For more information about Contemporary Circus with Physical Theatre at Bath Spa University, please visit the webpage using the button above.

The award

How long you will study
2 years

Domestic course fees
GBP 9250

How you will study

Course starts

International course fees
find out

All study options

About Contemporary Circus with Physical Theatre at Bath Spa University

Merge physical theatre, movement and traditional circus to create exciting new work.

  • Develop an innovative and imaginative approach to circus and physical theatre.
  • Expand your knowledge of potential styles and approaches of contemporary circus and physical theatre.
  • Ensures the rigours of good technique.

This unique course is run in partnership with Circomedia, the leading centre for circus with physical theatre in Europe. You'll become an artist who is the creator as well as the performer.

Your training will expose you to a wide range of disciplines and styles and incorporates circus, dance, theatre, cabaret and outdoor theatre. With a grounding in physical technique and skill, the course also explores the various cultural, historical and social contexts in which these disciplines sit.

You'll learn the technical, practical and logistical elements of working professionally as a performer. This includes managing, staging and promoting your own work.

What you'll learn


This course aims to develop you as a well rounded circus-theatre artist. It is an intensive training course which has an emphasis on breadth rather than in-depth specialisation. In the first term strong emphasis is on skills training in the specialist areas. You'll also be introduced to physical theatre and devising.

Emphasis moves increasingly towards creative application culminating in you individually producing a project shown to an invited audience. A final ensemble production, shown to the public, concludes year one. In year two you present devised work week-by-week and over the year gain more experience in street theatre.

You'll perform at live events, which often include festivals. During the second year you broaden your range of styles and techniques which will help you reinterpret work through different mediums for various audiences, this includes learning how to stage work to showcase your work in the best way possible, and you begin developing and building up a diverse portfolio of work. You'll also create a specific act or piece of work over an extended period.

We'll help you build your knowledge of the performing arts sector so you have a clear understanding of how to promote yourself and your work.

Course structure

Specialist choices (acrobatics, aerial and manipulation)
In the first six weeks of the course you'll do all three of the specialist choices before choosing two pathways to study for the remainder of the year. In the second year of your studies you'll specialise in one of these.

Physical theatre, movement, voice and creative studies
This core component allows you to explore how to reinterpret work through different mediums for a range of audiences.

Body training
An important aspect of the course is ensuring you know how to look after yourself; understanding the practical techniques to look after your body as well as learning about nutrition to keep yourself in peak condition which will allow you to get the most out of a physically demanding course.

Complementary studies including practical, technical and academic theory
Understanding all the technical and practical aspects of performance also helps you when creating work. To help get the most out of the course,ground your knowledge of physical theatre and develop your academic skills in research and referencing you'll explore the history of circus within the context of the history of circus.

Practice and evaluations
Throughout the course you'll regularly show work to gain feedback from peers and tutors and help evaluate and feedback on other's work. This is vital for creators and performers in developing work and allows you to begin doing so in a safe and comfortable environment.

How will I be assessed?

You are assessed in various ways to examine your range of abilities and skills. You are set course work, assessed through public performances, creative project development, artistic and theoretical presentations, written feedback and reflection, personal training logs, practical tests, research and essay work.

How will I be taught?

Teaching is delivered through practical classes, formal lectures, small group tutorials, one-to-one tutorials, supervised practice sessions, and visits from external specialists. In addition you'll also devise and perform presentations each week for tutor and peer feedback.

In your first year you'll be introduced to Personal Development Planning in the form of journals and reflection. The second year of your study develops the processes and techniques introduced in your first year. It continues to train your core technique in your chosen skills with a more intense focus on one. You create personalised action plans of the technical  and conditioning learning and progress you want to make and measure yourself against this plan. To develop your creative performance making skills you'll have series of devising projects both in ensemble and solo work. 


Live events

Our students often get the opportunity to perform in events outside of the course such as in festivals and with existing circus-theatre companies. 


Alumni (companies and performers)

We're proud to have many fantastic alumni, visit the Circomedia website to find out more about them.

Facilities and resources

Where the subject is taught

The course is hosted at Circomedia's Kingswood site which boasts six training spaces including three aerial spaces and mirrored studio. There is also a student room with a kitchen, quiet study room, classroom and IT suite. This site also holds a library with a comprehensive selection of books and media on contemporary circus with physical theatre.

Students get to perform their final shows in Circomedia's impressive church venue in the centre of Bristol. Converted and saved from dilapidation in 2005 by The Churches Conservation Trust, this building houses the UK's largest indoor trapeze rig and aerial facilities unparalleled in the South West.

Study options for this course

  • The award How you will study How long you will study Course starts Domestic course fees International course fees
  • The awardFdAHow you will studyFull-timeHow long you will study2 years
    Course startsOctoberDomestic course feesGBP 9250International course fees find out

Notes about fees for this course


UK and EU students full time

2017/18 Entry

Course fees

Year 1 £9,250 Year 2 Published Jan 2018 Year 3 Published Jan 2019

2018/19 Entry

Course fees

Year 1 Published Jan 2018 Year 2 Published Jan 2019 Year 3 Published Jan 2020

2019/20 Entry

Course fees

Year 1 Published Jan 2019 Year 2 Published Jan 2020 Year 3 Published Jan 2021

International students full time

2017/18 Entry

Course fees

Year 1 N/A Year 2 N/A Year 3 N/A

2018/19 Entry

Course fees

Year 1 N/A Year 2 N/A Year 3 N/A

2019/20 Entry

Course fees

Year 1 N/A Year 2 N/A Year 3 N/A

Entry requirements

What we look for in potential students

We are looking for individuals that want to go further than just developing skills. The course is physically demanding so it is important to demonstrate that you can keep up with the demands of the course.

However, you'll also need to be enthusiastic about pushing yourself further creatively and be open to explore how contemporary circus, physical theatre and yourself can develop. Check the Circomedia website for entry requirements.

Interview and portfolio guidance

We select students based on their application to UCAS and an audition. Your application should demonstrate your passion for developing as a performer and creative artist and we would recommend including any artists or companies that have inspired you. The audition is a full day workshop and finishes with you giving a three minute performance of your choosing.

What students think about Bath Spa University

    Yasmina Van De Peer, BA (Hons) English Literature and Film Studies, Spain

    Where to start with this year? There have been so many new friends, a new life-style with freedom and no muYasmina Van De Peerm bossing me around. My year has not been easy but I would do it all again, life challenges you in many ways and this experience definitively has.

    When I arrived in September, I felt like a lost girl trying to find something that I could grasp and change my life forever. My first year in a foreign country was fantastic and thanks to the creative writing department, I will never forget my second year as I have the privilege of studying in Chicago for a full academic year! However, this has no real connection with why I chose Bath Spa University.

    I worked as an ambassador for this University and a lot parents have asked the same question, why did I choose it? After 50 parents it gets tiring- especially when I was unsure. As everyone else I want to succeed in life. I have dreamt about going to Oxford, Harvard or any well known University. But the one thing that I have learnt in life is that you can be successful and come from the smallest place in the world. The key to success requires determination to reach your goal.

    Bath Spa just felt right and it allowed me to combine my subjects [English Literature and Film Studies], be myself and it also has an inspiring and picturesque scenery. For me it was perfect.

    Johannes Gerdes, BA Business and Management, Germany

    I chose BA Business and Management as I have always been inspired by my dad who runs a world leading business. The opportunity to work for him during holidays gave me a chance to look inside a company and to experience what management, leadership and communication is all about. I wanted to widen my knowledge and hence started my Business & Management career here at Bath Spa.
    My parents always wanted to give me the opportunity to study abroad. My old school, near Bristol, where I stayed as a boarding student for the last two years, helped me to discover where most of my interests lie. In addition, friends of mine started studying here at Bath Spa.

    I would describe Bath Spa in three words as: Cultural, Wonderful, Friendly.

    In the future I hope I will be working together with my dad and widen the market to countries which haven't been discovered yet.

    Don't be afraid of university life. University is the best time in your life. You meet so many new people from different nationalities and all come together! You will settle down easily. You make friends so fast and there is always someone around to help you! Even language barriers can be fixed with a perfect Writing and Learning Centre [the English Language Unit (ELU) is also available for all international students to access where English is not their first language] here at Bath Spa. Come to Bath and experience the whole range of activities they offer and be open to new things!

    Nassos Polyzoidis, MMus Songwriting, Greece

    Even though I live in Greece, I'm familiar with many British Universities, as I work for some English Examination Boards for Music and I've attended some Summer Schools in UK over the years. Bath Spa University's reputation in Songwriting and Commercial Music was known to me for a long time. Being a guitarist and working for the RGT at the same time, I have heard stories about Bath being the birthplace of guitar magazines and other music and artistic events. I was accepted to study Commercial Music as an undergraduate student about 4 years ago, but due to some sudden accidents I have to decline my offer. After this unfortunate event, I decided to become better Musician and Songwriter, so that I can return as a postgraduate applicant. When I noticed that there was a distance learning degree, MMus Songwriting, I knew I had to do this. Meanwhile, I did my research, which only lead me to ensure my initial decision to study at Bath Spa University.

    I was attracted to this course as I was already familiar with Bath Spa University's reputation in this field. In addition to that, Songwriting isn't taught in my home county at all. I knew that only few Institutes offer Songwriting as a postgraduate degree, so I did my research over the last 3 years. During this time, I was only ensuring myself that I have to apply for this course. I really want to become a successful songwriter, and also, probably one of the first songwriting teachers in Greece, so I know that this course is best for me. I knew that the course will help me become more confident and enhance my professional skills in the field. Finally, being mainly inspired by British Songwriters, it was really important that my songwriting skills would develop a lot lyrically, which can help me open the door to an international market.

    I would describe Bath Spa University in three words as: Innovative, modern, artistic.

    Once I have my degree, I am really hoping to become a successful songwriter. Being inspired mainly by British Songwriters, I would really like to write songs for the UK and international market. In addition, I will probably become one of the first songwriting teachers in Greece. Last, but not least, as I'm already collaborating with several English musicians, I'm considering in my future plans to apply for a PhD and probably seek for more collaborations in UK, which might extend my visits there.

    My advice I would you give to other international students who want to study in the UK would depend on the ethics and societal context of each county. So, a general advice I would give is "Do not be afraid of failure, do your best and apply to the courses that you really like!"

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