Rigging training

Rigging Training

Aerial Edge provides rigging training in several different ways. Check our newsletter to get the dates when these classes and workshops run. You could also ask Mark if you see him in the space, or email

For our students:

  • 1-hour Introduction to Class Rigging and Safety - This one-hour free session is for students who want to learn more about safety and how to operate rigging equipment in a class. We run these sessions occasionally on a weekday evening.
  • Show Rigging/Tech for our Volunteers – those who want to gain experience of operating rigging, lighting or sound for a performance get to join the crew for one of our shows for live, on-the-job training.

For teachers and performers

  • 3-hour Introduction to Circus Rigging for Teachers and Performers – This is three-hour workshop is run on weekends for performers and anyone who rigs equipment in studios, schools etc to learn the basics of rigging for static aerial disciplines, in order to ensure their own safety and that of others. Also suitable for people who want to rig equipment at home.

For those who need to rig for themselves and others:

  • 5-day Rigging for Circus Arts course - In 2024 the content for this will be delivered over two weekends with an optional extra day for certification - Description below
  • The online course Rigging for Circus Arts (Theory) is available through Circus Rigging & Safety.

5-day Rigging for Circus Arts Course

Aerial Edge’s 5-day Rigging for Circus Arts course gives attendees hands-on experience in many of the unique aspects of circus rigging. It covers the theory and practice of rigging circus equipment and flying people in performances. The course also covers applicable regulations and methods of best practice for safe rigging for circus arts.

For 2024 this course will be delivered over 2 weekends with an extra day for certification

Target Audience

The course is aimed at anyone who would like to gain an in depth understanding of the principles of circus rigging and gain hands-on practical experience in rigging for different circus arts and types of performance.

Programme Aim

This course gives attendees the chance to learn about the different aspects of circus rigging and to gain hands on experience in applying this knowledge. Attendees will understand how to keep themselves safe during rigging operations, learn how to safely choose and rig the right equipment for the right circumstance, learn how to design and erect basic structures to support circus performers and learn the basics of how to safely fly people.

This course is not a qualification entitling attendees to perform rigging activities without the addition of significant practical experience with an experienced organisation or individual.

Programme Learning Outcomes

  • Understand static and dynamic loads and how to choose the right equipment to safely support performers
  • Understand safe working practice for rigging operations.
  • Understand the regulations and practice regarding Personal Protective Equipment and working at height
  • Know how to erect basic support structures for circus equipment and performers
  • Understand the need, the construction and the execution of rescue plans
  • Understand different methods of supporting the movements of performers in flying techniques
  • Be able to maintain rigging ,PPE and circus equipment
  • Understand best practice in maintaining documentation for the maintenance of equipment, the creation of risk assessments and method statements.

Details of Programme Structure

Each day will consist of theory and practice sessions:

Rigging for Circus Arts - Part 1

  • Day 1 am part 1: Introduction, Legislation,
  • Day 1 am part 2: Load calculations: introduction
  • Day 1 pm: Load calculations and rigging circus equipment
  • Day 2 am: Rope, knots SWR, terminations & lifting systems
  • Day 2 pm: Access methods & Working at Height

Rigging for Circus Arts - Part 2

  • Day 3 am: Erecting structures
  • Day 3 pm: Flying people
  • Day 4 am: Health & Safety Documentation
  • Day 4 pm: Rescue of riggers from height

  • Day 5: Practical & Theory test


Students will be required to pass a practical rigging exercise while demonstrating safe practice throughout. A theory exam will be given to ensure the technical aspects of the course have been understood.

Assessment Approaches Used

The practical assessment is designed to allow students to demonstrate their understanding of the main components of the course and to demonstrate safe practice while doing so. The theoretical assessment will ensure the technical and safety content of the course has been understood, this will be through a question paper.


This course will run from 10am to 5pm on the following dates:

  • Rigging for Circus Arts Part 1 - April 6th & 7th 2024
  • Rigging for Circus Arts Part 2 - April 13th & 14th 2024

The cost is £1500 per person with a maximum of 6 people. We offer a concessionary price for circus artists and teachers of £660

Contact us to book



Overview of Rigging

  • History
    • Shipping
    • Industry
    • Traditional Circus
  • Types of rigging
    • Oil Industry
    • Entertainment Industry
    • Theatre
    • Arborists
    • Climbing
    • Circus
  • Scope of course
    • Agenda
    • What this qualifies you for
    • What comes after
    • Types of courses available
  • Legal requirements
    • HASWA
    • W@H
    • Standards

Dynamic & Static Loads

  • Understanding Load
    • Practical demonstration with load cells
    • Static Loads
    • Dynamic Loads
    • Factors of safety
  • Introduction to Circus Equipment
    • SWL related to equipment
    • Static Equipment - Rope, silks, hoop trapeze
    • Dynamic Equipment - Swinging trapeze, Flying trapeze
    • Wire & rope equipment - Tightwire, High wire, slack line
  • Acrobatic loads by equipment
    • Understanding the acrobatics performed on each equipment
    • Methods used to test loads
    • Current understanding of loads
  • Establishing safe rigging points

Day 1 PM

Rigging Circus Equipment

  • PPE vs LOLER
  • Equipment
    • Round Slings
    • Climbing slings
    • Shackles & Connectors
    • Carabiners
    • SWR slings
  • Equipment
    • Markings
    • Use
  • Maintaining & inspecting equipment
  • Designing safe rigging systems
  • Bridles

Practical test - Installing a trapeze, silks and hoop

  • Select the correct equipment and connect it at head height or below



  • Types of Rope
    • Natural Fibres
    • Man made fibres
    • Construction
    • Characteristics & uses of types of rope
  • Safe practice
  • Inspection & maintenance

Knots - Theory & practice

  • Figure of 8
  • Clove hitch
  • Rolling Hitch
  • Bowline
  • Alpine knot
  • Sheet bend, Double sheet bend
  • Round turn & 2 half hitches
  • Poachers knot

Practical - Splicing Rope

Steel Wire Rope

  • Types of SWR
  • Terminations
  • Splicing SWR
  • Inspection & maintenance

Practical - splicing & terminating SWR

Overview of Lifting systems

  • Pulley systems
  • Chain hoists
  • Tirfors
  • Motors


Working at Height

  • Regulations
  • Practice for circus
  • Considerations for artists
    • Access
    • Duration of wait time in situ

Access methods

  • Ladders
  • Rope supported access
  • Rope access

Practical exercises in access

  • Rope Supported access
    • Access
    • Install rope system
  • Rope access
    • Ascend rope
    • Safe position
    • Descend

Day 3 AM

Erecting structures

  • Portable rigs
  • Truss
  • Truss Construction techniques
  • Truss Erection methods

Practical - Erect a goal post rig

Day 3 PM

Flying people

  • Harness flying
  • Counterweight flying
  • Safety lines
  • Bungee harness

Practical - Install a counterweight harness system

Day 4 AM

Health & Safety Documentation

  • Asset Registers
  • Inspection
  • Risk Assessments
  • Method statements

Day 4 PM

Rescue from height

  • Rescuing Aerialists
  • Rescuing Riggers

Day 5 AM

Group Practical test

  • Write risk assessment & method statement
  • Construct and erect truss structure
  • Install a rope access system
  • Install a rope and doubles trapeze

Day 5 PM

Theory Test

Course Specific Safety Statement

Aerial Edge ensures that all participants and staff are provided with a safe working environment and considers the safety of all concerned to be its highest priority. All teaching and performance activities have risk assessments carried out relating to the specific activities and venue. Method statements created for all activities, staff are trained in safe teaching practice and safe operation of all equipment.

Sources of information:

  • HASWA (Health and Safety at work Act 1974)
  • WAH (Working at Height Regulation 2005)
  • LOLER (Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations)
  • LEEA (Lifting Equipment Engineers Association)
  • PUWER (Provision & Use of Work Equipment Regulations)
  • ABTT (Association of British Theatre Technicians) Lifting fundamentals
  • IRATA (Industrial Rope Access Trade Association)
  • CRAS (Circus Rigging & Safety)
  • Equipment manufacturers documentation
Contact us
  • Date: January 2023


Let's talk

Get the latest news

Things develop fast at Aerial Edge! Our weekly newsletter keeps you up to date with new classes, events, shows, courses and offers. Sign up here.

Newsletter Archive


Unit 12, Edmiston Trade Park, 240 Edmiston Drive, Glasgow, G51 2YU, UK



(+44) 07360 546 232 (Messages only)


Our front door is accessed via the Ibrox roundabout (walk up the ramp and open the door). Access to the carpark is available before 6pm from Edmiston Drive. Street parking is available in the area. Check out the video guide below.



Connect with us on facebook


Follow our tweets


Check out the gram!


Circus videos