To celebrate World Circus Day, we speak to National Institute of Circus Arts (NICA) student Lyndon Johnson about his experience.

20 April 2018

Lyndon is studying NICA’s Bachelor of Circus Arts degree, which is the only course of its kind in Australia. The three-year full-time course incorporates intensive physical training, performance opportunities, academic studies, technical production and health and business education. Lyndon is now in his third year. 

What made you want to have a career in the circus?

I had dabbled in circus skills and often people would come up to us when we were practising and ask us if we were in the circus. I wanted to turn that answer into a yes and get into it more!

What’s your favourite activity to perform?

Duo acrobatics. I like the expression and freedom of movement with this act. It also allows for a lot of creativity and exploration. You can make a trick your own and give it your own style.

Why did you want to join NICA?

I was living in Montreal at the time on a working holiday visa, and I met people from NICA when they were on their study tour in Montreal. I wanted to go to NICA myself to increase my skills, get a level up and have a qualification that was recognised by other people and recognised around the world.

The Arts sector is only going to grow bigger and bigger as people will want to experience things outside their work. Circus has the ability to take people to a new place that they haven’t seen or explored before.

What opportunities have you had while at NICA?

I was one of six performers from second year who got to be part of the National Institute of Dramatic Art project. This was the first time this collaboration had happened. I got to work with actors which I had never done before. It was completely different! We could learn from each other’s strengths, weaknesses and different ways of doing things.

What’s your advice for aspiring circus performers?

Go out and do it, try your best, fail and then try again. Explore, create and always try to improve your work. See how it is received. You have to start somewhere, even if you don’t think you’re ready, you will practise and perform and you will get better.

Also go out and experience new and different types of circus as there is so much variation within our industry.


NICA is one of Australia’s eight national elite performing arts training organisations supported by the Government for more than 30 years.  

For more information visit NICA’s website.


Lyndon Johnson in rehearsal at NIDA during the Eurydike + Orpheus collaboration. Photography by Phil Erbacher.