Audition For Smirkus

Audition for the Big Top Tour


Are you a gymnast, clown, dancer, juggler or physical theater performer looking to have the summer of a lifetime with a real circus? Read below for your opportunity to become a Circus Smirkus trouper.


2023 Tour Applications are now closed.

 Who should apply:
The 2023 Big Top Tour is seeking applications from youth performers between the ages of 10 and 18. While circus experience is preferred, we accept applicants of many backgrounds including gymnastics, tumbling, juggling, theater and dance. If you have excellent stage presence, strong teamwork skills, and are interested in gaining more insight and experience in performing, we encourage you to apply!

To be eligible for the Big Top Tour, troupers must be 18 or younger on July 1st. Troupers are eligible to participate in the Big Top Tour until they turn 19 (on or before July 1st), or the summer following their graduation from high school, whichever comes first.

All applicants must submit a video audition and application form. The directors and coaches are seeking performers who have the potential to become exemplary Smirkos: candidates who can demonstrate fluency and dedicated practice in their chosen discipline(s), a strong work ethic, a positive and generous spirit, and a passion for circus.

Circus Smirkus celebrates all types of peoples, cultures, and skills to showcase the multifaceted triumph of human abilities, particularly among our youth population. Joining Circus Smirkus – as a participant, an employee, a volunteer, or an audience member – means you belong. And to all who join, Smirkus asks for you to embrace our values and to help us create joy and magic for everyone who encounters a Smirkus program. We commit to providing everyone equal opportunity to shine— both in and out of the ring.

 There are two rounds to the audition process:
Round 1. The initial application with video requirement (as outlined below). The application includes a google form, video, and 2 letters of recommendation. CLOSED on November 1, 2022 at 11:59 PM ET.

Round 2. The live audition. Applicants from round 1 who are selected for round 2 will receive an invitation to the in-person audition to be held in Brattleboro, VT on January 20-22, 2023. Invitations to the live audition with all the details will be sent the week of November 21, 2022. Alternate arrangements can be made for auditionees who cannot make it in person.

 Application Video Requirements:
Your application video needs to be submitted using an online source such as YouTube or Vimeo. YouTube will give you the option to mark it as a private, public or unlisted video. Please make it UNLISTED. The total video should be no longer than 5 minutes.

The directors and coaches are seeking candidates who can demonstrate fluency and dedicated practice in their chosen discipline(s), a strong work ethic, a positive and generous spirit, and a passion for circus. Be proud, be brave and most of all, be YOURSELF!

Your video should include letting us know who you are:
  • Tell us your name, pronouns, and age.
  • How did you find out about Circus Smirkus?
  • What do you hope to get out of this unique experience?
  • Please tell us about your previous circus training and/or relevant experience (gymnastics, dance, theater, etc).
  • What could you add to our circus ring?
  • Your ability to get along with others and your willingness to work are just as important as your circus skills. How have you demonstrated these attributes?

Include a display of your talents (i.e. aerials, acrobatics, clowning, wire walking, juggling, etc.)

  • Show off your personality as well as many of your circus skills.
  • Showcase your skill sets in an act or pick and choose your favorite and best tricks in a fun and entertaining way.
  • If you wish to be considered for aerials – please show us a minimum of 5 pull ups, 5 pull overs plus any other strength exercises you would like to showcase.


  1. Our decision will NOT be based upon the professional quality of your video but rather on the talent you display, the personality you show, and the potential we see.
  2. If in your video you are performing with another person or as part of a group act make sure you identify yourself in the video. As an example, you could add a voice over “I am the juggler with the orange striped pants” or “I am the one on the left.”
  3. Please submit your video in landscape format (hold your phone sideways to record horizontally).

If you have technical issues with uploading your video to YouTube or Vimeo please feel free to reach out to and let us know.

DO NOT WAIT UNTIL THE FINAL DAY TO UPLOAD YOUR VIDEO. It often takes longer than you might expect and technical issues pop up.

 Important Dates for the 2023 Big Top Tour:

  • Application Deadline: All 2023 Big Top Tour applications must be submitted by November 1, 2022 at 11:59 PM EST. The 2023 applications are now closed.
  • Town Hall Meeting: We hosted a Zoom Town Hall Meeting for interested applicants with Smirkus staff to answer any questions October 20 at 7:30 pm ET. If you have questions, please email
  • Live AuditionRound 2 auditions will be in person on January 20-22, 2023 in Brattleboro, VTAlternate arrangements can be made for auditionees who cannot make it to the live audition.
  • Tour 2023: The program will begin in June 2023 and run until mid-August 2023. Anticipated drop-off date is June 10, 2023 and pick-up on August 20, 2023. (The dates will be finalized in the spring.) 

 Tuition & Scholarships:
Tuition will be in $9,000, with scholarships available. Tuition cost covers training, housing, food, uniforms and coaching costs for the program. No one is denied participation because of financial need. If you are accepted into the troupe, you may apply for scholarship aid at that time. As part of our continued work in removing barriers to access in our organization, we have ended our practice of requiring audition fees.

 2023 Covid-19 Policies:
Circus Smirkus requires proof of up-to-date vaccination (including boosters as recommended by CDC) against Covid-19 with a CDC or WHO authorized vaccine for all staff, campers, and troupers. Additional Covid-19 protocols will be updated based on current public health guidelines, and are subject to change following state and/or local ordinance, guidance from the CDC, and at the discretion of Circus Smirkus for the health and safety of our participants and staff. You may want to use our 2022 guidelines for reference as you plan for this coming summer.

We recommend that if you plan to apply for the Big Top Tour, but are also interested in Smirkus Camp, that you make sure to apply for Smirkus Camp as camp sessions tend to fill quickly.

  • The 2023 Smirkus Camp registration opens November 15, 2022 here:
  • You will be asked to create a placement video for the following camp sessions: Road Show, Intermediate Skills Intensive, Advanced Ensemble, and Advanced Individual Acts.
  • You may apply to these sessions now. To be considered in the first round of reviews, please submit your application by November 1, 2022. The first round of acceptance notifications will go out in late November 2022. For applications submitted later, expect to hear from us approximately 2 weeks after the submission is completed.
  • You may use your tour application video for the camp placement video. 
  • If you are accepted to the Big Top Tour, any deposits made to Smirkus Camp will be applied to your tour tuition.
  • Join our Town Hall for Placement Camps on October 10, 7:30 PM ET: register here.

Click here to fill out a Placement-Based Camp Application (this is not for tour).

A video submission is part of the audition application process. Watch the video above to see some excerpts of past year’s submissions – as you can see, home videos are fine and professional quality is not required.