Starting points

– Circus artists and companies need to face present challenges and social expectations.
– Circus must get back and maintain its credibility.
– Quality discrepancies must be screened in order to distinguish between good, average and substandard circus companies.
– Circus stands for values and principles which must be clearly demonstrated by a transparent, operational and credible business approach. It is precisely such transparency that can enhance the credibility of circuses, together with a basis for a reliable policy and corporate image.
– The BTL-project is open for all type of circuses – therefore it could build a common platform for the divided circus industry.

Main and fundamental goals of the Big Top Label

– To recognize and accept differences between high quality- and poorer quality circuses
– To warrant that the circus concerned complies with all legal and social requirements, while providing the audience with a high-value artistic experience.
– To develop a strong partnership with the tourism sector and to set up effective promotion for the assessed and recognized circuses.
– To put circus quality assurance on an official European level.
– To build a common platform for all types of circuses and artists to cooperate, learn from each other and ensure the quality of their art.


1) Registration at Chamber of Commerce or similar (e.g. tax number)
2) Permanent address and/or winter quarters
3) Free from known cases of breaking contracts, unpaid wages, etc.
If applicable:
4) License according to national laws
5) Permanent winter quarter with adequate stables

Total prerequisites (any “no” = no quality evaluation)

Quality of the Framework
1) Exterior impression (vehicles, box office, entrance, fences etc)
2) Condition and comfort of seating (individual chairs, benches etc.)
3) Availability and condition of sanitary facilities for audience/personal
4) Outfit, attitude and friendliness of box office, ushers and riggers
5) Value for money (vs. average price per ticket, adults and children)
6) Advertising, information & public relations (incl. online ticketing etc.)
If applicable:
7) Condition of transportation vehicles, stables and paddocks
8) Open doors policy with access to stables and public training

Quality of the Show
1) Overall impression of the show (appreciation by the audience)
2) Acrobatic acts (e.g. festival winners, special tricks etc.)
3) Clowning and/or comedy
4) Set design, design of costumes and props
5) Light and sound system and effects
6) Music
If applicable:
7) Animal friendly and entertaining presentation
8) Healthy and well maintained appearance

(1– very poor; 2 – poor; 3 – acceptable; 4 – appropriate; 5 – exemplary)

Grand total (B + C / 2)
The final score must be over 4 to get the BTL-certification