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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The tricks are on me! » » Do senior centers work for mentalism? (1 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Profile of theamazingryan
I'm now happy enough with my routine that I want to start working on my performance. Is a senior center a good venue for a mentalism act? What other venue types should I contact as a volunteer performer?
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Lansing, MI
161 Posts

Profile of Lash
My experience with senior homes has been performing my magic act and not really much mentalism. However, I think it would depend on the mental health and capacity of your audience members. I'm sure there are some who would understand and be entertained by it and others who wouldn't. I usually use the employees for volunteers when I perform but I am also able to use many of the residents as well. I don't think it would be ideal to perform mentalism in this venue but it could work nonetheless.

As for volunteering, seek out local charities and hospitals. Inquire with shelters, children's homes, Volunteers of America, Boys and Girls Clubs, Ronald McDonald House, boy scouts, and your local church if you are involved in one. That is a good starting point.
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Profile of JonesingForTruth
Only ones I have any experience with are nursing homes... and I can tell you they value any kind of entertainment... (as long as you're not too edgy. Smile ) And plus failing eyesight is more forgiving, right? *evil grin*
Bob Sanders
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Grammar Supervisor
Magic Valley Ranch, Clanton, Alabama
20494 Posts

Profile of Bob Sanders
Know your audience. Not all group homes for seniors are the same. Today many are simply group living facilities for seniors who are very much independent otherwise. They can have personal cars, boats, planes, etc. and life activities very independent of the facility. Others, essentially never leave the facility and are tied to the facility for all their needs.
Bob Sanders

Magic By Sander / The Amazed Wiz
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48 Posts

Profile of highcard
A lot of restaurants, clubs and bars would let you perform if you volunteer. These type of places are also great ways to get paying gigs, if that's the direction you want to go in. Most of these type of businesses would jump at the chance to have a free show, although most will want you to demonstrate a bit so they know they're not putting a phony up in front of their customers.
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Inner circle
2051 Posts

Profile of aligator
In the past I did not have good luck with seniors as mentalism often seems too much for them, at least the kind that I do. I have had better luck with party retail outlets that cater to adult clientele.
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Profile of ronnyman
There are a lot of great assisted living centers out there where the folks are all there mentally but enjoy any type of entertainment. You might want to check in with a few of those. Those senior citizens can provide great referrals down the line.
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Profile of Kasoom
In my experience, it's fine, as long as it's not presented as a psychic act. Just offer to do a magic show and then perform mentalism. The average layman won't really differentiate between the two.
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Inner circle
Yuma, AZ
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Profile of Ed_Millis
I did some mental effects at an independant-assisted living apartment facility. Nice place, great people.

A couple of things to remember:
-- As people age, they generally do not process information as fast or as deeply. And if they are living "relaxed", they don't always want to. So beware of mental effects that make them hold on to a complex thread of events or a large calculation.
-- Hearing and eyesight will vary greatly. Trying to focus in takes a lot of energy. A sound system is a great help. If you play music beforehand they can sit where the sound level is comfortable. Don't do anything small (killed my one of my best routines by asking them to read the date off a coin!). Make sure the magic moment can be easily seen and comprehended by all, regardless of seating, without needing a lot of the extra effort to focus.
-- Warn them ahead of time if you intend to pick a volunteer for an effect. They might de-focus to just take in the entertainment and not follow close enough to know what it is you need them to do. Keep instructions clear and simple in small steps. They are not stupid -- they likely know most of what you're doing! -- but they enjoy the ride if they are given the respect of a presentation at their speed.
-- Mix up the mentalism with very large visual magic. And keep them laughing.

Just my thoughts.
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Profile of jcrabtree2007
Yeah, what Ed just said. Large visual effects, loud noises work the best there. Depends partly on what unit you are in- assisted living would appreciate mentalism much more than a memory care unit.
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Profile of flash90
In my experience, residents of retirement or nursing homes are a great audience. They're usually dying for quality entertainment and you can find a great mix of ages at most homes, lots of willing volunteers and as one earlier poster said, failing eyesight is a bonus!

For the charity aspect alone, it's invaluable in my eyes.

For a new entertainer, the experience can also priceless, given the right attitude.
Remarkable Marco
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When I grow up, I want to have
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Profile of Remarkable Marco
Thank you for this very useful thread; as a new performer in mentalism I was wondering how mentalism and senior audiences could mix, and now I have reasons to try it out!
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