From humble beginnings in an unrenovated warehouse in the Melbourne Docklands, NICA ran a pilot national training project in 1999. All eight participants graduated with a Diploma of Circus Arts from Swinburne University in 2001, and found employment with Australian companies the following year.
NICA has now grown significantly, receiving accreditation for the Certificate III and Certificate IV in Circus Arts in order to continue training artists to meet the demands of a growing local and international circus industry. Today there are more than 100 students across five year levels.
NICA is a national not-for-profit arts training organisation registered as a cultural organisation and primarily funded by the Australian Government through the Ministry for the Arts. Auspiced by Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, NICA is the only training institute of its kind in Australia.
As well as providing professional training through a three year Bachelor of Circus Arts course, NICA also offers a wide range of fun and safe recreational courses for children, teenagers and adults, and supports the circus industry with professional development and master classes.