Circus Performer

Circus Artist

Minimum Not specific

Experience of performing before an audiences

The tasks a Circus Performer is expected to perform include:

Performing various specialty acts, based on some uniquely developed talent, tricks of illusion and spectacular physical feats in circuses and on theatrical stages

Entertaining the audience through mimicry, comedy, etc.

Ability to perform various specialty acts, based on some uniquely developed talent, tricks of illusion and spectacular physical feats in circuses and on theatrical stages

Ability to entertain the audience through comedy, mimicry, actions etc.

Will be updated

Risk taking attitude

Sense of humour

Quick witted

Presence of mind


Stage Presence


Physically demanding and mobile job

Need not handle a team

Travelling is a part of the job

Part-time work and contractual jobs are available

Work from home option is not available

Working hours
Working hours vary depending on the number of shows per day and the time allocated for the act

Is the job suitable for a candidate with special needs?Yes

This job is considered highly dangerous

Health requirements include physical fitness and body flexibility

Occupational hazards include physical injuries

For freshers:INR100 toINR300 per day

For experienced performers:INR500 toINR1,000 per day

(These figures are indicative and subject to change)

Faced with mass media competition and spirited opposition from animal and children's rights activists, the traditional circus has fallen on hard times, and nowhere more so than India where the 50 travelling troupes of the 70?s have now been reduced to 8 or 9.

?Today, we badly need the support from government and corporate sponsors to keep this age old art of circus in India alive. In the absence of conducive atmosphere and necessary amenities for survival, this business continues to be in the red," said Sujit Dilip, owner of the two-decade-old ?Rambo" circus who is also member of Indian Circus Federation and European Circus Association (ECA).

?The decade-long ban on lions and tigers in circus has dealt a body blow to the industry as despite our best efforts to enhance the content of human acrobatics to make for the absence of wild animals, the entertainment vacuum remains?, he added.

Another drawback the circus owners were experiencing in their country-wide travel was the absence of reserved grounds in urban areas providing basic amenities for erecting tents and camping for the artistes and animals?, Dilip said.

Even factors like extended spells of rains due to an erratic and changing climate is adversely affecting the circus business, Dilip said, adding the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack too had resulted in a scare among people who prefer to keep their children away from crowded and closed places like a circus tent.

A 2009 amendment to the Child Labour Act (1986) proscribed training of children below 14 in circuses. "It is impossible to begin teaching acrobats at the age of 16 or 18," says Jairaj, 65, Great Bombay Circus gymnastics coach.

For most of the artists, Circus is not a profession of choice, but of compulsion. "For us, it was a way to get out of the village, see the cities and make money. But very soon we saw that the life was hard and the owners were so dominating, it was like being a bonded labourer on the rice field," says Malini Nair (name changed), a former tightrope walker who now works as a 'junior artiste' in small-budget Hindi films.

?The Indian culture looks down upon circuses. Even in TV shows, when there is chaos, someone says ?stop this circusin a derogatory manner, which really hurts us?, says another circus performing artist.

Another reason why artists do not choose the profession is the lack of safety and future security. Most circus companies send you back without even compensation once you have met with an accident and can no longer perform," says Vaniarackal Balakrishanan, 49, who was once a flying trapeze artiste with the Kamala Circus. Packed off home after his crippling accident while performing in Ujjain in 1977, Balakrishanan now runs a sweet shop in Thalassery.

But, despite the not so rosy scenario, Dilip hopes that the swings, acrobatics, the elephants, dogs, camels, and the daredevil in the ring of death along with that eternal symbol of merry laughter - the clown - would keep the show alive and going.


Circus companies

Opportunities exist all over India