The Foundation Degree

Our next FDA/Degree Digital Open Day is in November 2021. If you have any questions right now, please email us at

Foundation Degree in Contemporary Circus with Physical Theatre

We’re one of only two places in the UK to offer circus education at degree level. Circomedia’s undergraduate programme is split into a two-year Foundation Degree and a BA (Hons) top-up year. The Foundation Degree (FDA) is aimed at students aged 18 or over who wish to develop as well-rounded circus-theatre performers. It’s your chance to try out a range of circus and physical theatre disciplines, before specialising further in an area of your choice.

“I can’t really overstate how much Circomedia has done for me… Most of what is rich and interesting in my life now is a direct result of all [their] hard work. Thank you Circomedia!”

– Robin Boon Dale, circus performer and director
Act Festival Prize winner (BE Festival 2017)

Get to know the Foundation Degree

Hopefully the following information will answer most of your questions about studying on the FDA with us. However, if you have any more questions, please drop us an email on

What will you study?

The Foundation Degree begins with a six-week introduction to aerial, acrobatics and juggling. After this introductory period students specialise in two of these skill areas alongside classes in physical theatre, movement, fitness and conditioning, contextual studies and critical thinking. At the end of the first term students work alongside the Masters students to develop a large ensemble show performed at our city centre venue. Other performance opportunities include: the Spring and Summer Projects which are solo and duo pieces allowing students to explore the integration of circus and physical theatre for the first time; Street Theatre shows at local and national events (see video below); and a directed End of Year production.

In the second year of the course students specialise in more detail as they receive intensive teaching in just one discipline. They also explore performance styles such as clowning, burlesque, stand-up comedy and live art in the Stylistic Forms module. Essential employability skills are developed as students learn how to produce a business plan, an online portfolio and showreel. The year ends with the Ensembles; longer and more developed pieces of devised work in small groups performed to a public audience at Portland Square.

Students who successfully complete the FDA can apply for a third top-up year to achieve a full BA (Hons). BA students expand and explore their skills with practical research in their chosen discipline and develop a repertoire of acts, each for a different audience. The second term begins with the development of a full-length ensemble show that tours venues in the UK such as Jackson’s Lane in London and Déda in Derby. Below is a quick snapshot of 2019’s touring show entitled ‘Out Of The Loop‘. The BA year culminates with the Final Major Project; a self-devised solo or duo performance that pulls together everything students have learnt during their three years at Circomedia.

“If you’re looking for a space where you can really experiment, push your boundaries and take circus in any new direction, then Circomedia really supports that.”

-Iona, BTEC & BA graduate

What do you need?

You must have a minimum of three D grades at A Level or MMP from a BTEC Extended Diploma (Level 3). You will also need to demonstrate a good level of fitness and show a commitment to an understanding of theatre, circus and performance. If English is not your first language then you will need IELTS at Level 6 or an equivalent qualification.

If you don’t meet the qualification criteria, don’t panic! You may be eligible to apply for Accredited Prior Learning. Bath Spa advise that older applicants with three years worth of practical, full time experience can use that experience in lieu of academic qualifications. This is ideal for applicants aged 21 or over who don’t hold a Level 3 but who have been working in the industry for three or more years. For more information please email

Course Fees

Course fees are £9250 (per a year) and you can apply for a Student Loan, including a maintenance loan for living costs (see Fees & Funding below). We also ask students to make an annual materials fee payment of £100.

British Citizens

Please bear in mind that at this stage, we can only accept students from within the UK, or that have British Citizenship. Therefore, if you have dual citizenship with a country in the UK, you can apply for this course.

EU Citizens

Unfortunately, we are unable to accept EU students onto our courses at the moment, because of Brexit. EU students are now considered international students, and we do not currently have the relevant VISA status to accept international applicants.

However, we can accept those who are eligible to apply for settled or pre-settled status. So, if you were settled in the UK before midnight on the 31st January 2020, we can accept you. See for further details. The deadline to apply is 30 June 2021.

Irish Citizens

The government has clarified that Irish citizens are exempt from the UK’s points-based immigration system, and there will be no change to the arrangements for the Common Travel Area. Therefore, if you are an Irish National, you may still apply to Circomedia.

What do you get?

If you pass the course you’ll be awarded a Foundation Degree, accredited by Bath Spa University. You can then apply to take a top-up year with us and be awarded a BA (Hons) degree.

Where will the Foundation Degree take you?

Many of our graduates have gone on to professional performance careers, forming their own companies. Examples of this include Ockham’s Razor, Green Eyed Zero and Can’t Sit Still. Graduates also develop solo careers, devising original work for theatre, street performance or the corporate market to name just a few possibilities. You might be like 2016 graduate Robin Dale and adapt a piece you’ve already created for Circomedia. Robin developed his FMP, ‘What Does Stuff Do?’, into an award-winng act before taking it on tour nationally and internationally.

Others have brought the skills they developed as performers to teach the next generation of Circomedia students. Not all of our graduates have stayed in circus – some have gone on to more formal theatre training and joined the RSC, while others have taken the step into stand-up comedy or cabaret.

You can learn more about where Circomedia can take you by reading about our alumni.

Where will you train?

You’ll train at our fully kitted-out Kingswood campus five days a week. Our spaces include two large aerial studios, a gymnasium, a beautiful dance studio and two theatre spaces. You’ll also have the opportunity to perform at St Pauls Church, giving you experience of working in a professional venue with a dedicated technical team.

“Circomedia is very generous with its training space! The opportunities to train outside of class are amazing!

– Emma Saunders, Circomedia graduate

The Kingswood studios are open until 10pm every weekday and 6pm at weekends, with priority access given to our students. Although spaces are shared with Professional Members and artists in residence, we ensure there’s still plenty of room for students to train. Studios are even open during holidays, including the 12-week summer break.

A smiling circus performer balances on a partners shoulder during an acro workshop
Acro workshop with Joli Vyann in the Kingswood gym

Fees and funding

Although we can accept international students who have dual nationality with an EU country, fee status and eligibility for student funding may be different. A student who has not been resident in the EU for three years prior to the course start date may be deemed an international student for fee status and charged accordingly. Please speak to Circomedia to confirm.

To be eligible for funding from Student Finance EU or Student Finance UK, you’ll need to have been living in the EU or UK for a certain amount of time. Please contact Student Finance directly to check eligibility.

Applications for the FDA and BA courses are still open for this academic year until all places have been filled. If you are interested in applying to start in September 2021 please do so! We look forward to receiving your application. If you would like to find out more about the course or how to apply, then please get in touch with our admissions team at

Any questions? Take a look at our FAQs or email us at

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