The Zirkusakademie Wien (Circus Academy of Vienna) offers a circus education programme and workshops in Austria.

Its two-year programme dispenses a specialisation in either circus pedagogy or circus arts, with courses mostly offered evenings and weekends. It is directed at people who will consider the programme as an addition to their profession or occupation (teachings, dancing, acting etc.), or as an enrichment to their personal development.

Apart from the two-year programme, the Zirkusakademie Wien (ZAW) offers workshops and courses accessible to the general public. These give people the opportunity to gain an insight into the world of circus, and to learn and train specific circus skills.


The ZAW as it exists today was founded in 2001. Our approach is characterized by the nouveau cirque (contemporary circus) that developed from the classical circus during the last quarter century under the influences of dance, acting and music amongst others. The ZAW is certified Wien-Cert and Ö-Cert, meeting the criteria for nationwide quality standards in adult education. In addition to this the academy is a member of the ÖBVZ (Federal Association for Circus Pedagogy in Austria) as well as the EYCO (European Youth Circus Organization).

Mission Statement Zirkusakademie Wien
Diversity guidelines

The ZAW and its alumni influence Vienna’s circus scene. Thus in 2019, graduates from the academy founded the contemporary circus collective “kaudawelsch” among others.


“Open House” at the ZAW

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Ruth Schleicher from the Zirkusakademie Wien was interviewed by gift: zeitschrift für freie theaterarbeit, tanz und performance

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Strong circus women in the Standard on 6.4.2022 😉 !

Starke Zirkusfrauen damals und heute

Two-year programme

The two-year programme provides the foundation in techniques of contemporary circus: acting, acrobatics, dance, and in the more classical arts such as juggling, balancing and aerials. The programme consists of 840 credits (Unterrichtseinheiten/UE). A working knowledge of German is necessary for the courses, written works and communications could be carried out in English.

A new programme starts in October of every year.

Zirkusakademie Wien-Flyer


Allgemeine Geschäftsbedingungen

The programme follows the general university calendar in Austria (October to January and March to June).

During the two years participants are expected to take part in two weekly courses, one in the field of Acrobatics and Aerials, and the other in the field of Juggling and Balancing. Intensive workshops on some weekends, to which external participants may sometimes take part, will also be regularly scheduled.

For further information, please read our brochure and use our website’s request form:



These courses form part of the curriculum specific to the two-year programme. They offer the possibility to provide an insight into the different circus disciplines, as well as acquiring new skills based on the students’ personal abilities/capabilities. They are mostly taught by our regular instructors.

Physical Theatre

Classical-illusionist-technique, body work/physical training, sensitization, dramatization of scenes, (theatrical) play in a group and alone, invisible theatre, street theatre.


Creative theatre out of nothing, group games and working on scenes, exercises on attentiveness and perception, exercises on flexibility and spontaneity.

Clowning Arts

Collecting personal experiences in the art of failure, finding the clown within yourself.


Scarves, balls (throwing, contact and partner juggling), rings, clubs (juggling and manipulation, passing), diabolo, devil sticks.


Basic balancing of objects, Chinese plates, tight wire and slack wire, unicycle, rola bola, walking globes, stilts.


Basic body control (exercises on physical tension/muscle tone, physical mobilization, strengthening and stretching), floor acrobatics (individual, partner and group acrobatics, health and security).


Trapeze, aerial silks, aerial ring, aerial rope, trampoline (basic jumps, introduction to the Russian bar, introduction to the teeter board).

Self-organised set

Focusing on personal core training area.

Specialisation available

1. Circus pedagogy

Theory: pedagogical principles, observation and reflection.
Practice with children, teenagers and adults: coaching/supervising, warm-ups, instructing games, health and security.

2. Circus arts

Theoretical concepts of circus theatre, development of a performance/number/act, development of choreographies with children and teenagers, participation in a circus or theatre production.

Class schedule

The two-year programme of the Zirkusakademie Wien includes regular courses in the areas of acrobatics and aerials, juggling and balancing as well as physical theatre. These are only offered to the regular students.
Each semester the detailed class schedule is sent directly to all programme participants.

Module Acrobatics and Aerials

Gym Turninsel Schulschiff
Donauinselplatz 1
1210 Vienna
Tue, 18:00 – 21:00
Start: 5.3.2024
Last course unit: 25.6.2024

Module Juggling and Balancing

Gym BAfEP8
Lange Gasse 47
1080 Vienna
Mon, 18:00 – 19:30
Mon, 19:45 – 21:15
Start: 4.3.2024
Last course unit: 10.6.2024

Module Physical Theatre

Gym BAfEP8
Albertgasse 38
1080 Vienna
Fri, 31.5.2024 from 17:00 to 21:00
Sat, 1.6.2024 from 09:00 to 17:00
Sun, 2.6.2024 from 09:00 to 16:00


Anyone is welcome to participate in our open/public workshops. If you aren’t a regular student of the Akademie, please register via the online request form below.


Our regular lecturers and instructors come from a variety of backgrounds and offer a wide range of circus experience. We also welcome guest instructors and artists from Europe and abroad for specialised workshops and guest lectures.

Marlies Holecek (instructor)

Freelance circus artist, pedagogue
Speciality: aerials

Martin Krinninger (instructor)

Freelance circus artist, movement pedagogue and physiotherapist
Speciality: balancing and juggling

Regina Austerer (lecturer)

Pedagogue, physical education teacher, member of Circus KAOS
Speciality: acrobatics

Roswitha Eppensteiner (instructor)

Shiatsu practitioner
Speciality: taping

Ruth Schleicher (lecturer)

Pedagogue, physical education teacher, artistic director of Circus KAOS, programme management
Speciality: balancing and juggling

Sebastian Berger (instructor)

Freelance circus artist, member of Fenfire
Speciality: object manipulation and fire juggling

Susa Siebel (instructor)

Clownette (Rote Nasen, freelance etc.), circus pedagogue, circus artist
Speciality: clowning arts

Tilmann Schleicher (lecturer)

Pedagogue, physical education teacher, physical theatre, founder of Circus KAOS, programme management
Speciality: acting and physical theatre

Timo Niermann (instructor)

Freelance circus artist, author of the book “Collaborating Backstage”
Speciality: hand to hand, theory

Walter Holecek (instructor)

Freelance circus artist
Speciality: aerials


We are a team of dedicated people committed to the advancement of the circus arts in Austria. Don’t hesitate to get a hold of us, we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

Zirkusakademie Wien

Wiener Gasse 6/2/5
A-1210 Wien
Tel.: +43 650 278 9655
ZVR-Zahl: 289461085