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No Clowning Around: Philadelphia School of Circus Arts Moves, Expands

The school's new home is a former church in Mount Airy.

The Philadelphia School of Circus Arts has moved to a bigger, grander home — part of an ambitious expansion that includes a new vocational circus school.


The school moved less than a mile, from Rittenhouse Street in Germantown to the former St. Madeleine Sophie Church on Greene Street, at the edge of Mount Airy. But the new location is ushering in a new era for the program.


Photograph courtesy of PSCA

For starters, there’s a lot more space: more than 28,000 square feet. And the main performance space, in the old church sanctuary, has grand ceilings that are more than 40 feet high. The school’s offerings will grow to more than 100 classes each week for kids and adults, starting at age 18 months and ranging from basic clowning and tumbling skills to high-flying acrobatics and parkour.


The school also runs a summer camp program, which ended September 1 — the day the purchase of the church went through. Campers and school staff paraded from the old space to the new one, kicking off the Labor Day weekend move-in.


The opening of the new location also marks the true birth of Circadium, the first state-licensed professional circus school in the country. The three-year program will grant a degree in circus arts, and prepare performers to join one of the increasingly popular troupes around the nation and the world. The first students are already enrolled.


Photograph by Gwyneth K. Shaw

“We have gone from one-on-one classes in my home to becoming the regional center for all things circus arts. We are proud to grow, expand and enter new territory at the same time as the region’s interest in circus arts continues to grow by leaps and bounds,” PSCA and Circadium executive director Shana Kennedy said in a press release. “Circus arts are now ingrained in the fabric of our region’s arts and culture community. We are proud to have helped make that happen and we look forward to the opportunity to help define what circus means to a whole new generation.”


The new space is adjacent to the Upsal stop of SEPTA’s Chestnut Hill West Regional Rail line and also has a parking lot, making it easier for students from around the region to come for classes.


Fall classes are going on now, and include a drop-in option for those who’d like to try it out. Visit the school’s website for more information.


The Philadelphia School of Circus Arts is at 6452 Greene St., Philadelphia.



Feature photograph courtesy of the Philadelphia School of Circus Arts. 




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