The National Institute of Circus Arts (NICA) is Australia’s centre of excellence in contemporary circus. Under the auspices of Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, NICA is the only government-accredited institution that provides professional training in contemporary circus arts in Australia.

Each year over 60 young people study at NICA’s custom-built and award-winning facility with a steely determination to graduate with a Bachelor of Circus Arts degree from Swinburne University of Technology.

NICA’s captivating performances provide accessible entertainment of the highest calibre and consistently appeal to a large number of general public audiences.

NICA is supported by the Australian Government through the Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts and is one of the eight members of the Australian Roundtable for Arts Training Excellence, providing unique and high-level training for emerging artists.

NICA artists have performed in the opening and closing Commonwealth Games ceremonies and have won awards for Australia in prestigious international festivals in Wuhan (China), Paris and Moscow.

NICA Graduates

Graduates and selected professionals are represented by CircaNICA, Australia’s leading agency for professional circus performers. Graduates are employed by major circuses both internationally and within Australia. A number of graduates form their own new innovative circus companies.

Other courses offered by NICA include a range of recreational Short Courses.

NICA has Deductible Gift Recipient Status (DGR) and donations to NICA are tax deductible.

Curriculum offered
  • Bachelor of Circus Arts: Three-year training incorporating a Diploma of Circus Arts and an Advanced Diploma of Circus Arts.
  • Certificate III in Circus Arts offers students completing Year 11 or 12 the opportunity to combine circus training at NICA with secondary studies at the Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School. The course provides basic training in contemporary circus arts for students who wish to pursue a career as a circus performer.

Bachelor of Circus Arts

  • Prerequisite: The successful completion of Year 12 or equivalent is the minimum required educational qualification.
  • International students should have an IELTS result of 5.5-6. Refer to English Language Requirements for further information. NICA encourages applications from young people with backgrounds in areas such as circus, sports acrobatics, trampolining, diving, performing arts, dance, martial arts, gymnastics, extreme sport, street theatre or physical theatre.

Certificate III in Circus Arts

  • Prerequisite: The successful completion of Year 10 or equivalent is the minimum required educational qualification.
  • Students must plan to enter Year 11 or 12 in the upcoming school year.

Auditions are held in September for the following school year, in several cities in Australia. Applications forms, dates and venues details are available on NICA website. Applicants who cannot travel to audition venues can apply by DVD/video.

NICA has a brand new Audition Skills Guide video to help future students to apply and audition for 2020 entry into NICA's Bachelor or Certificate IV. See below