The Rise of Circotica: Rebuilding an urban circus company in post-earthquake Christchurch

Author: Danny Syme

The Rise of Circotica: Rebuilding an urban circus company in post-earthquake Christchurch

Danny Syme
8 August 2018

Syme, D.L. (2018). The Rise of Circotica: Rebuilding an urban circus company in post-earthquake Christchurch. A thesis submitted in conformity with the requirements for the degree of Master of Professional Practice [PDF 2.1MB]


This research is presented in three sections: The first section explains the creative-arts mixed methodology and establishes some background context for the motivation of this research. My resources include two key texts from which I derive vital management information. There are also three important interviews from my research and development travels in Australia.

The second section provides an overview of our journey to secure public arts-funding and opening a circus school and training facility in post-quake Christchurch. It contains info on the design of Circotica curriculum, management strategies, and addresses some of the issues we experienced as a start-up business making its way to sustainability.

The third section concentrates on the rise of Circotica, reflecting on its development and my roles as creative director. The interviews with circus directors and organisations in Australia provide an insight into the contemporary climate of the circus industry and valuable information for the direction of Circotica as a company and school into the future.

In order to represent my journey/narrative in storyform this research progresses chronologically from circa 2011 to the present, however, there is some time-frame overlap between the sections herein.

Key words: Circus; Performing arts; Business; Creative industries.

This research was supervised by Trish Franklin.


This thesis is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives licence CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 International.

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