Circus Survey 2018

Thank you for your interest in the 2018 AYCO/ACE Circus Survey. We have committed to conducting a survey of the circus sector every 2 years – and we truly hope you’ll join us. We need your participation to find and understand all the wonderful circuses and circus programs that operate around the United States. This survey has been designed by a team of qualified individuals with expertise in survey design, data analysis, and circus. We’ve tried to anticipate and cover most questions on this page, but if you have any other feedback, comments, or concerns, we’d love to hear them. Please contact us at

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Why are you doing this survey?
Primarily because we want to know who is out there and how they’re doing. Second, we’d like to know where and how we can help circus grow. This survey will help us understand where circus is prevalent and supported, which organizations work with circuses and circus programs, and how we can connect new talent, established professional companies, and untapped audiences.

What data will be released?
We’re hoping that others can also use this data to help circuses and circus programs survive and grow. To that end, we’re releasing a version of the responses that have been “de-identified”. That means taking out names, locations, and lumping other specific answers together in categories. We will also release a second database of companies and programs who want to put their name and location out there so people can find them. The second “directory” will contain only name and location and no other responses. If you don’t opt in to the directory in the survey, your company’s name will not be included.

Where can I get a copy of the results/data?
We plan to release the results at the ACE EdCon 2018. After that, the anonymous data set and preliminary results will be publically available online.

My company or organization doesn’t fit into these categories.
We always expect circus companies and programs to fall outside of common definitions and categories. If that’s you, we would like to know more! Please use the “Other” boxes in the check box categories. If you feel you want more space, you can use the text box at the end of the survey or contact us at

Can I answer as an individual?
At this time, we’re only able to take answers from organizations, companies, programs and other institutions. We know lots of people work for themselves and single-employee businesses are welcome to answer applicable questions. However, we want to keep any personal data separate until we can account for it in future surveys. We can’t wait to hear from you soon.

Why do you use company/organization in some places and program in others?
In some cases, larger companies and organizations offer circus training or performance as a subset of their usual activities. In cases where we are asking for information about circus programs, we’d like to know just about that section of a company’s or an organization’s operations. If all of your operations relate to circus, please answer with the relevant data for your entire company or organization.

Why are you asking these questions specifically?
We’ve tried to include questions that we believe will be applicable to the most circuses and circus programs while keeping the survey quick and giving us an idea of the information that we are looking for. For more information on each question, please see the details below.


Intro Questions

We will use this information to check for duplicates, verify basic details, and see response rates from known organizations. It will not be included in the final anonymous data set.

These questions help us to understand how organizations are spread out around the country, including which areas are most supportive of circus arts. While some combined numbers for geography will be released in our report, this data will not be included in the final anonymous data set.

In what year was your circus program founded?
We’d like to determine if there are any trends around the emergence and sustainability of certain program types over time. Hopefully we can do this survey a few more times in the future for a longitudinal data set (to see how answers change over time).

How many staff are involved in your circus programs?
* Full-time paid staff, Part time paid staff, Freelancer/Consultant, Volunteer
We want a basic understanding of how many people work in the circus arts industry. This information can help us show the economic impact of circus arts while also helping us to understand how volunteers and part time staff are part of different business models.

What is your overall yearly budget for all circus programs including staff?
We will use this information to look at the economic impact of organizations that participate in the circus arts locally and nationally and understand how budgets differ based on the type of circus or circus program.

How is your overall company or organization funded?
* Earned income, Private donations, Foundations and Corporations, Government grants and public funds for program service fees, Other
We will look at responses from this question to understand effective fundraising models and practices for different companies and organizations.

What types of circus program structures does your company or organization have?
* Which is your primary circus program structure?

This question will help us understand which types of circus programs are prevalent in the US and also help us look at how different program types use different business practices and target different groups of people.

All Program Questions

How many weeks per year are your circus programs active?
We will use this question to understand how consistently programs are running while also understanding variations in businesses and program types.

What are the age ranges of your clients?
This question should help us determine which populations are being reached by circuses and circus programs as well as reveal potential new markets.

Within your circus programs, does your company or organization currently collaborate with any of the following groups?
We will use information from this question to understand how programs operate within a wider community. It will help us better understand which organizations are open to collaboration with the circus arts and which ones may need additional outreach.

Which (if any) professional organizations are you a member of?
This question should help us understand where and how different circus programs and companies interact with the performance, arts, and educational industries.

Circus Performance

How many circus performances have you put on in the last 12 months?
This question will help us understand how prevalent circus performance is and provide information for future comparison to other performing arts and other live performances.

Approximately, how many total audience members have attended performances put on by your circus company or organization in the last 12 months?
This question should give us an idea of how many people circus performance reaches.

What percentage of those performances have been done in collaboration with other circus companies or organizations?
This question hopes to clarify potential overlap with circus companies who contract with each other to put on a performance.

Circus Education Programs

Within all your circus education programs, approximately how many unduplicated participants have you had…
This question should help us demonstrate the impact of education programs on communities. It should also help us understand how many individuals participate in circus arts.

Within the last 12 months, what was the average number of hours attended by each participant?
The above question should demonstrate how much circus instruction participants receive on average. It should also show how much instruction is available. These questions can also be used to understand the differences between programs that do a lot for a few and programs that do a little for many.

Youth Circus Training Details

For which of the following circus skills do you offer training?
We’d like to know more about the market demand for specific skills and which ones are part of the next generation of circus training.

What other relevant or unlisted skills do you offer?
We know we’re missing certain circus skills in our list. We’d like to know what other skills programs connect with circus programs.

Which of the skills that you teach are increasing/decreasing in demand?
We’d like to know how market demands are shifting for circus skill training.

What percentage of financial resources for your circus education program are allocated to the following areas of youth circus training?
We’d like to know what the demand is for groups of skills. We’d also like to look at the relative needs for different types of circus training.

What skills (listed or unlisted) or skill levels have been requested that you are unable to add at this time?
We’d like to know where circus training has opportunity to grow if given sufficient resources.

How does your enrollment this year compare to the last two years?
We’d like to know how circus youth training is faring and where demand is increasing and decreasing.

What percentage of your youth circus programs offer opportunities to perform?
We’d like to know how many programs link training to skill performance.

For school-year programs, are the majority of your youth performances in-house or off-site?
This question will help us compare programs which rely on bringing audiences to them and programs which move performers to their audiences.

For programs that offer camps, is your program a day camp, a sleepaway, or both?
This program will help us better understand the context in which campers are learning skills, particularly around immersion and resource allocation.


Do you have insurance?
We’d like to know how prevalent the practice is as well as variations in usage for different sectors and areas of circus.

Is it specifically for circus arts?
* If not, what category is it listed under (sports, movement, dance, theater)?
We hope to use this question to understand how different companies and organizations categorize their activities when partnering with insurance.

Are you happy with your insurance?
We hope to get an initial idea for where insurance is operating as expected and which sectors could use additional information and resources in navigating insurance.

Final Questions

Is there anything else we should know about your company or organization related to the questions in this survey?
We hope our many diverse companies and organizations will use this question to explain anything we missed or took for granted.

Please include my company or organization name and location in a separate directory of circus companies and programs.
Selecting this option will release your name and general location (city and state) in a separate directory.

Please add me to the AYCO/ACE mailing list
Selecting this option and providing a subsequent email will add you to the AYCO/ACE mailing lists and allow us to send you additional information about survey results and other AYCO/ACE announcements.


Circus education program – a program that teaches circus skills.

De-identified – making a set of data anonymous.

Unduplicated participants – the number of unique individuals participating in a program. If your attendance programs counts each attendance separately, please approximate how many individuals attend your program.

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