2021 entry

Applications for our Foundation Degree and BA (Hons) Degree courses are now open for September 2021 entry. 

Deadline for applications: 15 March 2021, 1pm.

How to apply

  1. Apply directly through our website via the application form 
  2. Pay the £25 application fee. Fee waivers are available
  3. Once we have received your application form and payment, we will invite you to a one-day audition  

Application fee waivers

We are able to offer a number of application fee waivers to UK applicants from low-income backgrounds that may not otherwise be able to make an application. For further information about eligibility and how to apply please visit the Conservatoire for Dance and Drama website


We are hopeful that our auditions will be able to go ahead at the National Centre for Circus Arts building in 2021. However, if due to coronavirus they cannot, alternative arrangements will be put in place and applicants will be required to audition via video. To help prepare for this scenario, we advise applicants to start gathering video material, such as training or circus discipline footage.

About the auditions

Auditions for September 2021 entry will be held on:

  • Monday 29 March 2021
  • Tuesday 30 March 2021
  • Wednesday 31 March 2021
  • Thursday 1 April 2021 

Applicants must participate in an audition process, which is by invitation only once you have submitted your application form and application fee payment. We advise you not to make travel arrangements until you have been formally invited to an audition.

Video auditions

If you are based outside of the UK or are unable to attend one of the scheduled audition dates, you can apply to audition via video once you have submitted your application form. Video audition requests will be based on individual circumstance. 

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What to expect on the day

Over the course of the day, candidates will follow working sessions similar to classes held on the programme. After the presentations, the audition panel will assess which candidates are to continue to Stage Two of the audition process.

Indicative schedule

An indicative schedule of the audition is as follows (order and times may vary):

Stage 1

08.30 – 08.45  Arrive, sign in and collect your audition number 

08:50 – 09.05  Meet with the audition panel

09:05 - 10:20  Movement

10:20 - 10:30  Break

10:30 – 12:45  Circus skills

12:45 – 13:45  Lunch

13:45 - 14:45  Theatre

14:45 - 15:15  Presentations set up with Technical team

15:15 - 16:30  Presentations

Successful candidates for Stage 2 will be informed to stay.

Stage 2

16:30 - 17:30  Interviews and Q&A

Daily schedule is subject to change. 

What is being assessed?

During the different sessions of the audition, all tutors will be assessing the following:

Physical and acrobatic abilities and endurance – Physical abilities are determined by a series of objective criteria by a panel over a day of assessed physical activities. Our expectations are coherent with those of our fellow circus arts training institutions worldwide (Centre National des Arts du Circus (France), Ecole Superieure des Arts du Cirque (Belgium) and Ecole Nationale du Cirque (Montreal).

Movement and performance abilities – Abilities will be assessed in sessions similar to those that students will experience during the course. The objective of the session is to evaluate and verify the acquisitions, technical level and potential for development of each candidate. Tutors will also be evaluating the quality of execution and expression, as well as the candidate’s ability to work in a group and their responses to difficulties.

The presentation

The 90-second presentation is an opportunity for the candidate to demonstrate their performance ability and personal artistic approach. Preferably this should also demonstrate their ability and competence in a physical skill coherent with the practice of circus arts, but at Foundation Degree level this is not a strict requirement. The panel observing the presentation will be attentive to: creativity, the quality of stage presence, the quality of physical execution of any technique presented, movement quality and quality of interpretation.

Pieces will be presented before all candidates involved with the audition and each candidate is responsible for:

  • Their own musical support - You may perform your piece to your own choice of music or audio should you wish. MP3 players with headphone jack only please (that includes smartphones/IPad/Laptops). We will not accept anything via YouTube or music that needs to be streamed on the day
  • All material or props needed for the presentation, unless this has otherwise been organised with us

The interview and Q&A

Candidates who progress onto Stage 2 of the audition process will be asked to stay for an interview at the end of the audition day. The interview will be with at least two members of the audition panel. 

Ahead of the interview, you will be asked to research a circus company that has been founded within the last 15 years, in preparation to discuss one or more of the following:

  • Movement qualities
  • Theatrical style
  • Circus content
  • Staging                                 

Running alongside the interviews will be a group question and answer session. This enables applicants to gain as much information about our degree courses as possible, helping them to make a more informed decision about whether the National Centre for Circus Arts is the right place for them.


If you have any questions about the application and audition procedure please contact the Admissions and Registry Manager, Joanna Gray on or call 020 7613 8244.

Audition results

Candidates will be notified of their audition result by email within three weeks of the final audition.