NICA & Melbourne Fringe Circus Hub

5 – 22 October 2023

With the support of the Australia Council for the Artsthe Melbourne Fringe, and the City of Stonnington, the National Institute of Circus Arts (NICA) will become a Circus Hub for the 2023 Melbourne Fringe Festival. 

Taking place between Thursday 5th – Sunday 22nd October, NICA for the first time will support independent artists and small to medium companies, to present works within NICA’s renowned venue in Prahran. Operating for 2.5 weeks, multiple shows will be programmed daily as part of the festival. 

NICA will offer a bespoke venue for emerging and established artists otherwise unavailable at Australian fringe festivals, with fixed venue hire costs waived in favour of a 60% box office split in two of their custom built spaces. Start your application below.

NICA x Fringe Commission

Melbourne Fringe and NICA are proud to announce a game-changing $20,000 commission for independent circus artists to present a brand-new work at NICA’s renowned home during this year’s Melbourne Fringe Festival. We’re inviting all emerging and established circus artists from around Australia to limber up and pitch us their new shows, with $20k in financial support on offer to help you bring your vision to the stage. Plus your masterpiece will be programmed as part of NICA’s Melbourne Fringe Circus Hub alongside a suite of other works. 

The commission includes:

  • $20,000 cash to develop and deliver the project
  • A season residency in NICA’s Guang Rong Lu OAM National Circus Centre (NCC) theatre
  • A venue stage manager for the performance season
  • Technical and front of house support

The National and International Marketplace for Circus & Physical Theatre 

NICA will provide presentation opportunities, facilitate networking for artists, producers, presenters and associated workers in circus and physical theatre, during a two-day conference as part of the Circus Hub. 

NICA will provide a venue for industry networking, to reinvigorate circus and physical theatre and increase opportunities for presentation of Australian work. Details will be announced soon. 


NICA’s Programming Panel 

NICA’s Circus Hub panel consists of eight professional industry presenters, producers, arts & cultural leaders, festival directors and circus artists. 


Who should apply?   

NICA welcomes applications from emerging or established circus and physical theatre artists, groups or collectives who reside in Australia or have the right visa to live and work in Australia. Artists and/ or companies must be based in Australia to apply. 


Selection Criteria 

Applications will be assessed on creativity, innovation, artistic meaning and relevance, career stage and project budget planning.   

NICA continues to provide equal opportunities to artists regardless of their race, ability, gender identity and sexual orientation. 



Applications now closed.


Applications via Fringe portal

take me to Fringe

There are two types of spaces to select:

NICA Movement Studio

Download tech specs

Guang Rong Lu OAM National Circus Centre

Download tech specs

How to apply

List NICA as your venue via the Fringe Rego application!

Fringe at NICA


This project is proudly supported by:


FAQs for the Fringe Commission

Here are some quick answers to frequent questions. 

If you're unsure how to apply or if you are eligible, please contact:

Artists, groups or collectives can only apply once.

Artists cannot apply twice, as the cash grant aims to pay as many independent artists as possible, in order to support and nurture the sector. 

The residency will be housed at NICA’s facilities and successful applicants must base themselves in Victoria for the duration of the residency to take part. 

Artists must be Australian residents and/or have the right visa to live and work in Australia. 

No as this is for independent artists, groups, or collectives who have not had financial support.

No as this is for independent artists, groups, or collectives who have not had financial support.

While we love hybrid ideas, your work needs to be predominantly circus.

If you are an employee of a triennially funded company, or similar, we cannot accept your application.

Yes! Each artist/group is responsible for documenting their own show (photography and videography) and providing NICA with marketing material such as hero images and show copy.