As a parent or guardian, you want the best for your child. You want to know that the course they study will help them develop as a well-rounded person with employable skills, while also giving them fun, valuable life experiences, and a great circle of supportive friends. You want to know the teachers they study under are world-leading and that they’ll graduate with amazing prospects to shine in the career of their choice.

At Circomedia, we offer all that to our students.

We’ve put together this handy FAQs list for parents and guardians, so that you can be confident that studying with Circomedia is right for your child.

What’s a Foundation Degree all about?

Our Foundation Degree in Contemporary Circus with Physical Theatre is a two-year course accredited by Bath Spa University. It encourages students to develop as a well-rounded performer. The course allows students to learn a variety of circus disciplines; including aerial, manipulation, acro and much more. There’s a real emphasis on encouraging students to combine circus skills with physical theatre. You can read more about our approach to physical theatre on our blog.

We believe that physical theatre takes students and performers beyond orthodox circus and encourages experimentation and performance with an intellectual dimension. It provides students with the opportunity to use the body to tell emotional stories.

The Foundation Degree is very much focused on giving students the chance to try out a range of disciplines before specialising. There is a written-work element, and students must choose research topics and complete essays. Students will also have the chance to perform their own devised work at our spectacular venue in St Pauls, Bristol.

After successfully completing the two-year course, students can apply for a third ‘top-up’ year and graduate with a BA Hons degree. Some students choose to take this option, however others feel that after finishing the Foundation they are ready to pursue a career in circus and physical theatre.

How do students fund their studies?

Fees for the course are set at £9,200 per annum, in line with most other degree courses in England and Wales. Students are entitled to a student loan from the Student Loan Company. The loan covers their fees and living costs, and is paid back after they earn over a specific threshold.

Some students take on a part-time job to help fund their living costs during their studies, however as this is an intense course with a lot of teaching contact time this can be difficult to maintain. Other students earn money via performance opportunities during the holidays.

Hardship funds and specific grants are available to students who are struggling financially.

Where do students live?

We have a limited number of student houses on our Kingswood site that are rented out by the Creative Youth Network. However we tend to prioritise BTEC students (who often come to study with us aged 16) or overseas students.

Students are therefore encouraged to rent privately. As Bristol is a big student city (Bristol University and UWE are both in the city, then Bath and Bath Spa are nearby), there’s plenty of student accommodation available.

Many of our students live in house shares together. This encourages a really good sense of community between our students who tend to support one another, practise together, and collaborate on practical things like lift shares. Student rents in Kingswood and nearby towns/suburbs like Warmley tend to be a lot cheaper than houses in the city centre.

How do students apply?

As the course is accredited to Bath Spa University, students need to apply through UCAS. Although the normal UCAS deadline is 15 January, this deadline does not apply to our FDA and therefore applications are still open. The course code is W900. Students will need to write a personal statement detailing their relevant experience and why they want to study with us.

If their application is successful, we will invite them to an audition. Our audition dates are 29 April 2017 and 29 June 2017. Information about the audition can be found in the welcome packs.

In order to apply for the course, students need a minimum of three D grades at A-level, or a merit and two passes from a BTEC extended diploma. They will also need to demonstrate an interest or experience in circus and physical theatre, as well as have a good grasp of written and spoken English.

What do Circomedia students go on to do?

Our alumni have taken many different paths. Some, like Circomedia teachers Cat Booth, Sebastien Valade and Rachel Pollard go on to teach circus while setting up their own companies and performing. Others set up their own companies and tour the world, such as Charlotte Mooney from Ockham’s Razor. Others go into more traditional theatre, including some students who left us to join the RSC, or pursue a career in stand-up comedy. Many of our students join circus companies, and you will find Circomedia alumni in companies as diverse as No Fit State or Vikki & Webe. Those that don’t join companies work as freelancers – performing at corporate events, cabaret shows, festivals, and on TV.

Then there are students who have decided to pursue totally different careers, using the ‘soft skills’ they develop throughout their studies to pursue careers in the arts, teaching – even horticulture.

What non-circus skills do students develop on the course?

We are dedicated not just to transforming our students into well-rounded performers, but well-rounded individuals too.

Learning with us encourages students to practise self-discipline, independent learning, teamwork, project management and time management. Written work gives them the chance to learn how to research and analyse a topic of their choice. They also have a chance to learn about marketing and promotion, IT, and health and wellbeing.

If you have any other questions about the course and studying with Circomedia, email us at [email protected]

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