Directing Circus degree - MA - Bath Spa University Skip to main content

MA Directing Circus
Bath School of Music and Performing Arts
Taught by
Course length
One year full-time

Entry requirements

Entry requirements for our postgraduate courses vary. We're generally looking for a good honours degree or equivalent.

Some courses also require an interview or the submission of a portfolio of work.

Please contact our admissions team for more information:

Become a new kind of performance director, using circus techniques in an artistic context.

  • Work with professionals and stay up-to-date with the most recent developments within the industry.
  • Foster creative practices for directing circus-based performance work.
  • Explore circus direction through a variety of research methods.

The course covers two areas – the director as author and the director as facilitator. During the course you might: share your work with specialist educators and student peers, study other subject areas, and work with youth circus groups.

What you'll learn


You’ll study the roles, strategies and practical skills of circus directing. You’ll use a variety of research methods and promote autonomous and collaborative learning to explore circus direction. You’ll engage with industry professionals on current debates and discourses of the discipline.

Course structure

Research Methodologies and Context
You'll have the opportunity to work alongside students from other Performing Arts disciplines. You'll develop a sophisticated understanding of and ability to research at a postgraduate level. The module recognises that research in the performing arts disciplines is a dynamic and varied field, which the methodologies explored on this module reflect. The module also provides specific context tailored to the individual needs of each Performing Arts MA course.

Directing Circus One: Performer as Source
Explore a range of roles, responsibilities and skills necessary for directing circus-based performance. You'll study different types of circus performance creation, and demonstrate skills through practice and knowledge sharing. You begin by learning about all the roles that a circus director may be required to fulfil, including dramaturgy, choreography and design, as well as the implications of different starting points such as performer-as-source and director-as-author. You engage in short, small projects, mainly working to facilitate the creative ideas and performance of the performer(s).

Professional Collaboration
This module gives you the opportunity to explore your subject specialism within a contemporary professional context to promote entrepreneurialism and/or professional practice. The shared elements of this module links Performing Arts practitioners from different subject areas, while subject specific content focuses on professional approaches. This module includes placements with leading UK contemporary circus companies.

Circus Directing Two: Director as Author
This module develops your directing skills with a longer, more in-depth project, with more emphasis on director-as-author, shifting the emphasis from taught learning to more independent learning. You direct circus-based acts or pieces to demonstrate your advanced level skills through practice, at a semi-professional level. You’ll also reflect critically upon your overall skills development for directing circus and place them in the context of the contemporary industry. Teaching includes workshops, seminars, and off-site visits to companies in rehearsal.

Major Project
Your final project will draw on skills and knowledge acquired in modules one, two, three and four. Drawing on an area of practice that is central to your interests and aspirations, your thesis content is decided in negotiation with your course tutors. It may take the form of a written submission or practical work or a combination of both. The initial stages of your project will commence with tutor guidance and then become self-directed in its later stages. A single summative assessment will conclude this final module of your Master’s degree.

Course modules

This course includes or offers the following modules. Please check the programme document (below the main image on this page) for more information.

  • Research Methodologies and Context
  • Directing Circus 1: Performer as Source
  • Professional Collaboration
  • Directing Circus 2: Director as Author
  • Major Project
How will I be assessed?

You'll be assessed through the practical outcome of your projects and the written content of your blog.

Formative assessment is through tutor feedback on your rehearsal processes and on the draft essay. Summative assessment is through the practical outcome of your project, your written reflection of the project, and your essay.

How will I be taught?

You’ll engage in short, small projects, mainly working to facilitate the creative ideas and performance of the performer(s).

Teaching includes workshops, seminars, and off-site visits to companies in rehearsal.


Work placements, industry links and internships

Our professional engagement module includes placements with leading UK contemporary circus companies.

Facilities and resources

Where the subject is taught

This course takes place at our Kingswood site, which is home to Circomedia’s degree programme and main office space.

It boasts four training spaces, including three aerial spaces, and a 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.


UK students full time
Course fees
2023/24 entry £7,715
2024/25 entry Published Jan 2024
2025/26 entry Published Jan 2025

Interested in applying?

What we look for in potential students

This course suits individuals who have professional or semi-professional experience, either as a circus-artist performer who is interested in moving into directing, or as a theatre-based director who is interested in moving into circus-based work.

You’ll ideally have a background in circus, physical theatre or directing, or a related subject area, acquired through previous study as well as experience through work or other means that will show you have the ability to succeed in the programme. See our Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) web page to learn more.

How do I apply?

Ready to apply? Click the "apply now" button in the centre of this page.

Need more guidance? Head to our how to apply webpages.

Applications for 2024

Our postgraduate courses are now closed for 2023 entry. Applications will reopen in October for a 2024 start.

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