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  • NICAs 10th Birthday in 2011 has provided an opportunity to reflect on the achievements of our first decade.

    Contemporary circus in Australia has flourished, and NICA artists are well represented in Australian and international companies and appearing at festivals across the globe. Many artists returned to NICA to celebrate the milestone year, and over 60 alumni performed at the Melbourne Circus Festival.

    There have been so many highlights, including the Opening and Closing Ceremonies at the Commonwealth Games, the Sydney Opera House season of New Breed, performing Di Vino in the Melbourne International Arts Festival, the opening of the National Circus Centre, NICA artists winning trophies and a gold medal for Australia in China, Moscow, and Paris, Shakespeare in circus Aerials Dream and At First Sight and the performance of Beautifully Imperfect as part of a cultural exchange project with the Nanjing Acrobatic Troupe of China.

    Circus projects with Indigenous communities across Australia and the social circus partnership with Cirque du Soleil have added a special dimension to NICA and our two award-winning facilities are filled with circus enthusiasts most days of the year.

    Thanks to all who have been part of the journey so far.

    Pamela CreedDirector and CEO


    It (Di Vino) was so uplifting that it should be compulsory viewing for every Victorian. If other shows could get such a response on a regular basis, Victoria would be at the leading edge because people would flock here to be part of that energy... The Hon Ted Baillieu MP

    Top far left: NICAs performance of Di Vino was a highlight of the 2007 Melbourne International Arts Festival

    Bottom far left: Federal Arts Minister The Hon Simon Crean addressed a gathering of NICAs founders and donors during the Melbourne Circus Festival

    Top left: The Constructivist Trio (Mace Innes, James Kingsford-Smith and Mathew Loudon) won the bronze trophy at the Wuhan International Acrobatic Art Festival in 2007.

    Bottom left: The cast of The New Breed in front of the Sydney Opera House, 2005

    Right: NICA artists performed at the Opening Ceremony of the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, 2006

    It (NICA) has established itself as a global player and is utterly transforming

    the face of the local industry. Fiona Scott-Norman, The Australian, 17/9/2011


  • Over 10 years NICAs performances have re-imagined the language of circus. The performers have inspired and delighted thousands of people with their courage, strength and extraordinary skills. NICAs ensemble performances are directed by leading Australian and international directors. NICA continues to build new audiences, getting them hooked on this evocative form of story-telling.

    Highlights include NICA opening the BMW Edge Theatre at Federation Square, Melbourne, with a performance season of On Edge in 2003 and performing The New Breed at the Sydney Opera House in 2005. In 2006 NICA artists performed in the Commonwealth Games Opening and Closing ceremonies and Cultural Program. In recognition of the high calibre of work produced by NICA, Di Vino was included in the Melbourne International Arts Festival in 2007. In 2011 Beautifully Imperfect featured four guest artists from the internationally acclaimed Nanjing Acrobatic Troupe of China and was supported by the Victorian Government as part of the Sister State relationship that exists between Victoria and Jiangsu Province.



    The proof of NICAs success is in the achievements of its graduates who are

    turning up in many of our existing circuses. Hilary Crampton, The Age, 6/12/2008

    Far left: NICA Director & CEO, Pam Creed, Premier of Victoria The Hon Ted Baillieu MP, Chancellor of Swinburne University, Bill Scales

    Bottom: NICAs performance of On Edge opened the BMW Edge Theatre at Federation Square

    Left: Performers from the Nanjing Acrobatic Troupe of China in Beautifully Imperfect, 2011

    Top: NICA student Sam Aldham on aerial rope in Beautifully Imperfect, 2011

    Far left: Cast of Beautifully Imperfect, 2011

    Left: Cast of Beautifully Imperfect, 2011

    In recent years, NICA has increased its focus on providing the dramatic training

    required for students to become well-rounded artists and not just generic

    circus performers.Stephanie Glickman, Herald Sun, 19/9/2008

  • Circus artists returned to NICA from across the globe for the inaugural Melbourne Circus Festival, September 26 October 2, 2011.

    With over 60 distinct circus performances the Festival provided a rare opportunity for local audiences to see the countrys most innovative and creative practitioners. The Festival catered for all ages, featuring cabarets, comedy, magic, workshops, master-classes and a host of events for children. A Day at the Circus provided workshops and shows as part of the school holiday program. NICA commissioned a new work: Big Tops for Little Tots a sell out during the festival.

    The Circus Cabaret was simply stunning. Andrew Brookes, CEO, Helen Macpherson Smith Trust

    We saw a marvellous first year (show) and couldnt believe the standard. Some real poetry and grace in the choreography. As well as fun and laughs. There was a carnival atmosphere with lots happening outside and in the foyer. I spoke to a very decorative young man sitting on the bar, like a delicate Franknfurter. Helen Fallaw

    A decade of NICA. What a wonderful occasion to launch the inaugural Melbourne Circus Festival. Hopefully the festival will continue to grow with the strength that NICA has. Kyle Raftery, Performer Superkid


    (NICA graduates) are inspiring us to step up and do better tricks, train harder,

    and be faster better and stronger. Its lifting everybodys game in the industry.

    Malia Walsh, ArtsHub, 4/2/2010

    Right: NICA alumni and former Cirque du Soleil aerialists, Daniel Power and Leigh Marning in a Circus Cabaret performance, Melbourne Circus Festival 2011

    Left: Cast of Big Tops for Little Tots, commissioned by NICA for the Melbourne Circus Festival 2011

    Bottom left: NICA alumnus, Marawa, performing in the world premiere of Exotica at the Melbourne Circus Festival 2011

    Big Top for Little Tots has all the wrappings of childrens theatre: five brightly striped and variously-sized acrobats sing inclusive, toddler-friendly songs, play loud drums and guitars and revel in pie-in-the-face slapstick Stephanie Glickman, Herald Sun, 28/9/2011



    NICA is grateful to the many organisations and individuals who have made our achievements possible and helped us grow from a small project in an old industrial shed into an award-winning organisation in custom-built facilities with over 170 world-class graduates.

    We acknowledge the generosity of our federal, state and local government funders, Swinburne University, foundations, corporate partners, the vision of our board and dedication of our staff and of course the enthusiastic passion, commitment and determination of our students.


    National Institute of Circus Arts (NICA), 41 Green Street Prahran Victoria 3181, Australia. Phone +61 3 9214 6975. www.nica.com.au

    Dame Elisabeth Murdoch AC DBE