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The NICA Story

From humble beginnings in an unrenovated warehouse in the Melbourne Docklands, NICA ran a pilot national training project in 1999. All eight participants graduated with a Diploma of Circus Arts from Swinburne University in 2001, and found employment with Australian companies the following year.

NICA has now grown significantly, receiving accreditation for the Certificate IV in Circus Arts in order to continue training artists to meet the demands of a growing local and international circus industry. Today there are more than 100 students across four year levels.

NICA is a national not-for-profit arts training organisation registered as a cultural organisation and primarily funded by the Australian Government through the Department of Communications and the Arts. Auspiced by Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, NICA is the only training institute of its kind in Australia.

As well as providing professional training through a three year Bachelor of Circus Arts course, NICA also offers a wide range of fun and safe recreational courses for children, teenagers and adults, and supports the circus industry with professional development and master classes.

The NICA Story
Social Circus

NICA also believes in the many benefits of circus as a tool for social change and through its Social Circus projects makes a difference to the lives of Indigenous people and young Australians living in regional and remote communities.

The NICA Story

Annual Report


CircaNICA, NICA’s commercial arm, supports the careers of Australia’s circus artists by providing creative and production services to clients from a wide range of industries, contributing enormously to the popularity of circus as an art form.


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Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communication
Victorian Government
Swinburne University of Technology
Pratt Foundation
Jack n' Jill
Sidney Myer Fund
City of Stonnington
Australian Roundtable For Arts Training Excellence