Circus leaps forward as Culture Minister Ed Vaizey officially launches the UK’s
National Centre for Circus Arts
- In recognition of 25 years of excellence as Britain’s most significant Circus organisation Circus Space has been renamed the National Centre for Circus Arts
- Congratulations on achieving National Centre status from industry leaders including Stephen Daldry, Lord Sebastian Coe and Boris Johnson
- Transforming lives through Circus: As the only place where it is possible to earn a BA (Hons) degree in Circus in the UK, the National Centre has almost 100% employment record for graduates
- Bringing Circus home: The National Centre for Circus Arts is connected to 90% of the 71 circus companies in the UK that have been reinventing Circus as you know it
- The National Centre for Circus Arts, Coronet St, London
The National Centre for Circus Arts (formerly known as Circus Space) is being officially opened today (Tuesday 11 March 2014), helping to re-define the Circus industry in the UK.
The launch of the National Centre is a pivotal moment for Britain’s cultural industry and is recognition of the achievement of the organisation to date. Over the past 25 years they have trained more than 50,000 people in Circus Arts and receiving the new title is an accolade that reflects the vital role they play in championing Circus in Britain.
At the launch, which is being officially led by Culture Minister Ed Vaizey, the organisation will announce ambitious plans for the future of Britain’s’ Circus industry through their ongoing support for Britain’s Circus companies as they aspire to create British Circus to rival leading international organisations such as Cirque du Soleil – a company that is worth more than a billion dollars. The National Centre for Circus Arts is at the heart of a network of organisations across the UK that are creating a “Culture of Circus,” it provides an unparalleled launch-pad for some of the world’s best performers through the outstanding training programmes, funding schemes and support network it provides. Of the 71 practicing circus companies in the UK, the National Centre is involved with more than 90%.
The registered charity received congratulations from industry leaders from across the arts and official government bodies.
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey said:
“Our creative industries are worth £8 million an hour to the UK economy and circus arts make a valuable contribution to this. The National Centre for Circus Arts will have a huge role to play not only in training circus companies and artists around the country, but also in nurturing future talent through their Youth Circus activities. I hope the launch of the National Centre will encourage more people to look at the amazing, creative ideas and projects that stem from circus arts in the UK.”
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said:
'Most people are probably unaware that modern circus was invented in London in the late 18th century by a chap called Philip Astley. It is a constantly evolving tradition and Circus Space has been the ringmaster for the last 25 years, developing the skills of some of the best circus performers, aerialists and acrobats in the world. I'm thrilled it is to become the National Centre for Circus Arts and know it will soar to even greater heights.'
Joint CEO’s Kate White and Jane Rice Bowen said:
“Circus around the world has re-invented itself over the past 25 years and we are incredibly proud to have been recognised as the Centre of Britain’s circus industry. We are a long way from most people understanding that Circus is not just about big tricks and moments of spectacle (although it remains particularly deft at these things), it can be delicate, subtle and beautiful as well as brave, thrilling and downright scary. It can speak directly of the human condition and our desire to push ourselves to the absolute limit yet conquer death, as well as being funny, sexy and clever.
Circus in Britain will continue to evolve as an art form as it has done in Canada, in Europe and Australia and today marks the industry’s next leap forward. We pride ourselves not only on the strength of our graduates but also our connection with the circus profession and proven accessibility record with students coming from all walks of life. Through our National Youth Circus events we are always on the look out for the next generation and look forward to an exciting future of circus in Britain.”
The National Centre is one of the best circus schools in the world and is the only place in the UK where it is possible to earn a BA (Hons) degree in Circus Arts. It is proud to announce that it has achieved a near 100% record for student employment post-graduation. 93% of all alumni from the National Centre for Circus Arts are still working in the industry three years after graduating. Companies who have employed recent graduates include the Royal Shakespeare Company, NoFit State, Cirque Du Soleil, The Roundhouse, The British Library, Les 7 Doigts de la Main, Cirque Eloize and National Theatre. Although there has always been a diverse mix in international and domestic students participating in training programmes, the organisation has seen a sharp rise in British students in recent years. Auditions for a place on their degree programme take place in May every year and the public can see Circus’ hottest young talent by watching the BA degree shows in spring and summer. It is also possible for the public to try Circus at the centre’s main hub in the old Shoreditch Electric Light Station in Hoxton, London. Here they have the opportunity to train alongside professional artists at their hugely popular experience days.
Lord Sebastian Coe Said:
“I am delighted that Circus Space has achieved the recognition it so well deserves as the new National Centre for Circus Arts. The organisation did a terrific job for LOCOG in 2012 when they created and delivered a unique training programme for fifty deaf and disabled artists who were at the heart of the Paralympic Games Opening Ceremony.”
Stephen Daldry OBE, Film Director said:
“It is terrific to see that Circus Space is taking on the challenge of being a National Centre for Circus Arts. This will allow the amazing work they do in this dynamic art form to take its rightful place in the UK’s cultural landscape. Having worked with Circus Space during the Olympic year here in London I am delighted to see their hard work, creativity, can do attitude and keen ambition being recognised in this way.
As a retired circus performer myself I am particularly proud that Britain can now boast of a National Centre to promote and train this constantly emerging art form.”
Notes to Editors
Twitter: @NationalCircus #NationalCircus
To download a full press pack please follow this link:
The press pack includes:
- Endorsement quotes from Ed Vaizey MP, Boris Johnson, Stephen Daldry, Lord Sebastian Coe, Paul Cockle, Jenny Sealey, Edward Kemp
- Key statistics about the National Centre for Circus Arts’ involvement in the Circus industry in the UK
- Upcoming Circus performances around the country for 2014
- A Q&A on the National Centre for Circus Arts
Jack Hickmott or Tori Dance
020 7221 7883
The National Centre for Circus Arts
Head of Marketing & Communications
020 7613 8257
020 7613 8270
About the National Centre for Circus Arts
Founded in 1989 as “Circus Space”, The National Centre for Circus Arts is one of the best circus schools in the world and it is at the heart of a network of Circus organisations that are leading the renaissance of Circus in the UK. The organisation champions and supports excellence in Circus Arts in the UK and around the world and is helping to change the perception of circus in the UK by providing an unparalleled launch-pad for present and future performers with over 40 circus companies accessing studio time and funding through the National Centre for Circus Arts.
From the age of two with no upper limit, the National Centre trains over 700 people each week and over the past 25 years has trained over 50,000 students through their courses, classes and workshops across all programme areas including Higher and Further Education, professional artist training workshops and tuition, recreational courses and classes for adults and young people, business and team building workshops and experience days. The National Centre for Circus Arts is the only place where it is possible to receive a BA (Hons) degree in Circus Arts. More than 80 students a week train on their Further & Higher Education programmes. The school is an affiliate of the Conservatoire for Dance and Drama and degree awards are validated by the University of Kent.
The National Centre for Circus Arts educates all students in a safe environment in which they can learn how to manage risk while taking creative and artistic leaps of faith. Every student is trained by highly skilled educators within a framework that upholds health and safety best practice. A degree in Circus Arts from the National Centre for Circus Arts offers more than just training in performance, students are also provided with training in business and career development so that they can establish a fruitful and fulfilling life as an artist.
The National Centre has a proven track record for producing some of the world’s finest circus performers through its degree level programmes. 93% of all graduates from the National Centre for Circus Arts are still working in the industry three years after graduating. Companies who have employed recent graduates include the Royal Shakespeare Company, NoFit State, Cirque Du Soleil, The Roundhouse, The British Library, Les 7 Doigts de la Main, Cirque Eloize and National Theatre. Nearly 100 specialist performers from the Olympic and Paralympic Ceremonies trained at the National Centre for Circus Arts.
The National Centre for Circus Arts is a registered charity housed in the Shoreditch Electric Light Station. Originally an electricity generating station built in 1896, the site was rescued from dereliction in 1992 and, following extensive restoration and reconstruction, reopened as Circus Space – helping to kickstart Shoreditch’s regeneration. The National Centre for Circus Arts has retained the original names for areas in the building with the two largest training rooms called the Combustion and Generating Chambers.
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