The launching pad for high flyers turns 10

MEDIA RELEASE – Thursday 3 March 2011


“This company is the future of circus. The performers are world class.” Australian Stage Online This year, the National Institute of Circus Arts (NICA) in Melbourne celebrates ten successful years as Australia’s premier centre of excellence in contemporary circus arts training. In March 2001, NICA accepted the first intake of students into its Bachelor of Circus Arts. Now 10 years later, it is time to celebrate the achievements of this important Australian cultural and educational institution which has played a pivotal role in establishing Melbourne as one of the world’s leading circus hubs.

Accredited by Swinburne University of Technology, NICA’s Bachelor of Circus Arts is the only qualification of its kind in Australia. Ten years on, NICA’s alumni are performing across the globe, touring with Australian companies such as Circa and Circus Oz and presenting new work at international arts festivals. Graduates are also employed by many large international companies including Cirque du Soleil, Dragone, Cavalia and Disney and can be found entertaining appreciative crowds in stadium events, casinos, theme parks, cabarets and cruise ships.

Ten years provides a milestone to reflect upon what has been achieved, and to acknowledge the supporters, the Board, the passionate and dedicated teachers, creative collaborators and team who have built this first phase of the institute.

Of the anniversary, NICA’s Director Pam Creed says “The measure of the first decade of NICA rests with our alumni. Nothing celebrates the impact of NICA more than seeing NICA graduates perform to enthralled audiences in many and varied settings locally and around the world. I have seen them in their own companies beaming from billboards in both the London and Paris undergrounds, watched them proudly presented with awards for Australia in international circus competitions in Paris, Moscow and China, and have marvelled at the way some have connected with large crowds in the streets at various festivals across Australia.”

Most recently graduate artists James Brown, Casey Douglas and Christian Schooneveldt-Reid have performed with Iota in Smoke and Mirrors in Sydney and Melbourne. Smoke & Mirrors received a Helpmann Award in 2010 for best new work. Julian Aldag continued to gain recognition at international festivals and was the only Australian circus artist invited to perform in Le Grand Cirque.

Throughout 2011, NICA will celebrate its 10th birthday with a range of special events. Kicking off the birthday celebrations, four guest performers and two trainers from the Nanjing Acrobatic Troupe will work with NICA’s final year students as part of a cultural exchange that celebrates the Sister-State Relationship between Victoria and Jiangsu Province. Titled Beautifully Imperfect, the exhilarating new production is directed by international guest director, Rob Tannion, and will be presented for a public season in April. A major focus for the celebration will be a “back to NICA” Melbourne Circus Festival. For one week in September NICA will host nonstop circus performances for all ages, featuring NICA graduate artists and companies.

Pam Creed says “The next phase of NICA will see an expansion of activities around creative research opportunities for post-graduates, and industry partnerships with our creative production agency, CircaNICA. There are still many exciting NICA dreams we hope to fulfill, all of which will support Australia’s cultural development.”

Visit the NICA website in coming months for the complete program of events, performances and ticketing information.

Media Enquiries:
Clea Woods – Senior Publicist
Mollison Communications
Phone: 03 9694 5226 / 0417 392 622

CRICOS number 00111D
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