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The Old Cathedral School

Derry, Londonderry, Northern Ireland

In Your Space Circus

Grade B+

Transforming a Victorian school building into a flagship circus arts venue for Derry

Built in the Flemish Gothic style in 1891 to the designs of local architect, John Guy Ferguson, the former Cathedral Primary School is located in the Historic City Conservation Area and the Cathedral Quarter of Derry. With St Columb’s Cathedral as its striking backdrop, the School is one of just five buildings that exit directly onto the old city walls. Until the early 1990s, it provided a space for education, social activities and community life. However, after the school community merged with Carlisle Road and First Derry to form the Fountain Primary School, the building lost its use and fell into disrepair.

In Your Space Circus (IYSC) is a circus school and performance company, which plays a key role in the cultural landscape of Derry city and the region. Both IYSC and St Columb’s Cathedral are keen to breathe life back into the former Cathedral School and regenerate it as a circus school and performance venue, offering a space in which young people, adults and artists can learn, play and create. It is hoped that the historic building will become a flagship circus arts venue for Derry, with a key focus on circus education, lifelong learning, good relations, health and wellbeing, street theatre development and collaborative arts practice. 

An AHF Project Viability Grant, awarded in 2022, funded a conditions survey and enabled IYSC to engage with an architect to carry out drawings and obtain overall construction costs. With the support of a development grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, IYSC is now working to develop organisational capacity and initial plans needed to inform the restoration.

In Your Space Circus - New Home For IYSC!! (

AHF Funding

Project Viability Grant - £8,040 (2022)

Photo credits
Lorcan Doherty

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