National Centre for Circus Arts

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The National Centre for Circus Arts (formerly the Circus Space), is a professional circus school in the Hoxton area of London that offers the UK's only university degree programme in circus. It supports the professional development of circus performers and circus companies and runs youth and adult evening classes every week. It also runs the London Youth Circus.


It was established in 1989 by Jonathan Graham with a number of other volunteers in a former timber yard in North Road, London (now the site of the Pleasance Theatre). From the outset it has provided support for professional performers through practice time, devising space, company support and putting on shows, including the Circus Space Cabaret, plus an adult evening programme and a youth programme.

In 1994 it moved to the former Shoreditch Electricity Generating Station in Hoxton, starting a BTEC "National Diploma in Performing Arts (Circus)" in 1995 which ran to 1999. In 1998 it designed and delivered the tailor-made training programme for the 87 aerial artists who performed in the Millennium Show at the Millennium Dome. In 1999 it started to run a BA (Hons) two-year intensive course in "Theatre Practice - Contemporary Circus"[1] in association with the Central School of Speech and Drama.

The Circus Space was instrumental in the creation and development of The Generating Company.[2]

In March 2014, Circus Space was renamed the National Centre for Circus Arts.[3]

Degree programme

The National Centre for Circus Arts accepts around 20 new students each year onto its two year Foundation Degree in "Circus Arts" course. No academic requirements need to be met and admission is based purely on suitability and successful audition. Students undertake a training regime of 38 weeks per year. Upon finishing the course, students may then audition for a place on a final one year course to achieve a BA (Hons) degree.

The school's degrees are validated by the University of Kent.

As well as being a member of the Conservatoire for Dance and Drama, the National Centre for Circus Arts is also member of the European Federation of Professional Circus Schools (FEDEC).

National partnerships

The National Centre for Circus Arts plays a role in a number of national partnership initiatives. The Circus Training Action Group, or CTAG, is a partnership of four UK Circus Schools (The Circus Space, Circomedia, Greentop Circus and Skylight) developing quality standards and the qualifications for circus skills in the UK. The National Youth Circus Event, initiated in 2008 as part of the Young Peoples' Participatory Theatre project, was led by The Circus Space with partners including Albert and Friends Instant Circus and was hosted in 2009 by The Circus Space in London, in 2010 by Blackpool Youth Circus, and in 2011 by Greentop Circus and Swamp Circus Trust in Sheffield.

See also


  1. Sebba, Anne (December 10, 1999). "The high-flying graduates". The Times.
  3. Dalya Alberge (2014-03-08). "Acrobatic artists find new status as London circus school goes national". The Guardian. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |newspaper= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links