21st June 2013 was the date of the 1st British based children’s entertainer’s conference. Well, we paid for the 21st but the evening of the 20th was touted as a bit of a warm-up stint – and boy was it that!!
Organised by the wonderfully funny Kimmo, and the Owner of Practical Magic, Jeremy Le Poidevin, together with an entourage of behind the scenes organisers such as Jeremey’s wife and Gary Dunn, to name just 2. The evening’s frivolities got underway in a full room of children’s entertainers and car park full of sign written cars and vans in the beautiful surroundings of Owestry, Shropshire.
Compered, and officially opened by Pat Fallon, with his Irish Charm, a live ‘Fireside chat’ ensured with some light hearted fun and entertainment and a challenge being thrown out to the 200 strong audience members – not to use change bags in their act. This spilled over into some amusing debate about backdrops and banners and then moved into the cabaret session.
Kimmo delivered his comedy magic with the help of his instantly recognisable ginger vent puppet, Mark James produced a hilarious stand-up comedy and magic show, Paul Roberts, showcased an air/smoke gun you can make out of a bin, shower curtain and sticky tape, Gary Dunn played an extremely funny game of musical chairs with a twist with some audience members culminating in a bra being removed, and then George Firehorse produced an equally comedic act. Closing the cabaret, (at least in my mind) was the phenomenal legend that is Terry Herbert.
Terry performed what essentially could have been a kids’ show, to an adult audience and blew us away, as he really embraced that there were magicians in the audience. Terry went on to perform his signature piece of ‘note in shuffled deck of sausages’!! Sooooo funny!!! A real legend at 78 years old!
Day 2, was an early start, mixing and mingling with some fellow kids’ magicians, and buying new effects, ideas and props form the various stands. Kicking off the morning, were 2 15 minute presentations. First up was the engaging Tamar Kimmons, who delivered a really interesting and succinct lecture about harnessing the power of Facebook. Really excellent!! Next up was Mark James, from the night before who gave a very insightful talk on increasing the presentational aspect of your show. From a working performer, this was full of great ideas and tips.
Both lectures were superb!
Following this, it was time for a bit of lunch, mix and mingle and chat with the demonstrators. Finally it was time for the 2 star lectures. Kimmo, offering up a new show with some fantastic ideas including a children’s birthday party game, which seemed to be one of the most popular products of the day, and rightly so……
Following this was Terry Herbert. I had the pleasure of spending 20 minutes chatting with ‘the most imitated man in kids’ magic’ and one of the world’s premier children’s entertainers just before he went on stage and offered up knowledge to me. At 78 years old, his act, again was superb. What set Terry aside was the fact that he engaged with his audience. He had his lecture pre-scripted but he made it 2 dimensional by engaging with his audience and extending them the acknowledgment that they were magicians and knew how most things were done….
At the end, he rightly so, received a ‘Lifetime achievement award’ presented to him by Jeremy Le Poidevin of Practical Magic, and a standing ovation from the crowd, which brought a tear to the eyes of wonderful gentleman and ambassador for children’s entertainment who rightly suggested there was no place in kids’ magic for lavatorial humour. I couldn’t agree more.
Somewhere in this medley of magic was also, Quentin Reynold’s handkerchief and Ghost tube routine which was a lovely example how something so simple and basic could be made into a lovely flowing routine.
The day still hadn’t finished but unfortunately I had to return home, as did many more and sadly missed a balloon jam and live link up with American children’s entertainer and kids’ magician ‘Silly Billy’ aka David Kaye.
On top of all this, nearly £200 was raised for ‘Save the Children’s Fund’ for the raffle of an autographed ‘The world of Children’s magic’ book and everybody said what a fantastic time they had. What a keepsake. What a fantastic couple of days. Truly fantastic. It will be hard to beat!
If you fancied coming along next year, drop me an email on email@example.com or fill out the contact form on my home page www.williamthewizard.co.uk and we can go together!!