The Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Clown College
The Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Clown College is a famous performing arts school. There is no accredited university dedicated solely to clowning, but there are several colleges offering degrees in the circus arts.
The most famous clown college was The Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Clown College. It trained around 1,400 clowns between 1968 to 1997 and notable alumni include Penn Jillette and Stephen “Steve-O” Glover.
Auditions are still held for the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Clown College. There are few details about the actual education or school, but talented students hope for a chance to be a clown in one of the most famous circuses in history.
A short video about who might be a good fit for Clown College.
Circus Arts Education
You may not be able to get a degree in clowning specifically, but you can take courses in clowning while you earn a degree in Circus Arts. The National Institute of Circus Arts in Australia opened in 1999 and offers a Bachelor of Circus Arts. The National Center for Circus Arts in London also offers a variety of certifications and degrees in circus arts. In the US, the Circus Conservatory of America of Portland, Maine has been trying to establish itself and gain accreditation since 2013, but is not yet fully established.
Russia boasts the world’s first state-run circus arts training facility which opened in 1929 and it continues to offer free circus arts education for Russian citizens. Europeans are also welcome, but for a price. At the Moscow State Circus, circus arts are treated seriously, akin to ballet or opera.
A 1996 documentary about Moscow State Circus.