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National Institute of Circus Arts (NICA)
Established 1995
Location Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Campus Urban
Affiliations Swinburne University of Technology, Member of Australian Roundtable for Arts Training Excellence

The National Institute of Circus Arts (NICA) is the only government-accredited institution that provides professional training in contemporary circus arts in Australia [1]. It is a subsidiary of Swinburne University of Technology [2] and is based at the university's Prahran campus.

NICA is a registered cultural organisation and a member of the Australian Roundtable for Arts Training Excellence [3]. Many of its graduates have gone on to work in a range of international and national circus companies, including Circus Oz and Cirque du Soleil.



NICA was established in 1995 by Swinburne University of Technology. The first course, a Diploma of Circus Arts, began in 1999 with eight participants from an unrenovated warehouse at Docklands. In 2001 the first Bachelor of Circus Arts course was offered with 23 students entering the course and the first degrees being conferred in 2003.[2] In 2005, the institute moved into a new $10 million NICA National Circus Centre constructed at the Prahran campus of Swinburne University. The centre was funded jointly by the Australian Government, Swinburne and the Pratt Foundation. [4]


Its core training offering is a three-year Bachelor of Circus Arts. The institute also offers a Diploma of Circus Arts and Advanced Diploma of Circus Arts, along with a number of workshops and short courses. [5]

In 2010, NICA will be offering a Certificate III in Circus Arts for students combining their circus training with their final two years of secondary school. The academic provider will be the VCA Secondary School. NICA will also offer Certificate IV in Circus Arts, a one year program in basic Circus Skills, suitable for school leavers (18+).[6]


  1. ^ "Circus in Australia" (html). Australia's Culture Portal. Retrieved 2009-02-18.  
  2. ^ a b "History of NICA" (html). National Institute of Circus Arts. Retrieved 2009-02-18.  
  3. ^ Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (2008-09-15). "Arts training bodies" (html). Retrieved 2008-10-03.  
  4. ^ "Facilities" (html). National Institute of Circus Arts. Retrieved 2009-02-18.  
  5. ^ "Bachelor of Circus Arts" (html). National Institute of Circus Arts. Retrieved 2009-02-18.  
  6. ^

See also

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