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Education and training

Professional education in circus was first offered in 1994 through the Arts Academy at Turku University of Applied Sciences. Nowadays the university produces both performers and pedagogues. Higher education in the circus field provides a complement to upper secondary-level training at Salpaus Further Education in Lahti, which was founded in 2000. Every second year approximately 30 students are graduated in total from these two institutions. There are plans to create an International Bachelor’s degree in Circus Art through the Theatre Academy of the University of the Arts Helsinki.

Salpaus Further Education, Lahti

Secondary-level circus artist training began in Lahti in 1998 and became a three-year education at Salpaus Further Education in 2002. The programme was properly established in 2006. The aim of this three-year education is to teach the diverse skills that will allow graduates to work as circus artists. The programme is international and taught in English and Finnish. In 2014 the institution got a new training space and venue equipped for circus in the city of Lahti.

Arts Academy at Turku University of Applied Sciences

Circus training began in Turku in 1994. The current four-year education is an independent part of the performing arts training programme at Arts Academy at Turku University of Applied Sciences. The aim of the artistic pedagogical training is to enable graduates to work as circus performers or teachers.

Youth circuses

The first Finnish youth circus was established in 1972. Since then the rapidly growing interest in circus as a hobby for children and young people has blossomed into a country-wide network of youth circus schools and clubs, which nowadays also offer courses for adults. All in all, the wide range of youth circus activities available has created a solid base for the development of the circus field in Finland.

The Finnish Youth Circus Association was founded in 1991. Its members are youth circuses from around Finland. Today (2015) the association has 44 member circuses and they have around 8,000 amateurs training circus as a hobby. The association organises training, events and camps for its members. Additionally it strives to raise the profile of circus as a hobby, to make it easier for people to take part in circus training, and to raise the standard of training in Finland. The association also publishes a magazine and is connected internationally.

Extracurricular art education

The Ministry of Education and Culture supports basic education in circus arts, which is given in four cities in Finland (Helsinki, Espoo, Tampere and Lappeenranta). For more information on basic education in the arts please visit the Finnish National Board of Education website.

Taina Kopra

— Director, Sorin Sirkus

"The most important challenge for a youth circus school is to get enough teachers with good pedagogical education and qualifications (in the youth, social or artistic fields). The need to use circus as a tool to address social problems is also growing in Finland. The most important task of the field is to create bachelor and masters degree studies for circus artists in University of The Arts Helsinki."

Photo: Sorin Sirkus