I Want To Learn Circus – Part 2: Circus in the UK

Many people these days want to learn circus, whether it’s just for fun or fitness, or professionally because they want to be a performer.

Regardless of why you want to learn circus, the circus arts are a fantastic set of skills to have and to learn. Training in circus skills is great for strength, flexibility, stamina, dexterity and coordination, and is also incredibly social. Circus skills are used to develop physical, mental and social skills in young children are used around the world as a tool for social change with disadvantaged youth.

Depending on your age, experience and your intention (do you want to be a professional performer or do you just want to do it for fun/fitness?) there are many skills you can learn and lots of places you can learn them.

Through this short series of posts I’ll direct you to a variety of places where you can learn them. Rather than trying to list every place or circus company in the world that offers circus skills training (which I’m pretty sure would be close to impossible) I’m going to try to point you in the right direction. If you can’t find anything on your doorstep, get in touch with something in your region and they can probably tell you about more local groups.

Following on from Learning Circus – Part 1: London, I thought you’d probably be interested in some places to train circus skills outside London, around the UK. So if you’re not in London and want to learn circus skills either professionally or for fun and fitness read on…

Because of the huge number of circus (and circus-related groups around the UK, eg. juggling clubs) I’ve listed the groups that a) I knew of before starting to write this post b) are active in the professional circus community or c) active in the UK youth circus community. I’m sure I’ll have missed someone, and I mean no offence by it.

I’ve also tried to be as accurate as possible but I can’t promise that everything here is 100% accurate. If I got something wrong about you, I apologise. Please let me know and I’ll correct it. To cover my own ass I’m not vouching for any of the following schools, groups, classes or organisations. I’m just letting you know what I know about. As ever you should check them out for yourself.

Photo by Claude Fisicaro

Circus in the UK

Circomedia – Bristol’s big circus school

Circomedia (which was Fooltime many years ago) is probably the second biggest circus school in England and offer professional, full-time training as well as adult and youth classes.

Skylight Circus Arts – Circus in Rochdale

Just outside Manchester, Skylight offer plenty of circus classes, courses and workshops for adults and young people.

Greentop – Sheffield’s circus school

Based in an old church, Greentop offer full-time training as well as youth and adult classes.

No Fit State Circus – Circus in Wales

No Fit State have been producing contemporary British circus since 1986. No Fit State offer a range of classes and workshops for all ages and abilities.

The Academy of Circus Arts – Traditional touring circus training

The ACA is a 5-month full-time training course where you live and travel with a circus.

Rotherham Youth Circus – Yorkshire Youth Circus

RYC is run by  Swamp Circus once a week. Swamp ho have been around since 1986 and also provide performers and teachers for all sorts of events, including team building evens and workshops for schools.

Circo Kerno – Swamp in Cornwall

Swamp Circus’ Cornwall arm run workshops and classes in a variety of circus skills throughout the week.

Organised Kaos – Fire in Wales

Organised Kaos started from a project to Keep Adolescents Off the Streets and are now a youth circus specialising in fire. As far as I’m aware they’re the only one (at least in the UK) to do that. Obviously they do things without fire too!

Playbox Theatre – Warwick’s Theatre Circus

Playbox run circus classes a couple of times a week and from what I’ve seen have an excellent aerial training programme.

Let’s Circus – Tyneside

These guys run all sort of classes and events up north, including Stockton and Newcastle.

Blackpool Circus School – Circus on the Pier

Blackpool circus school run classes for ages 7+ as well as workshops for schools and groups.

The Circus Project – Circus in Hove actually

Children, adults, amateurs and professionals can all get their fix here.

Belfast Community Circus – It’s in Belfast

They run all sorts of classes and workshops for adults and kids alike.


I know there are areas, groups and organisations that I’ve missed. You could try searching the Circus Development Agency’s website for more local groups. I don’t know how up to date their database is but you can find it here.

Have fun learning!!

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