The National Centre for Circus Arts, formerly known as Circus Space, was officially launched in Shoreditch on Tuesday, to coincide with its 25th birthday.
The project aims to give the British circus industry the profile to rival leading international organisations such as Cirque du Soleil, a company that is worth more than $1 billion.
At the launch, the organisation announced plans to take its programme, London Youth Circus, to regions outside of the capital.
Joint chief executives, Kate White and Jane Rice-Bowen, said: “Circus around the world has re-invented itself over the past 25 years and we are incredibly proud to have been recognised as the Centre of Britain’s circus industry. We are a long way from most people understanding that Circus is not just about big tricks and moments of spectacle. It can be delicate, subtle and beautiful as well as brave, thrilling and downright scary.”
Commenting on the nature of circus, White and Rice-Bowen, also added: “It can speak directly of the human condition and our desire to push ourselves to the absolute limit yet conquer death, as well as being funny, sexy and clever.”
The NCCA is regarded as one of the best circus schools in the world and it is the only place in the UK where it is possible to earn a BA degree in Circus Arts.
NCCA also announced that over the years, it has achieved near 100 per cent student employment post-graduation.
Congratulating the organisation for achieving National Centre status, Mayor Boris Johnson said: “Most people are probably unaware that modern circus was invented in London in the late 18th century by a chap called Philip Astley. It is a constantly evolving tradition and Circus Space has been the ringmaster for the last 25 years, developing the skills of some of the best circus performers, aerialists and acrobats in the world. I’m thrilled it is to become the National Centre for Circus Arts and know it will soar to even greater heights.”
Based in a Victorian power station adjacent to Hoxton Square, the organisation involves thousands of people in the creation and performance of circus every year.