For those who would like to learn more about circus psychology, I have listed some of my favorite relevant resources below.

My top three circus psychology scientific publications (for my own publications, see here):

  1. Ross, A., & Shapiro, J. (2017). Under the big top: An exploratory analysis of psychological factors influencing circus performers. Performance enhancement & health5(3), 115-121. This paper provides general insight into the mental side of circus arts. Find it here.
  2. Donohue, B., et al. (2018). Empirical development of a screening method for mental, social, and physical wellness in amateur and professional circus artists. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts. This study examines mental, social, and physical health of artists in two circus settings (circus school, professional circus). Find it here.
  3. Filho, E., Aubertin, P.,  & Petiot, B. (2016). The making of expert performers at Cirque du Soleil and the National Circus School: A performance enhancement outlook, Journal of Sport Psychology in Action, 7, 68-79. This paper describes observations and reflections of a sport psychologist who visited Cirque du Soleil and the National Circus School in Montreal. Find it here

My top three books/chapters for circus psychologist (for my own book, see here):

  1. Fisher, L.A., & Ménard, J. F. (2016). Chapter 20: From the sport world to the big top. Jean Francois Ménard’s journey with Cirque du Soleil.  In: Psychology in professional sports and the performing arts: challenges and strategies. This book chapter discusses the lessons learned by a circus psychologist while working at Cirque du Soleil. Essential reading for any psychologists working with circus artists. Find it here.
  2. Tait, P., & Lavers, K. (2016). The routledge circus studies reader. Routledge: New York. This textbook provides an up to date overview about the origin, history, culture, and sociology of traditional and contemporary circus. This is essential background information for those working in the circus industry. Find it here.
  3. Babinski, T., & Manchester, K. (2004). Cirque Du Soleil: 20 Years Under the Sun: an Authorized History. Harry N. Abrams. This book presents the history of Cirque du Soleil, contains beautiful pictures, and tells insightful stories about professionals in the circus industry. The book is currently out of stock, but second-hand copies are sold on various websites.

Relevant websites:

  1. – this website is a collaboration between circus arts resource centres and researchers. It includes an archive which contains published and unpublished research in circus (in French and English).
  2. – this is the website of the Australian Society for Performing Arts Healthcare. In the ‘resources’ section of this website, you can find evidence based information aimed at helping performers manage and maintain their own mental and physical health. It includes guides to assist performing artists with common health challenges, interviews with healthcare practitioners, videos from conferences and webinar recordings.
  3. – an excellent resource for news, networking, and a general insight into the circus industry.
  4. – this is dr. Emily Scherb’s website, she is a North American physiotherapist who specializes in circus. Her book ‘applied anatomy of aerial arts’ is a useful resource for those eager to learn more about how the body works in aerial acrobatics (relevant for injury prevention).

Girl reading book upside down in lyra