National Centre for Circus Arts
National Centre for Circus Arts

The National Centre for Circus Arts involves thousands of people in the creation and performance of circus arts each year. As part of the Conservatoire of Dance and Drama*, it offers world-leading artistic and technical development for circus artists.

At the heart of its programme is three years of full-time study in circus: a two-year Foundation Degree course, with the opportunity to apply for a further top-up year to complete a BA (Hons) Degree. Its degree courses are validated by the University of Kent.

With two large training halls and a range of smaller studios, including acrobatic, aerial, sound and lighting equipment, plus a library, the National Centre for Circus Arts is very well resourced.

It runs a range of other programmes, including professional support for performers and progressive youth circus training.

Independant registration

After many years as a member of the Conservatoire for Dance and Drama (CDD) we have recently decided to seek independent registration as a Higher Education Provider (HEP) and are currently in the process of making an application to the Office for Students (OfS). We aim to be independent by 2023. Students currently enrolled will therefore complete their studies under registration with CDD and students enrolling from 2021/22 will complete their 2-year Foundation Degree with CDD but continue with their 3rd year BA (Hons) top up registered with National Centre for Circus Arts.

Students enrolling in 2022/23 should be aware that their course may be registered independently with the National Centre. The courses will continue to be validated by the University of Kent and we will work closely with CDD to ensure there is no disruption to students during this period of transition. For more information please read CDD’s Statement on future direction.

Curriculum offered
  • Foundation Degree in Circus Arts (Level 5*): 2 years (more info)
  • BA (Hons) Degree in Circus Arts (Level 6*): 1 year (more info)

*Level descriptors as per the UK Regulated Qualifications Framework

Admission
  • Applicants must be 18 or over on entry.
  • Applicants will be able to demonstrate their intent to pursue professional employment in circus arts.
  • Applicants will be required to demonstrate a proficiency in both written and verbal English language. For the Foundation Degree in Circus Arts this would normally be GCSE English or equivalent International English Language Testing System. Overseas students may be required to take a Secure English Language Test (SELT) prior to entry in order to meet VISA requirements.
  • Applicants must fulfil parts 1 and 2 of the admissions process. If the applicant is from outside the UK or they are unable to attend an audition day they may request to submit a full video audition (instead of attending part 2), however, we recommend attending the live audition.
  • There are further entry requirements for BA (Hons) applicants. Please check our BA course page for more information.