tools: creativity and art.

About Sentebale

Sentebale was founded in 2006 by The Duke of Sussex and Prince Seeiso with a vision to positively transform the lives of some of the world’s most vulnerable children, many the victims of extreme poverty and HIV/AIDS.

Despite great progress made worldwide in combatting the AIDS epidemic, HIV remains one of the leading causes of death for adolescents in sub-Saharan Africa, three out of four new HIV infections among 15–19-year-olds are among young women and stigma is a major factor preventing youth knowing their HIV status, accessing lifesaving treatment and care.

For over a decade, the charity has been supporting thousands of children and young people affected by HIV in Lesotho, Botswana and now in Malawi by delivering youth-appropriate HIV prevention solutions and testing services, and critical intensive weeklong residential camps and monthly Saturday clubs for those coming to terms with living with HIV. In addition to this, Sentebale has developed a youth-led advocacy programme to encourage this generation to drive positive change in HIV services to better reflect their needs.

Today, Sentebale’s youth-centred approach is changing the lives of young people across the region. In 2018, the psychosocial support network of clubs and camps reached over 4,200 thousand children and adolescents, and in October 2018, the charity held its first club in Mulanje District, Malawi in partnership with Global AIDS Interfaith Alliance (GAIA) to support adolescent girls and young women affected by HIV in secondary schools.

For more information about Sentebale, visit

Twitter/Instagram: @Sentebale Facebook: SentebaleOfficial

#Sentebale | Sentebale is a UK registered charity, number 1113544


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