Apply now!

Applications are now open for entry in September 2024.

MA in Directing  Circus

Our MA in Directing Circus is the first of its kind in the world. The MA has been developed to address a recognised need across the global circus community to create and support a new kind of performance director – one who is aware of the possibilities and challenges of using circus techniques in an artistic context.

As an MA student, you’ll engage in both group and independent learning. You’ll have the chance to work with world-leading professionals in the industry and debate the most recent developments in circus and physical theatre performance and direction.

The MA is offered in franchise parternship with Bath Spa University.

To apply you need to go directly through Bath Spa University. To do this, click: Apply Now


At Circomedia we are making a space that proposes to solve the tension between the demands of the industry and the need for research.

We feel that this role of ‘maker’, ‘outside eye’, ‘visionary’ or ‘guide’ is a vital figure in the circus creation process. It is a figure that can assist in addressing the question of ‘meaning production’ that sits between the circus artist and their waiting audience. As more and more circus work is being made, more and more there is a need for an art form that can reach people from all walks of life; to entertain, to pleasantly surprise, to challenge and to move not just the public who are used to seeing live work but also those who are not.


The course is open to potential makers of circus work, and we are not prescriptive in what forms a ‘good’ director of circus. There are always logistical challenges – we need space and time for circus to breathe, and this is also a financial question – but the field needs new work, and the course is designed to push you into new areas of making circus.

MAKING is the key word here and, rather than focus on established ideas of what a director should ‘look like’, the course is designed to allow for new encounters between a singular voice, an ensemble, and an audience.

It may be that you are a director who has mainly worked with dance or theatre, or visual arts, and want to deepen your work in an exciting new area. It may be that you are currently still a performer who wants to research how better to make work with others when your vision for circus is centralised as a proposal or provocation. It may be that you are a member of a circus ensemble or company who wants to likewise deepen their ability and voice within that existing group.

This may be an increasingly common situation, as circus artists band together to create ensemble work or form young companies. The glue needed to bind companies together needs development, and if you are the voice that naturally ends up leading the company artistically, you may wish to deepen your engagement with this role and deepen the artistic vision that binds your group to a particular artistic trajectory. In which case this MA is for you, through which, in some parts of the course, you could continue to devise with your chosen artists and return to your ensemble with new tools and new ideas and practices for making work. This could enhance your company’s productivity as well as enable yourself to clarify your vision in response to available funding streams.

Currently, the industry is home to many new companies, collectives, and ensembles, all with different desires to utilise circus ‘play’, physicality and forms to challenge the normative practices of making work. The course is open to those who may already be embedded in a company and who want to invest in a deep research dive into the practices of directing, curating and organising the production of new circus work at a professional level. Regardless of whether you intend to set up your group as a growing business or if you wish to engage with the current available funding streams, this MA will better prepare you to make work that is grounded in rigorous, logistically aware research practices and is also hopefully more aware of the discourses that influence and enclose the practices that might inform your future work.

You may wish to continue with your own performance practice in the work that you make, and you may even be certain that this personal practice forms an integral part of your creative intentions. You may be a graduate of a BA course in circus, still enjoying your circus practice but looking to deepen your activity as an author of physical work.

So, it may be that you have no intention of hanging up your hat as a performer. The point about the MA in directing is that we do not exclude performers from directing work in which they themselves are performing. You are welcome to explore the challenges and potentialities of being a circus body within an ensemble that you are leading. Performing in the pieces that you make only requires you to rationalise the complexities of being included in that which you are directing. This can be done with our support, and there plenty of examples of performer/directors in a range of fields. In many ways it makes sense that researching through your practice to source directorial means should place you within the performance itself.

Whether this be in the explicit role of narrator, raconteur, ring mistress or master, clown, stand-up, host, presenter, lecturer or public speaker in whatever role or mode of characterisation you choose to adopt, or, alternatively, whether you are a more embedded member of the company who is interested to more discreetly devise, organise, interpret, and lead the work, this course can accommodate your creativity.

Hours of study

This is a full time course and students can expect to study for 30-35 hours per week (contact time and individual study time).

Part time options are available on request.


The MA fees for 2022/23 are £7,715. You can apply for a Postgraduate Master’s loan of up to £11,570 to help you cover your costs.

Please see our FAQs section for more information.

What will you study on the MA?

The course offers students the chance to study a range of research methodologies, as well as the roles, strategies, and practical skills of directing for circus. We’ll encourage you to explore the need for directors to be both authors/originators and facilitators.

The course is split into five modules.

1. Research Methodologies and Context

You’ll work alongside students from other performing arts disciplines to develop a sophisticated understanding of, and ability to, research at postgraduate level. You will also learn about the historical, contemporary and geographical range of context for circus.

2. Circus Directing 1: Performer as Source

This practical module gives you the opportunity to explore a range of roles, responsibilities, and skills necessary to develop as a circus-based performance director, exploring the potential and limitations of the performer. You’ll learn about the roles required of a circus director including dramaturgy, choreography, and design. Below is an interview with graduate Courtney Prokopas talking about her experiences of this module.

3. Circus Directing 2: Director as Author

You’ll develop your directing skills with an in-depth project that shifts the emphasis from taught to independent learning. Working with undergraduate students, you’ll direct a circus-based act or performance piece to demonstrate your skills.

4. Professional Collaboration

This module encourages you to collaborate on a project with MA students in other performing arts fields or within a placement of your chosen professional company.

5. Final Project

Your thesis content is decided in partnership with your course tutors. It can be a written piece, a practical work or a combination of both. Previous work includes presentations about the students’ experiences, work-in-progress showings and more developed performances, for example 2018 graduate Meri-Maija Näykki’s piece ‘Disconnection’.

Placeholder Image

What our students say; access and participation statement

For more information about access and participation, and to hear what our students say about our courses, please view our statement here.

Entry requirements

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

We can only accept EU citizens who have settled or pre-settled status. So, if you were settled in the UK before midnight on the 31st January 2020 and applied for pre-settled status before 30 June 2021, you are eligible to apply for Circomedia.


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.

Apply now

To apply, simply click the link below!

Apply Now

We look forward to welcoming you on the course.

If you have any questions about applying for the MA, please email

A course shaping the future of circus

Let us dispel some common assumptions:

> This MA does not mean that you have to stop performing.

> This MA does not propose that there is one way of directing circus.

This MA is for creatives from a wide range of backgrounds, which includes practicing circus artists. It is also suitable for those who have worked as directors in other fields, from theatre to live or visual arts practices, and who are looking to engage with circus physicality, aesthetics, and discourses.

This MA is focused on the creation of circus work for all kinds of audiences and situations. It is this capacity for creating work that includes many approaches, including devising tools, research practices, choreography, dramaturgy, interpretation, organisation, scheduling, group politics, visual arts, interdisciplinarity, theatrical tension, storytelling, exploration of objects and equipment, film or digital arts and curation, as well as any other practices that may be relevant to reaching an audience with this dynamic and under-determined form.

Where will the MA take you?

On the MA, you will have the freedom to build upon your practice and research by developing a circus production from start to finish. As a result, you will become a more developed director, educator, scholar, and circus enthusiast, ready to take on the next exciting challenge of your career.

How do you fund the MA?

The MA fees for 2022/23 are £7715. You can apply for a Postgraduate Master’s loan of up to £11,570 to help you cover your costs. To find out more, email

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