Circus performers entertain audiences with displays of skills like acrobatics and clowning.

What does a circus performer do?

You may perform solo or as part of a group, specialising in one circus art, or basing your act around several different skills. You could perform with a traditional or modern circus company and use your skills in street theatre, festivals, or at parties and corporate events. You may even use your skills in other areas of performing arts like theatre, opera and feature films.

Performing is only one part of the work. You’ll also:

  • keep fit
  • rehearse
  • develop new acts
  • maintain equipment you use in your act
  • travel (if you are with a touring company)

You might also spend time promoting your act to agents and attending auditions to find work.

What do I need to do to become a circus performer?

You’ll need a high standard of ability in at least one circus art. Your talent and skills are more important than academic qualifications when you audition. You can learn circus skills in several ways, including:

  • part-time courses
  • community circuses
  • weekend and summer workshops
  • full-time professional courses
  • foundation degree and degree courses

You may have an advantage if you already have gymnastics and dance skills.

Studying towards a course can be useful especially if they include mime, dance, physical theatre skills or circus skills.

Related skills

  • Attention to detail
  • Creativity
  • Discipline
  • Patience
  • Physical fitness
  • Teamwork

Academic route

  • BA (Hons) Degree in Circus Arts

Vocational route

  • BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Circus Arts
  • Foundation Degree in Circus Arts

Related subjects

  • Drama, music, and performing arts

Where to find out more

Where could I be working?

You could be performing indoors or outdoors and the work is physically demanding. You may spend a long time away from home when touring.

Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0

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