Good news for UK Circus Arts as Arts Council England announce funding
decisions for next three years

  • 11 circus companies will benefit from Arts Council National Portfolio funding for the next three years
  • Liverpool’s Wired Aerial Theatre are a new circus organisation to be made a National Portfolio Organisation
  • A new record of £5,209,506 has been pledged to the UK Circus industry by Arts Council England
  • News comes in a year of positive developments for the Circus sector in the UK following the launch of the National Centre for Circus Arts in March
  • Comment from grateful recipients of funding

Many Circus organisations around the UK received good news this morning with several seeing improved or standstill funding for the Arts Council’s National Portfolio programme being awarded to them for the next three years. Today’s announcements are another recognition of the value of the circus sector to the UK. Culture Minister Ed Vaizey MP launched the National Centre for Circus Arts earlier this year.

Organisations who received standstill funding include the National Centre for Circus Arts, Circomedia (Bristol) Crying Out Loud (London), UPSWING (London), Mimbre (London), Ockham’s Razor (London) and Jackson’s Lane (London), Greentop Circus (Sheffield), NoFit State Circus (Cardiff), Albert & Friends Instant Circus (London). Wired Aerial Theatre, based in Liverpool, are a new National Portfolio Organisation and have received £495,000 over three years.

The National Centre for Circus Arts, who are connected to more than 60 of the UK’s contemporary circus companies providing vital support to new work and performers received £1,025,601. Jane Rice-Bowen and Kate White, Joint Chief Executives said: “We are tremendously grateful to the Arts Council for their continued support for the National Centre for Circus Arts and Circus in the UK more widely. This is yet another reflection of the hard work and determination of the sector and it is fantastic to see our art form moving from strength to strength. We are seeing more people around the country watching circus than ever before and the work that is being produced by British companies is truly rivalling our international counterparts.”

UPSWING, a London based Circus Company received standstill funding. Camille Bensoussan, Executive Director, said: "This has been a tough round of decisions. We are very pleased the Arts Council England has recognised the work we have been doing by keeping Upswing as part of the National Portfolio.  We welcome the continuing support to both Upswing and the circus sector and will endeavour, through our work, to make a lasting impact on the resilience, creativity and diversity of circus arts in the UK."

Mimbre, an International touring company based in London received standstill funding. Emma Forster, Executive Director said: “Mimbre are incredibly proud to have been offered continued support by Arts Council England as a National Portfolio Organisation. We’ve got plans for bigger, more exciting and more innovative acrobatic theatre by women, and the support and recognition of ACE will help us to achieve that. In the coming years you will see us performing in flats and houses, circus tents, warehouses and on street corners and you will also have increasing opportunities to see the great skill and dedication of our youth groups from housing estates in Hackney.

“We want to thank Arts Council England in the face of incredibly difficult decisions. The cuts that have unfortunately had to be announced today are part of a suite of measures by our government that are doing nothing but making our society more unequal and our lives less bright. We hope to use our funding to reach beyond social, financial and cultural boundaries, to go some way towards bringing in some light.”

Jacksons Lane, based in London received standstill funding. Artistic Director Adrian Berry said:"Jacksons Lane is delighted to rejoin the National Portfolio and receive a further 3 years of core funding in order to further develop its artistic and educational support for circus artists and the development of new audiences for the contemporary circus sector, the fastest growing artform in the world"

Ockham’s Razor, a touring circus company based in London received standstill funding. Charlotte Mooney, Director, said: “We are very happy to hear that Ockham's Razor has been successful in its bid for National Portfolio funding. We appreciate this continued support from ACE which will enable us to keep developing this vibrant and innovative art form. We are very conscious that many other arts organisations will not have been successful in their applications and will be losing their livelihoods today, ACE has had their hands tied by continued cuts to the arts and has had some very difficult decisions to make. As one of the companies afforded funding we take our responsibilities seriously to continue to make excellent art and to use this money to feed into the wider arts ecology.”

- END -

Notes to Editors

Twitter: @NationalCircus #NationalCircus
Instagram: @NationalCircus

Press contacts

Kallaway PR
Jack Hickmott or Tori Dance
020 7221 7883

The National Centre for Circus Arts
Head of Marketing & Communications
Philip Nichols
020 7613 8257
Communications Manager
Jessica Ziebland
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. It 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.