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Rupert Bair
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HI,
Whats the best way to get around performing in small areas such as small front rooms, a lot of the houses in my area are very small and their just isn't enough space to perform and have 20 kids plus room to move about, do I just have to deal with it or is their a better solution? I think scaling down the show would be a bad idea. I was at one house the other week and I said their really isn't enough space to perform and she said well all the rooms are that size or you can perform outside, it looked about to rain so I coped in a small room. Any solutions?

Thanks
Matt
Cheshire Cat
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Wilmslow, UK
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Maybe one day you will be in a position to give up houseparties Matt. We don't do any now.

But when we did there were many days where it was 'touch and go' as to whether we could actually do the party due to lack of space. They also expect you to park on the highway/road and load all your gear past half a dozen tightly parked cars on the driveway. Doors and door jams on houses are not as wide as venues, and when they ask you to work in a top floor attic or a cellar that has been converted to a playroom . . . huh! all a distant memory thanks! Now before someone says: "it's my job to provide solutions and not create problems" - well you provide solutions if you wish! - we'll still be out there working on our terms, and people will continue to respect the quality advice we give them.

What always made me laugh was at the end of cramped, over heated houseparties, how parents said: "Oh, I'll book a hall next time, it would be much better wouldn't it?" I used to think to myself - why should we have to be part of their learning phase?
PROFED
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It's hard to offer advice without knowing the kind of show you perform. Do you do illusions such as the flying carpet? I use a suitcase table and sometimes another collapsable table, and have worked some really small rooms. Sometimes I ask a table or a lamp to be taken out or chouch or big chair pusshed against the wall. I have the kids sit on the floor in front and the adujlts in chairs at the rear. This usually works well.
Rupert Bair
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Your absolutley right, I never had the next time we'll book a hall I think a more of 'well find an even smaller room next time to make it more fun for you!

The house parties are were I do most of my work. So hopefully in the future it will me more proper shows they are usually more fun, I really like doing school shows.

Matt

Posted: Sep 30, 2004 5:04pm
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Profed no I don't do illusions I just have a rather large set. Two roll-ons, a table few other big magic tricks and pop up basket. I also need enogh space for my other bags and rabbit carrier.
Matt
Payne
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If you're continually doing shows in a small space why not develop a show for such an enviroment? Cut and restored rope, egg bag, chinese sticks, and linking rings are all good effects that can be done in a tiny room enviroment. Make everything fit in a single bag and you're all set to go. Save the big stuff for your school and hall shows.
"America's Foremost Satirical Magician" -- Jeff McBride.
Cheshire Cat
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Matt, birthdays are the real bread and butter, believe me! Schools are bombarded with junk mail from every magician, puppet company, out of work actors/actresses dressed in old bed sheets pretending to be artistic . . . you name it. All trying to work as cheap as possible too.

Your OWN private party circuit, no-one to compete with on the recommendations grapevine! We've done shows where we've performed for 1500 children over 2 days, as the bottom line says: been there, seen that, done that! When you come to reflect back on 20 odd years or so of entertaining you'll realise the Birthdays win hands down. I think you just need to start getting them organised a bit more and suggesting they might like to book a church hall etc.

It's so much better. Especially for entertainers who maybe cover full 2 hour parties and use a fair amount of quality equipment like we (and you too I would imagine) do.

Tony.
Rupert Bair
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Im working on the two hour shows soon, everybody recommends coombers the price is a little high at the moment. As soon as I've gotten the other priorities done that's what I want to get into. I think I'll look into a smaller show payne, if they really prefer the bigger show then they can rent a bigger place.
Thanks for in the input
Matt
ps how long ago did you live on manchester rd tony?

pps Terry Herbert joined the Café a few days ago, I don't think hes stopping for a coffee though.
Cheshire Cat
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The most awful Summer Season 1980 Matt at Pontins Ainsdale, resident pianist. We were desperate to get back to Cheshire and start those kids' parties full time. Never looked back!

T.
NJJ
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Two pieces of advice:

1) Send out a info sheet or even a contract before the party telling the you need X amount of room with X conditions.

2) Having big props is great BUT you do need to way up the pros and cons of each prop. The space it takes up is a con so it needs to be much better then your smaller props to make it worth while. For example, the BEST effect in my kids party show is a rabbit production. Big box with its own bag...but its worth it!

3) I personally keep away from any booking longer then an hour. The second hour is NEVER as well paid as the first....plus the children, in my experience, take more libaties in the second hour. A like to a shooting star! Get 'em chanting my name then leave them wanting more!
Emazdad
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Matt, my show is put together so it works in both big and small places, on Wednesday I did a 2 hour party in a small living room, with the tv, and 3 piece suite and fish tank in attendance. A lot of houses havn't got the room to move the furniture out, With my magic box, music box and a tiny area left for me to perform and a couple of parents sat on the suite, the front row of kids were nearly sitting on my toe caps. This can cause added behavioural problems as well as they are too close and in easy grab range of everything so you have to be on your toes. At Christmas it can be worse as you have a tree to contend with as well.

If you are going to do this full time at one point and are doing lots of shows, you will have to scale the size (not the impact)of your show down. Not just to fit into the smaller venues, but also to aid you in setting up, stiking down quickly between shows. You'll find that not only will lack of posssible room change the way you work size wise, but also if you are doing 2-3 + shows a day, say one for 4 year olds, one for 9 year olds and one for 6 year olds taking 3 different shows is not ideal, so putting together one show that plays across the board is the best way to go.

Alternativly you can go Aces path and stop shows in houses all together, but then I gather with Aces parties the magic is a small part of a bigger party, using lots of bigger musical stuff making it really hard for him to fit his stuff in and suitable only for a bigger venue.
Yours Funfully
Clive "Emazdad" Hemsley
www.emazdad.com

"Magic is a secret, without the secret there is no magic"

Remember there are only 3 types of people in the world, those that can count and those that can't.
magicgeorge
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I've found that recently most birthday parties book halls. Probably about 2 out of 3 and the remaining ones tend to have big houses. I do do the odd show in a small living room, I just have to adjust my act so I don't move around as much and I replace the plate spinning routine with a different one. It also helps to be well organised with your props( No room for the lion laundry basket either) and don't be afraid to ask to get that coffee table moved.
George
Rupert Bair
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Thanks, for a lot of helpfull advice. I will be reviewing all my acts shortly anyway, like I usually do every year, last year it was an almost brand new act and it's has become my faviourite ever, when I go to Blackpool convention I buy lots of new things to try out so next Feb is spending time again. And trial and error time!

I always get asked about my hat because it is a helicopter hat with propellers, I was looking at my zombie ball and thought hmm this looks like a good idea..why not use my hat as a zombie just the gimmick I'm not sure on, any suggesstions?

Thanks
Maty
keeblem
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I think children are often much harder to control in a hall - even with a PA.
Mark
Emazdad
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Plymouth UK
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It depends on the size and type of floor, a huge hall with a slippery floor invites the boys to launch themselves down it, a smaller hall with a carpet is best. If the hall is too big I cut it in half by getting the birthday mum to set the tables up across the middle. I got the idea from Billy. If I can't do that, I put a rope across.
Yours Funfully
Clive "Emazdad" Hemsley
www.emazdad.com

"Magic is a secret, without the secret there is no magic"

Remember there are only 3 types of people in the world, those that can count and those that can't.
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