The Women & Circus group is proud to launch a database of websites pertaining to our mission statement! The database offers links to associations, schools, related articles and events that would be of interest to the female circus entrepreneur and practitioner as well as the circus enthusiast.

Please feel free to share the database with the community and email any contributions or suggestions to Women & Circus Team Member, Jane Kirby.



Alliance of women coaches – Organization promoting the development of women coaches.

Bust! Circus Intensive for Women (Wise Fool New Mexico) – An annual workshop for a diverse group of adult women to explore their physical and inner strength while building trust and community.

Circus for Survivors – Circus programming designed for survivors of cancer and their friends.

Circus Oz’s Strong Women Program – A dedicated pathway within Australian company Circus Oz to foster the development of women circus performers.

Gan-e-meed theatre project  – Created in order to advance the role of women in theatre

Flyaway Productions – Aerial apparatus-based dance performance company exploring female physicality and bridging the gap between women in the arts and civic life.

Girl Circus – A young female performance training center and troupe based in Portland, Oregon that offers performance opportunities to young girls through a circus camp.

GIRLFLY Arts and Activism Apprenticeship Program (Flyaway Productions) – A paid arts apprenticeship program for young women from the Bay area to explore contemporary and aerial dance and carry out an activist project in the community.

Girls on Trapeze – Girls on Trapeze is a theatrical circus company that explores social themes through movement, acrobatics and story telling. Their show, ‘Herself Rising’ examines the lasting effects of historical stereotypes on women and the roles that women play in their own lives and in support of each other.

Gynoïdes Project – An artistic operation that raises and examines the question of women agency in circus art. The project engages in a female-centred circus making and seeks to describe and produce feminist strategies in circus composition.

L’Association Cirque de Femmes – A female circus association that strives to promote and develop the practice of circus from a feminist perspective.

La Centrale Galerie Powerhouse: its mission “expands on a history of feminist art practices and engages a broader spectrum of underrepresented artists and their initiatives within established art institutions.”

Ou Sont Les Femmes – A website dedicate to French women who work in the cultural milieu

Performing Older Women’s Circus – A collective of older women who train and perform in circus while challenging ageism and promoting feminist perspectives.

Poet.She Female Performing Arts –NC-based organization founded on the basis that women’s voices need to be more visible within the performing arts.

Red Pearl Women’s Clown Festival – Clown Festival that brings renowned female clowns to Finland and Sweden.

Tangle Movement Arts – All-female aerial dance theatre company based in Philadelphia.

The Los Angeles Women’s Theater Project: Nonprofit organization dedicated to the education, support, promotion and production of live performance projects that are of interest and benefit to women.

The National Association of Women Artists – The oldest women’s fine arts organization in the U.S.

Vulcana Women’s Circus – An Australian circus company that uses circus as a community development tool through workshops and performances, and which sees circus as a tranformational tool that can empower women.

Washington Performing Arts Women’s Committee – Comprised of women advocating for the performing arts in Washington.

What Girls Know – The New Orleans Contemporary Arts Association – A highly unique theatre program created especially for adolescent girls.

Women’s Circus – A female performance group that trains women and offers them the opportunity to advance into professional careers.

Women Technical Production Commission – Networking and mentoring opportunities for women working in the technical side of theatre.


10 female juggling stars of the past (ejuggle magazine) – Article profiling several historical women jugglers.

A Bearded Lady Talks About Life Under the Big Top – Article about Jennifer Miller, founder of Circus Amok

A Mirror-Like Pool of Ink: The New Woman in Carter’s Night at the Circus – Article exploring the feminist implications of Angela Carter’s classic book.

Barnum and Bailey exhibit ‘Ladies in the Ring’ – Article about an exhibit of circus posters featuring female performers, and how their representations changed alongside societal ideals.

Bird Millman: High Wire Artist – Two articles about the celebrated high wire artist.

Born to fly, Not to walk – An article about rope artist Erin Clark, who has partial paralysis and excels in the air.

Circus coach Chimgee Haltarhuu opens up about painful past – The circus coach talks about growing up in a male-dominated society.

Circus Girl Magazine – A circus news source featuring articles, events, insider tips and more.

Clown History: Early Female Clowns – Blog post dispelling the myth that female clowns are a recent phenomenon.

Disappearing the feminine in aerial performance – An academic article by cultural theorist Peta Tait.

Effect of juggling therapy on anxiety disorders in female patients – An academic article which found that juggling can help reduce anxiety. Citation from Simply Circus: 

Essential Resources for Women in the Performing Arts – An article aiming to help bridge the gap between men and women in the performing arts. With links to additional relevant resources.

Feature on Amaluna – A feature article on the female-focused Cirque du Soleil show.

Female Clowning: The Place of Women in the Clown World – A conference paper exploring the role of women in clown work. Citation from Simply Circus: 

Holding People Up: How An All-Female Acrobat Troupe Saved Me – A personal narrative about a queer woman who found personal strength through participating in circus.

How Trapeze classes can lift women out of depression – How aerial classes can give women a symbolic boost to help them cope.

Interview with Jennifer Miller: The Bearded Lady – An interview with the founder of Circus Amok.

Letting Yourself Go – A blog post by a young aerialist learning to cope after an injury.

Les Femmes dans le Cirque Contemporain – Article about the place of women in contemporary circus work.

Les Femmes sont-elles des clowns comme les autres – Article asking why our societal representations of clowns are so often male.

Lillian Leitzel, The High-Flying ‘Queen’ Of The Circus – Article and audio about the famed trapeze artist.

Maria Spelterini – The first and only woman to cross Niagara River gorge on a tight rope.

Other Notable Women Jugglers – A list of important women jugglers from Juggler’s World.

Sequins under the Big Top: Women in the Australian circus – Academic article about women circus performers in Australia. Citation from Simply Circus: 

Strong Women in History – A historical article about German aerialist Luisita Leers.

Twisted Bodies: Aspects of Female Contortionism in the Letters of a Connoisseur – Academic article examining the spectacular and perverse attraction of flexible bodies. Citation from Simply Circus.

“Work that Body”: Precarity and Femininity in the New Economy – Academic article exploring pole fitness as exemplifying women’s “freedom” on the one hand, and women’s precarious labour within a capitalist economy, on the other. Citation from Simply Circus.


Rethinking the Political: Art, Work and the Body in the Contemporary Circus – A thesis drawing on firsthand experiences of circus artists, focusing on the embodiment of the form and how artists navigate the tension between art and labour.

Women who Fly: Female Aerialists in Modernity (1880 – 1930) – A thesis exploring how women aerialists navigated their personal aspirations and the demands of managers and spectators, and how female aerialists opened up space for creative resistance.



Aerial Dance

Ambiguous Subjects: Dissolution and Metamorphosis in the Postmodern Sublime. (Genus: Gender in Modern Culture)

Casting Gender: Women and Performance in Intercultural Contexts (Critical Intercultural Communication Studies)

Circus Bodies: Cultural Identity in Aerial Performance  – Presents a historical analysis of changing bodily representations within aerial acts alongside changing social ideas about gender and sexuality.

Female Pleasure and Muscular Arms in Touring Trapeze Acts – Book Chapter in “Victorian Traffic: Identity, Exchange, Performance”

Rings of Desire: Circus History and Representation – An introduction to the cultural history of circus as an intensely embodied and distinctly modern form.

The C-Word: A Story About the Effects of Cancer  Author Jean Taylor, a founding member of the Performing Women’s Circus (POW) writes in diary format over 3 years about her partners diagnosis, treatment and ultimate death from ovarian cancer. Her partner Maureen (Maurs) O’Connor worked as the head technician in the circus and then successfully performed as a clown. Her commitment to this role delayed her hospitalization so that she could appear in the POW’s Circus production of “Still Revolting” in 1996.

Women & Circus

Women’s Circus: Leaping off the Edge – The story of the jugglers, acrobats, tricksters, aerialists, technicians, administrators, musicians, designers, and trainers involved in a community theatre project that was created to work with survivors of sexual assault and performed at the World Women’s Conference in Beijing in 1995.

Historical Non-Fiction

Circus Queen and Tinker Bell: The Memoir of Tiny Kline

Queen of the Air

The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb

The Circus Age: Culture and Society under the American Big Top

The Clown in You

The Final Confessions of Mabel Stark

The Lives and Loves of Daisy and Violet Hilton

Venus with Biceps: A Pictorial History of Muscular Women

Wire Dancing A book of poems using circus as drama and risk at its central metaphor.” Right now there is a paragraph, and as most of the books don’t have any description at all I think this is too long. Also, I think this entry should be moved to the Fiction category.

Women of the American Circus 1880-1940
Book which tells the story of women during the heyday of American circus, starting with societal representations and ending with stories told by circus women.


Clown Girl: A Novel

Nights at the Circus – Classic postfeminist novel by Angela Carter.


eWomenNetwork – Connects women business owners and corporate professionals.

Creative Capital – Offers grants to individuals in the Performing & Visual Arts, Film/Video, Literature, and Emerging Fields.

National Performance Network – A national organization supporting artists in the creation and touring of contemporary performing and visual arts.

Plum Alley: Where Women Raise Money – A crowdfunding platform that supports female artists

Scholarships For Women: Art – Listing of support available for women pursuing education in the arts.

Scholarships For Women: Entrepreneurs – Lists grants available for women looking to start their own business.

Women Arts: database listing organizations that fund individuals in the Performing Arts (various disciplines including emerging fields).


Amaluna: Cirque du Soleil
Amaluna invites the audience to a mysterious island governed by Goddesses and guided by the cycles of the moon.

Animus Femina: Erika Lemay
A journey into the soul of femininity through the arts of aerial acrobatics, contortion, theatrical interpretation, contemporary dance and visual new technologies.

Aurelia’s Oratoria: Victoria Thierrée Chaplin with Aurelia Thierrée
Aurelia’s Oratorio is inspired by the magic of music hall, variety and circus, conjuring a concoction of theatrical mystery and dream-bound delirium.

Je Suis parce que Nous Sommes/ I am because We Are: Geneviève Bessette & Marshall Garfield
A one woman show, interpreted by Geneviève Bessette explores the captivating and endearing landscape of the feminine presence in our lives.

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