America’s First Higher-Education Circus School To Open In Philadelphia Fall 2017

Philadelphia, a city of many historic firsts, will take to the air and make history by being home to America’s first circus school providing a vocational diploma. Executive Director Shana Kennedy, from the Philadelphia School of Circus Arts, unveiled plans for Circadium, School of Contemporary Circus, at a press conference outside the iconic Philadelphia Museum of Art. The full-time, three-year, non-profit training program will bring together circus students seeking higher education and professional training opportunities. Circadium will open in fall of 2017 in a new facility that will also become the new home for the Philadelphia School of Circus Arts. Negotiations for the purchase of the new facility are currently underway. A Kickstarter campaign for the new non-profit school was launched today, and seeks to raise $50,000 in start-up funds to support Circadium’s mission. The online application process for students is now open with a deadline of November 30, 2016. Students and future donors can learn more by visiting

“Philadelphia is the perfect place to launch America's first school offering a higher education program in circus arts," said Kennedy. "There has been an explosion of interest in circus arts in our region, with circus arts becoming part of the core fabric of our arts scene. We are thrilled that our circus hub will now welcome and connect students from around the globe as they pursue a diploma in modern circus."

Philadelphia has become a well-known spot for circus activity and performances with troupes such as Tangle Movement, Almanac, Tribe of Fools, and Brain Sanders’ JUNK. Located conveniently in the city of brotherly love (Philadelphia, PA), Circadium seeks to become the place for professional circus artists to connect and thrive.

Building upon the strong foundations of the highly successful and growing recreational school, Philadelphia School of Circus Arts, Kennedy and the board of Circadium will create a full-time, three-year, professional training school for circus artists. Circadium will be a non-profit operated school with an ambitious mission to cultivate, inspire, and innovate contemporary circus performance in America through the development and support of dedicated artists who will advance this multidisciplinary art and share it with audiences around the world.  

Circadium will provide training space, top-tier faculty, a vast array of equipment, a workshop to build new apparatus, a theater for in-school shows, and a network throughout the city of other artists, business professionals and performance venues.

For those who are ready to be fully immersed in the theatrical creative process of contemporary circus, Circadium will have a staff 100% committed to meeting their needs. Every student is and will be treated as unique, and it isCircadium's mission to foster the development of the whole artist.

“Circus in the United States has been stuck too long in an archaic model,” added Kennedy. "Our faculty and our students seek to break traditional molds, to challenge the definition of circus, and to bring the art form to new places."

Circadium will be led by a strong team of seasoned circus professionals and managers:

  • Shana Kennedy has been the director of the recreational Philadelphia School of Circus Arts for 16 years, and is a Board Member of the American Circus Educators Association
  • Greg Kennedy has been an award-winning performance artist since 1996, and was most recently a featured solo act with Cirque du Soleil’s Totem.
  • Kryzsztof Soroczynski has been a world-class acrobat & coach for decades, and recently spent 15 years as the Acrobatic Performance Designer for the contemporary circus company Cirque Eloize.
  • Adam Woolley is the Head Coach of the Philadelphia School of Circus Arts, and the Managing Director of the national circus advocacy organization, Circus Now.

Circadium instructors will challenge students to cross all lines of professional circus training. Students will not only have the opportunity to explore acrobatics, aerials, juggling, and object manipulation, but also academic classes such as Business Planning, History of Circus, Personal Writing, and Marketing. By combining these skills, Circadium’s mission is to build the well-rounded professional circus artist.

Potential students seeking to attend must be 18+, posses a high school diploma or equivalent, and have an understanding of the English language. Other requirements include having an experienced background in circus, dance, theatre, gymnastics, or other physical artistic discipline.

The school looks to open in 2017 – with groundbreaking on a new building this coming winter (January 2017 estimated). The key dates are as follows:

  • November 30, 2016 - Online Application Due
  • January 15, 2017 - Notification of Student’s invitation to live audiences
  • March 17-19, 2017 - Live auditions in Philadelphia, PA
  • April 15, 2017 - Students notified of their acceptance
  • September 5, 2017 - First day of classes

Circadium launched a kickstarter campaign on August 30th to help raise initial funds for operations and equipment. Benefits for donors of the Kickstarter campaign included tickets to a special Silk Scarves Gala, recognition online, a special limited edition T-shirt, and other perks. Join the Circadium journey at

"Fundraising for Circadium's launch is critical," noted Kennedy. "We have a priority of keeping tuition costs low for students.  As college costs spiral out of control in the U.S., we are determined not to be part of the problem.  Graduating artists should not be saddled with massive debt. We are also moving into a new facility next year - a historic church in need of major renovations.  To transform this space into the circus school of our dreams, we are going to need financial support."

By the end of the campaign over $50,000 was raised from over 300 donors. 

Students and future donors can learn more by visiting, by following @circadiumschool on Twitter, and liking Circadium on Facebook.