Circus performers entertain audiences with their skills in trapeze, tightrope, acrobatics, juggling, fire breathing and clowning.
They may be attached to a circus or use their skills in street theatre, festivals, corporate events and parties. Circuses can be traditional or contemporary as well as large scale touring companies or community-based. Some performers are part of physical theatre companies where their skills are valuable.
In touring circuses the work will involve travelling with the show from town to town, setting up their act, and maintaining equipment.
In addition to performing, all performers spend a number of hours rehearsing, perfecting skills and developing new acts.
Hours of work vary, with performances during the daytime and evening, at weekends and on public holidays. Performers may work part-time, just at weekends, or seasonally.
The work is physically demanding, with a lot of time spent travelling and rehearsing . It can be either indoors or outside, in a variety of different conditions. Traditionally performances take place in a tent/big top environment, but may also be in other locations such as arts venues, community settings, hotels or in the street and other outdoor areas. In some cases circus performers may be used for corporate events like Christmas parties.
Some large circuses travel all over the world, smaller ones travel around the country or region. Solo performers and physical theatre companies may also travel, both nationally and internationally.
To be a circus performer you should:
Work may be short-term or seasonal, and performers will often be on the books of one or more specialised agencies. Details of some of these are on the Circus Arts Forum website.
Advancement usually comes in the form of increased bookings, earnings and success. Some performers become instructors or move into other areas of performing arts.
If you would like to know anything about Circus Performer that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.
Circus Arts Forum
19 Great Guildford Street
Tel: 020 7401 8866
The Academy of Circus Arts
Tel: 07050 282624
Tel: 0117 947 7288
The Circus Space
Tel: 020 7613 4141
Total Theatre Network
The Power Station
Tel: 020 7729 7944
National Association of Youth Circuses
C/o Skylight Circus Arts
Tel: 01706 650676