National Institute of Circus Arts (NICA)

National Institute of Circus Arts (NICA)

39-59 Green Street
VIC 3181

03 9214 6975



Bachelor of Circus Arts : 3 years full time
Certificate IV in Circus Arts : 1 year full time
NICA equips students with the skills, networks and knowledge to establish a career on the world stage of circus and physical theatre through immersive and experiential practice-based studies in contemporary circus arts. It is the highest level of accredited circus training in Australia and NICA is a world leader in circus education and training.
Within NICA's world-class facilities, a supportive faculty of talented artists and practitioners teach an innovative curriculum to instill technical excellence and to enable each creative artist to flourish. Students get to develop their performance skills in a variety of settings within NICA's unique suite of performance venues, which combine large-scale, professionally equipped spaces with more intimate studios.
Main Subjects
Circus arts specialisations in 1-2 apparatus or disciplines; performance and movement studies including: ensemble performance and technical aspects of circus production; and academic subjects in: anatomy and biomechanics; history and culture of circus arts; the business of circus; the contemporary circus industry; and music and circus.
Practical Classes
Circus Skills: Circus basics - tumbling, handstands, flexibility, strength and conditioning, aerial, juggling, balance and partner work. Circus group acts - Adagio, Group Juggling, Hoop-Diving, Teeterboard and many more. Circus specialties including Static and Swinging Trapeze, Tissu, Rope, Handstands, Tightwire, Contortion, Chinese Pole, German Wheel, Rolla Bolla, Juggling, Meteors, Hula-Hoops, Clowning and many more. Fitness, strength and conditioning for circus performers.
Industry Skills: Rigging, equipment and safety in the circus environment. OH&S hazards and risks in industry. Basic anatomy, physiology, nutrition and sports psychology.
Performance skills: Act creation, foundational character, improvisation, clown, theatrical and circus styles studies. Ballet, contemporary and contact improv movement studies.
Contact Hours
20 - 40 hours per week
Training scheduled between 8.30am and 6pm Monday to Friday.
Year 10 or equivalent for Certificate IV in Circus Arts. Year 12 or equivalent for the Bachelor of Circus Arts.
Applicants should have a background in performing arts, physical theatre, youth circus, dance, acrobatic sports, or gymnastics.
Head of Circus: James Brown.
Course co-ordinators: Martine Howard (3rd year), Alexander Gullan (2nd year), Emily Hughes (1st year), Hannah Trott (Certificate IV), Linda Sastradipradja (Dance & Movement) and Katie Cawthorne (Performance Studies).
See all trainers here:
Auditions Date
Applications close 25 August 2023. Auditions via invitation commence late September 2023.
In-person auditions are held at NICA in Prahran, Melbourne. Video auditions are accepted for
international students, as well as interstate and regional Australian students.
Audition Requirements
Application, audition, interview, physiotherapy assessment and year 10 or 12 or equivalent (depending on the course).
View our audition guide for a full breakdown of skill assessments:
See Swinburne University website for current fees:
FEE-HELP is available for eligible full-fee paying higher education students to help pay part or all of their tuition fees.
Scholarship or Subsidies
NICA students can access scholarships, services and assistance available to Swinburne University students, including assistance with housing.
See the Swinburne University website for more information:
Possible Career Options
NICA training can lead to work in contemporary circus, traditional circus, social circus, stunt work, corporate entertainment, festivals, directing, teaching,
freelance work and other sectors of the arts industry. NICA graduates have worked with companies such as Cirque du Soleil, Circa, Circus Oz, Cavalia,
Dragone, Carnival Australia and NOFIT State Circus. Many graduates have started up their own successful circus and physical theatre companies.

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