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 Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communication 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 NICA Represents, 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: aims to produce graduates with a broad body of knowledge and skills through immersive and experiential practice-based studies in contemporary circus arts. An intense student-centred approach to learning through the conservatoire model seeks to enable students to develop the knowledge and abilities necessary to become confident and autonomous circus arts practitioners.. Work Integrated Learning is a guaranteed part of all our bachelor degrees. In the unit Capstone Ensemble Show, you'll work with a world-class guest Director to develop an ensemble show for public performance.

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  • Certificate IV in Circus Arts provides an introductory experience into high performance circus arts training, and will equip students with the knowledge and skills to enter preliminary level circus and physical theatre, and to audition for the Bachelor of Circus Arts.

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Entry into NICA requires an application via Swinburne University of Technology page - followed by audition, interview and medical assessment.

Bachelor of Circus Arts

  • Prerequisite: The successful completion of Year 12 or equivalent is the minimum required educational qualification.
  • International students need to meet the minimum English language and academic requirements for this course. For more information on approved English tests and entry scores check “Entry Requirements | International Students | Swinburne University | Melbourne, Australia”. 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 IV in Circus Arts

  • Prerequisite: The successful completion of Year 12 or equivalent is the minimum required educational qualification. International students need to meet the minimum English language and academic requirements.

Auditions are held in September and October 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 an Audition Skills Guide video to help future students to apply and audition for 2023 entry into NICA's Bachelor or Certificate IV. See below.

Further information can be found via: