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Education and training

DOCH Stockholm University Of The Arts

In Sweden there is one high level education for circus artists: the Circus Programme at DOCH in Stockholm. Since 2005 this three-year programme has led to a University Degree, Bachelor of Arts in Circus, 180 ECTS. Eighteen students are admitted every second year. Applicants come from all over the world. The programme focuses on artistic experimentation and methodology in order to develop each student’s personal artistic voice and process of creation.

DOCH also offers research education, housing several research projects within the field. Moreover, in 2016 the first Masters Programme in Contemporary Circus Practices will begin, aimed at practicing circus artists wishing to deepen and expand their relationship to circus craft and discourse within the contemporary field. The Programme comprises two years of advanced studies. It is research preparatory and qualifies the student as a Master of Fine Arts.

By establishing collaborations with numerous individuals and networks within the national and international circus arena – teachers, prominent artists and researchers – a diverse environment is created at DOCH, facilitating the ability of students to relate their activities to broader artistic and social contexts.

Secondary School Circus Educations

There are three secondary schools with programmes in circus, for students aged 16-18. The programmes last three years and are all part of the public Swedish secondary school system. They are open for applicants from all over Sweden.

The circus programme of Vasa Secondary School in Gävle was founded in 1988, and has educated many of the active professional artists in Sweden. The programme will be closed in the near future. This education has been focused mainly on a ‘traditional circus’ perspective.

Cirkus Cirkör / St Botvids circus programme started in 2000 as a cooperation between Cirkus Cirkör and the municipality of Botkyrka. The education has a focus on contemporary circus and gives a broad educational base for further artistic studies as well as university qualification.

In Jämtland in northern Sweden a secondary school programme for winter acrobatics was founded in 2004 with the support of Cirkus Cirkör. After 10 years of educating young winter acrobats the education was closed in 2014.

Susanne Reuszner

— Head of Communications, Cirkus Cirkör

In terms of audience and market development - what are the most important challenges for circus / street arts in your country?
"To keep on communicating that circus is an art form with various expressions and artists, and to show that circus is high quality performing arts but also an open art form that takes an active part in society. Also, to be better in communication via digital media. Circus has a great advantage in being visual, communicative and not so dependent on the spoken word, but we often lack in competence and budget. Finally, to encourage more presenters and venues to present circus on a regular basis."

Training For Professional Circus Artists

Manegen, the Swedish federation for circus, variety and street performance, organises open training five days a week for professional circus artists in Karavan (Malmö) and Cirkus Cirkör’s circus hall (Botkyrka). In 2014 the total number of training sessions was 2547 – since then however the number of members of Manegen has increased. Manegen is funded by the Swedish Arts Council to organise the open training.

Courses For Children And Young People

All over the country, organisations and institutions of different sizes organise courses and training for children and young people. 22 culture schools in Sweden offer circus courses for children up to 18 years of age; 1354 children took part in these courses in 2014. Cirkus Cirkör trains over 30,000 children each year all over Sweden in their courses and training programmes. On top of this, around 30 organisations in the country offer circus courses for some 8,000 additional children.

John-Paul Zaccarini

— Head of Circus Masters Programme, DOCH, Stockholm University of the Arts —

What do you see as your most important task in circus/street arts in your country?
"To create alternative networks of production, cooperation and dissemination that sponsor work that takes risks with the notion of circus, looking beyond the circus sector for alliances to help it become more relevant to actually existing conditions of being-in-the-world right now. Circus is often comfortingly sealed within its own frames of reference. It is contemporary only with regards to itself. In comparison to the feld of current performance practices, circus is actually rather conservative."

Photo: James M. Barrett