I have met many a magician who believes that being a children’s entertainer or kids’ magician is easy, purely because it is not technically that skillful. Compared to some false shuffling, double lifting or an assortment of other magical sleights of hand they are correct. But let’s be honest here, the number of stage illusions are pretty simple too. Take for example the substitution trunk illusion where 2 people have to swap places in a box. Really not that technically difficult…..the difficulty comes in being able to execute it with speed and aplomb. Similar for a mentalist where they supposed divine a number (you have previously written down).
Like a mentalist and stage illusionist, the theatrics, timings, grace and elegance (and in children’s entertainment – comedy) are what make up the art of the performances they deliver. As a children’s entertainer or kids’ magician you must have an innate understanding of the kids’ you are booked to perform to. You need to be technically adept to amend your act to the age group of the children, whether they are boys or girls, and occasionally the number of children in the audience.
An entertainer skilled in the art of kids’ magic needs to have an understanding of children. What makes them laugh and what holds their attention. Equally, you need to know how to eliminate distractions and what causes them. You need to be a dab hand at ad lobbing and going with the flow as opposed to your tried and tested funny patter. This ability to improvise is an essential skill and level of technicality which a manual, book, DVD or download won’t teach you. This comes with years of experience and exposure to some of the great kids’ entertainers out there. Kimmo, Gary Dunn, Magic Dave, Silly Billy, Ken Scott, Zoobie, Colin Dymond and others. Many adult or close up magicians or entertainers are petrified of the thought of performing magic to a group of rowdy children. I will give my expose on why children act and react differently to adults some other time but for now I want to offer up my 2 pennies worth as to why adult magicians should embrace children’s entertainment.
I began my life as an close up and table magician and am still often booked to perform at weddings and private parties which I love. I am a showman and love performing. It’s probably what took me into teaching. I spent 2 years teaching English to children in Japan (essentially performing) and performing magic and night to adults in Japan. It was here that I learnt the art and the importance of theatrics and how to bring out the most in children to help them learn – even more difficult in a foreign country where you don’t speak the language.
Kids’ shows account for the largest proportion of my entertainment work. It gets me out there in the thick of it. I’m having fun, I’m re-honing my art every time I perform. My act has evolved I have evolved. I have gone from a kids’ and adult magician on www.magicduncan.co.uk to a kids’ magician and children’s entertainer on www.williamthewizard.co.uk.