Safety Program


“To establish specific guidelines that will help promote, encourage and foster better safety and risk management practices as related to circus arts by creating a system that recognizes circus spaces that demonstrate a continued commitment to better safety practices as based on ACE’s guidelines.”

Click here to complete the intake form!

What is the Safety Program?

The ACE Safety Program is a low cost consultation process with an industry expert to help your program or school better manage the inherent risks associated with circus arts.

After your consultation process is complete and you’ve made any necessary adjustments to your practices, your organization, program or teacher training will become a member of the Circus Arts Safety Network!

Click here to watch a short introductory video about the Safety Program.

Click here to watch a 40 minute presentation from the 2020 EdCon which more thoroughly outlines the Safety Program and the Circus Arts Safety Network.

What are the possible fees?

Organizations are required to be a current ACE organizational member in order to apply or renew.

One-time application administration fee: $100 (includes intake form review, consultant assignment, and program application assistance)

Initial virtual site visit: $550 (includes materials review, 2 hour live virtual site visit, 5 hours of program observation, and 6 month follow up)

Once a recognized member of the Circus Arts Safety Network, there is a yearly $225 renewal fee to maintain that status. Renewal includes an annual review and 6-month check in call.

If your facility or program model changes significantly at some point (moving to a completely new space, converting or expanding to a completely new type of programming, etc) you may be required to have another virtual site visit so your consultant can review and verify the major changes. Additional Virtual Site Visit: $400.

Fill out the intake form to get started!

What am I paying for?

70% of your fees go directly towards your safety consultant for their time, expertise, and engagement. 30% goes towards the administration, upkeep, and management of the Network.

Are there any discounts if I’m already a member of AYCO / ACE?

Yes! Gold members receive a 25% discount on site visits and free annual renewals. Silver members receive a 10% discount on site visits and annual renewals. Organizations are required to be a current ACE organizational member (at any level) in order to apply or renew.

What are the “guidelines”?

The Safety Program Guidelines are a public resource that describe in detail what ACE considers to be best practice for the management of risk in circus arts spaces and programs. The guidelines are reviewed bi-annually by the whole community at the ACE Educators Conference, and adjusted accordingly by the Safety Committee.

Click here to view the Guidelines for the Circus Arts Safety Network

Do you have to have all policies established when you apply?

No! You simply provide anything you have, note what you are working on and what needs to be done in the future, and your consultant will assist you in producing everything you need to join the Circus Arts Safety Network.

What is the renewal process like?

In order to stay current in the Network, you will commit to notifying your consultant if anything major changes in your space or operations and to having a once per year consultation phone call check up.

What other benefits are there to being a Safety Network member?

Network members are invited to a one-hour Safety Network zoom call which takes place quarterly and is hosted by members of the Safety Committee. It is an opportunity for members to check in, ask safety and risk management related questions, share resources, hear about what’s happening in the industry, and learn from one another.

Safety Network members also receive a 20% discount to Delbert Hall’s Aerial Rigging Course.

What are people saying about the program?

“The ACE Safety Program is a huge asset to the national circus community. Getting circus studios around the country all on the same page in terms of safety-specific industry standards and best practices is a huge and important task, and this program tackles it kindly and successfully. I strongly encourage all studio owners to go through the process!”

-Carly Schuna, Madison Circus Space

“I appreciate the high standards that ACE holds for circus arts. As the circus community continues to grow, it’s important to have rules and regulations in place that promote safe practices of this art form. I’m proud to have the Aerial Physique Teacher Training course recognized by ACE!”

-Jill Franklin, Aerial Physique Founder

“I feel like participating in the safety program made me focus on a lot of different aspects of safety that I hadn’t thought about and helped me to shape the safety policies of my program in a real way. Having to put it all in writing was a really great way to form solid policies. I also feel that the existence of the safety program is so important for our industry. Being a self reporting and monitoring industry is a great way to show that safety is our top priority. It is also really comforting to parents and participants to know that we are thinking about these things. It gives them confidence in us and me confidence to say, yes we are working in a safe way because of my background and experience and because I’ve gotten to talk through it with other circus professionals.”

-Katherine Tesch, Owner, Circus Academy of Tucson

Who developed this program?

The program was conceived and developed by a committee consisting of Adam Woolley, Jonathan Deull, Beverly Sobelman, and Elsie Smith starting in 2012. Since that time, the Safety Committee additionally did the work of reaching out to experts in all relevant fields to receive feedback on the program, as well as researching the field of certification and recognition.

While the Safety Committee does consist of some recognized experts in relevant fields, they do not claim any special status; the establishment of this project was conducted entirely as a volunteer effort by qualified people who believed that the American circus sector needed a viable third-party safety recognition program. As the program evolves, the guidelines will change with the times, and as more organizations go through the process the program will become better and stronger.

Who are the consultants?

The ACE Safety Consultants are dedicated to the community, extremely skilled at communication, and understand your program’s mission, in addition to being experts in their fields. Because our industry does not rest on certifications or formal trainings, reputation, community involvement, track record, professional career and years of experience are some of the factors considered when hiring safety consultants. To learn more about the safety consultants, click here.

Who do I contact if I have questions?

Email the program manager at!

Click here to get started!