How the Grinch stole my Christmas Colours!

Christmas is the season of giving so here is another treat for you all.

Colouring tricks are great for younger audiences. I go into more detail on this in my book, Becoming Magic in the chapter ‘Kids will be Kids.’ When I first got into magic I used to use the flick Colouring book however, I personally don’t rate this effect for a few reasons. This effect is overused and generally kids from around 7 years old upward know the method.

Many years ago I bought a colouring in trick from Practical Magic (a fantastic resource for children’s magic tricks in the UK) that intrigued me greatly.

I have searched high and low for the instruction’s of this trick – which I believe was titled ‘Over the Rainbow!” Sadly they are now lost in a magical abyss.

FizzWizzPop has been performing this effect for many years so I am not exactly sure what is mine in terms of innovation. However, I owe this little trick to the late Jeremy le Poidevin. He sold this to me at an Irish Magic Convention and it’s a cracking wee effect for family shows and seasonal performances.

What is required to colour in the Rainbow?

  • Slightly oversized A4 Z folder. (See pictures below).
  • A stand for the Z folder to sit facing the audience from the beginning of my show.
  • Two images: A line drawing and one coloured in. The Rainbow image came with the trick. Over the years I have adapted it for both my Halloween show: Making a rainbow pumpkin. And my Christmas show: Using a Christmas tree.
  • A Hank Ball
  • 7 Square 9 inch silks/hankies in Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue and Purple.
  • 1 White 18 inch hankie

Preparation – The Z folder

Begin by placing the coloured image in one side and the line drawing in the other side of the Z folder. The pictures have to face the correct way. (See pictures above – flap opens downwards on both sides).

Preparation – The Hank Ball

This unusual little gimmick is a bit alien to look at. Funnily enough, I remember it came with no instructions (exactly why we all LOVE magic right?). Through playing and working with it I have found a few subtleties. I thought it best to make a little video tutorial for it below.

The key I found to successfully loading the hank ball is Direction.

When loading the Hank ball you must stuff each hanky in one after the other in the same direction.

Using my right hand I push the hankies into the ball in an Anticlockwise direction.

There is also a method to make each handkerchief naturally reveal itself. You can watch this on the video below. Kids tend to recognise the colours of the rainbow in this order – R, O, Y, G, B, P. So load the hankies from last colour to the first.

Video Link to see the loading the Hank Ball

https://vimeo.com/379885461

Loading a Hank Ball for my Christmas Trick

Bringing the Season to this Effect

This is usually the second effect in my Christmas show. It works good at this point because it is visually magical. In the beginning of any show you have to guide the audience to experience magic. Providing a trick where they actually make the magic happen solidifies a sensation of realness. They are more willing to be convinced and to believe what they are seeing is real.

  • This trick is what I like to call a ‘group effect.’ The Magic happens because the whole group get involved to solve the puzzle.
  • When the tree is coloured in at the end of this effect it normally gets a loud cheer.
  • I believe this is because the audience feel they have accomplished the magic all together. Nothing is more powerful than teamwork in a magic effect – hence if performed correctly it gets a strong reaction.

What to say and do next…

“Not only am I a Magician, I am also an artist.”

Lift the Z folder and hold it to your chest. Today I drew a Christmas picture for you all and I wonder if I describe it can anyone guess what it is.”

Try to think up really abstract ways to describe the picture inside, as you don’t want the group to get it in one guess – that’s just no fun at all!

“This thing is wide. This thing is tall. It’s hairy – no furry. It’s green and has something shiny on top.” Usually by this stage the kids are screaming Christmas tree at you.

“Iam good at drawing but not colouring in.” Next. you begin to fish for answers to a series of questions revealing all the colours that are about to appear. For example what colour is a Christmas tree? (Green) The star on top? (Yellow) etc. Decorations red, orange, blue etc.

The 1st Reveal

“Would you like to see my tree – now don’t laugh…Tada! Isn’t is gorgeous?”

You reveal the drawing and begin reciting off all the colours until the children make it very clear that nothing happened.

Here you can make reference to the Grinch that he has stolen the colours from my drawing. The idea now is to get the boys and girls to help you get the colours back. “We need some colours…”

As you go and search for colours in your case you pick up the hank ball and silk. Remark on the white hanky, “White’s a colour but not the one we are looking for.”

Video unpacking the Hank ball

https://vimeo.com/379886220

Unpacking the Hank Ball for the Christmas Colour effect

Load the hank ball into the white silk as shown in the video above. Then ask the kids to look for colours on their clothing – “Anyone see any red?”

“Take a bit of red from your clothing and throw it to the hanky.” This section should be playful, get adults involved too. Find all the colours and get them thrown at the hanky.

“We have the colours, we need the magic, point at the hanky and say the magic word – FizzWizzPop!”

Reveal the first hanky from the ball. Do this extremely slowly, you want to highlight the madness and wonder of what has just happened. Your audience just made a red hanky appear – from nowhere. “Well I need someone to hold onto this for me.” You repeat this reveal process seven times giving out all the coloured hankies.

Time to use the hankies to colour in the Tree

“It is time to colour in my tree”

Open the Z folder showing the blank Christmas tree drawing.

Who has the red hanky?” I go to the child with the red hanky asking them to rub their hanky all over the front of the wallet. “Perfectly done, just like Picasso.” I repeat this process for all the hankies – you can have a lot of improvised fun with each child/adult who are holding the hankies here.

“We’ve used all the colours, now you tell me did we do it, did we colour it in.”

Open up the Z folder to reveal that it did not work. It is important here that your disappointment is genuine. This down beat will heighten the response to the change – big time.

The Switcheroo

Sadly, I look and bring focus to the picture and folder in my hand.

“Of course!”

Snap the folder closed bringing it vertically down by your side. This brings the coloured picture inside the folder to the front. (The one you just shown is now at the back).

If you execute this sudden movement at the same time you look up at the audience they will not notice the switch.

You immediately continue speaking.

“We forgot the colours” say this line as you place the Z folder back onto the stand ready to show the coloured picture.

Collect the hankies, pick up the folder, give it one final rub with all the hankies. “Point at the picture, it is now time to use the magic word to colour it in – FizzWizzPop.”

“I don’t want to look, can you guys tell me…” Let the front of the Z folder swing down…“Did we do it?”

When the audience see’s that they have coloured the picture, it gets a natural applause. One that I have never had to cue.

“I’m going to take this home and it will remind me of all you lovely boys and girls who helped me colour in my drawing.”

The Colouring in trick

I would like to take the time to say Merry Christmas to you all. I hope it is merry, magical and bright!

Nikola Arkane

Arkane Antics

When it came to this blog post I wasn’t sure what to write as I didn’t have much time to plan this one. I’ve had a tough week working long days and driving long hours. The first sign that it’s CHRISTMAS!

This year has been all about pushing it and I am pleased to say that I already have my first goal for 2020. I have been asked by the Pentacle Magic Club in Cambridge to lecture for them next February. I decided that the best thing to focus on would be something recent.

My journey in to close up magic and my Magic Castle act.

Alongside the lecture, I was thinking it would be good to write a set of lecture notes. for two reasons.

  • So that I actually know what I’m talking about and teaching.
  • So that everyone who attends the lecture who wishes to can take a memory from the lecture and perhaps take the effects home with them.

I thought writing a book was hard, think again Arkane. Creating my first lecture notes has been a challenge. A good one. Going through my act discovering the simplest way to explain the effects, learning to use appropriate technical terms for material and the hardest challenge, drawing. I asked a few magic friends some advice on whether I should make the effort and draw images or just include pictures – to my horror everyone came back saying lines drawings are better.

Win, Lose or Draw

I say horror because I haven’t drawn anything since I was 17 apart from slaying at Pictionary the game. So I got out my HB pencils, some calligraphy pens and set to work.

The results after a few hours practicing wasn’t too bad. I ended up using a combination of techniques. Line tracing so that I knew exactly where the parts of the image went and then free hand with the details.

This has been the most rewarding part of piecing together my lecture notes as I’ve found a love for something I used to do and began using it again alongside my magic.

So the journey continues. Once these images are finalised and the proof reading is complete ill move onto the next scary phase. Piecing all these materials into a pamphlet in the software, In Design.

A Bombing in Belfast!

Don’t worry. Im not about to give you a brief history of the troubles according to my ma. What I wish to talk about is the art of dying onstage.

David Acer has a wonderful article on this topic in his book ‘Random Acts of Magic’ on Bombing

David Acer book. Article on Bombing on stage

When you bomb at something in performance it means that it was a complete and utter failure. A fiasco of a show.

Performers who want to become better sadly must bomb. It is a necessary evil that everyone must face when new material is being developed. You have to try out the good, the bad and the ugly in front of an audience to see if it works or not. More importantly we must find out what can be done to make material work. 

If at first you don’t succeed…

Coming up with new material is tricky. 

We become so used to material that we enjoy performing and of course the material we are familiar with. Forgetting that it has taken some time to get it working. We let slip the bad performances and savour the good ones.

It is no wonder it becomes quite difficult encouraging ourselves to mentally and physically develop new material. It is far easier to keep performing the same old material, feeling the comfort in knowing it works. 

Aim to do at least one brave thing everyday!

I crave new material. So this last year I have challenged myself – or rather forced myself to get out of my comfort zone. Performing all kinds of magic that’s new to me and that I have always wished to perform. And it brings challenges that sometimes even I am not prepared for.

This month I got quite excited about an idea. I envisioned building a snowman on stage and ending the piece by making a huge snowstorm surge from the palm of my hands. Sounds magical right? Memorable even.

It was memorable. But for all the wrong reasons and I was reminded that new material can go horribly, brutally wrong.

My desire to create wonder turned to dust.

My wish to create a snowy heaven on stage fell apart before my eyes and it scared me. I was upset. So much so that I felt I might not be able to try out new material again. I haven’t felt this bad since I performed my very first magic show. Which you can read about in my book Becoming Magic. Or at least that’s how my brain saw it. 

The reality was, it wasn’t that bad. And the feeling of sheer terror lasted for around 24 hours. Inside my head, it felt like an age. Upon reflection, this pain and angst was a very fleeting feeling. 

If you ever find yourself feeling this way too, the disappointment will pass. The real lesson comes in how you deal with the failure after it. Your response to bombing on stage will hopefully shape you as a performer for the better.

Oh epic big hole, swallow me up please…

Girl in red dress in the ocean

No matter your experience, knowledge and the sheer amount of practice put in – you will continue to bomb throughout your career.

Nothing could have prevented me from bombing that night and looking back at the horror, I needed it. It was a reminder that as a performer, I am not invincible.

So some advice for me and others…

Be Kind: learn not to be too hard on yourself. It is way too easy to tear chunks out of your self esteem and performance after something bad happens. Try putting it into perspective. This is one show out of many and that effect will never be that bad again – let’s hope!

Release the shame: If you need to cry, weep. It is ok to be sad and if you are, really go for it. Only when the sadness is fully out of your system can you move on to the steps below.

Moving on…

Reflect: Go through the routine when you are ready to and access it constructively. Ask yourself, ‘why did things go wrong?’ In most cases there is normally a good reason for it. Consider that sometimes it is also out of your control when it does.

Push on: After my disaster of a performance last week, I immediately had to go and perform walk around magic for families for a full hour. Professionalism dies hard and I did it, even though every fibre in my body did not want me to. Upon returning home and doing all of the steps above, I was then able to properly move on. After a full day of moping first.

“It’s not the end of the world if a trick goes wrong.”

– Nikola Arkane 2019

I have to remind myself that performing magic should be fun, lighthearted and above all not taken too seriously – apart from practicing it! You might feel like your world has tumbled down when it happens, but really, only you know what you intended that particular performance to be.

So to be a successful performer we have to take the good with the bad and get good at dusting ourselves off and moving on.

You can read more stories and advice like this in my book, Becoming FizzWizzPop! A companion I have created for performers and magicians.

Entertaining children and facing reality…

Entertaining children is not easy. (See my last post). After a full weekend of performing as FizzWizzPop I’m usually exhausted come Monday. My weekend ended with a challenging party. Emotionally for the family and for me as a performer. Normally, I don’t get an opportunity to speak about this.

I am lucky to have worked with and perform regularly for children of all abilities. Including some that are dealing with life limiting illnesses. For 3 years I performed with Belfast’s children’s theatre company, Cahoots NI in a show called “Magic Menu.” This was a performance designed to visit children at their bedsides in hospitals as a form of respite. Through this project I also regularly entertained groups whom visited the Belfast Children’s Hospice.

Magic Menu entertainment set up, girl in blue dress.

The upmost care went into learning how to interact with staff, families and of course, creating and performing a show that was both suitable and entertaining for these wonderfully brave children.

Home Visits

Performing in this situation is a privilege but sometimes it can be emotionally hard. Your job is primarily to entertain with magic however, this audience are dealing daily with a huge struggle that effects everyone emotionally. Particularly when you are invited to perform in their personal spaces. Homes, wards, bedrooms are safe havens for these children.

Working in an environment like this you have to become an expert of controlling emotion. Focusing solely on the show, your performance and the magic. This can be tricky. Especially during your show when you see an adult tearing up, a child crying in pain, or when a doctor needs to get in to treat a child during a trick. There can be many interruptions. You can just throw performance flow out the window.

Then there’s the knowledge that some children will get better and some will not. This can be emotionally difficult to get your head around.

I approach this by performing in the moment with that family and child. I try to engage them as much or as little as I can. This show is all about the child and the family you have came to visit. Use your performance to get everyone involved entertaining them whilst you are there.

Time Limit

***It’s worth noting that there should be no set time limit for this type of show.***

A visit of this kind can last 5 or 30 minutes. Over time you will become better at judging this. My advice, don’t set a time limit. Every situation you walk into is different. Every child is different. If you manage to interact with a child and family for 10 minutes and the atmosphere lightens you have done something wonderful.

This is a concept that took me a while to get my head around. I used to think if I didn’t perform for a set amount of time that I had failed the family. I soon realised that visits like these are not about me, it is all about them.

***This might surprise you but you don’t have to perform the whole time you are there.***

Just being there changes the atmosphere. The family you are visiting want to make sure you are ok. Being there brings the focus to you for a change and this is part of the relief too. Just sitting with the child or spending time with their siblings. Having a cup of tea and a conversation with the family can also become part of the visit and the respite.

Two girls dressed as fairies

In terms of a show, how to approach creating a show for a visit like this one?

I started by using songs that everyone knows and can attempt to sing. Singing a song in the beginning and at the end is a nice way to bring everyone together.

Visual is key

Visual tricks are great. Get everyone involved by using more than one person to hold props. If everyone is part of a jigsaw that finally pieces together at the end of your effect you have used magic to make a connection with everyone In the room. I do this in my show with a colouring-in trick. I make loads of coloured handkerchiefs appear and give them to everyone to hold. Then we use the magic word together and the picture is coloured in.

Finding ways to bring an audience together really works in this environment. If you think about it, when something sad, bad or scary happens to someone close to us we tend to gather and support one another. The effect above exploits this and unites everyone together displaying a families strength working as a team.

Giving a rainbow name balloon to the birthday girl Clara

Playing with the senses

Textures, colours and music are great too for these audiences. Some children may have very little interaction verbally due to their condition, or with everything they have been through. Designing tricks in your show that make them instinctively react is an idea to play with. I always think the more visual, musical and sensory you can make this type of show the better. I use lots of gentle theatrical music, lights (Rocco’s d’lites are so magical in this setting). Also material, silks and sponges for them to touch are great conversation starters.

Do you need to change?

I don’t change my show or character – I’m still me – but I am more sensitive to the situation I’m in. I lower my voice, I pace myself and I engage a lot with eye contact. It’s always good to begin gentle and work up from there.

I have visited homes of sick children performing Bish, Bash, Bosh (the not so dangerous version of Smash and Stab). I have witnessed in living rooms. children yelling at me not to smack a cup and save the egg. Be brave and play the environment. The child will guide you.

Safety first

When you enter a home, ward or hospice, there may be some strange rituals you will have to do before performing. These are in place to protect the patient.

HANDS!

Sanitising hands before entering – for infection purposes. It is good to do this before entering and leaving. In hospitals and hospices it is the norm, but some parents might ask you to do this before you enter their home. Be aware of it and don’t make it a thing.

INFECTION!

The venue you are visiting could be dealing with an airborne infection. Be prepared to be asked to wear rubber gloves and an apron whilst you work.

CANCELLATIONS!

Visits can be cancelled suddenly too. Being flexible is key. Offering to reschedule dates and times means the child will still get to spend time with you.

House Rituals

Following rituals of the household – Removing shoes upon entering a home (worth noting make sure you have appropriate socks on underneath your shoes). Tying your hair back or something that might appear odd. As you are entering the family home, make the visit easier on you and the family and comply where possible.

***Performing anywhere you can***

You might not be able to perform beside a child or even hand props to the child to hold. I have performed in the doorway of a side ward to a child before and still managed to get them smiling. I suppose what I’m trying to say in all the situations above is be flexible and open to change. The performance spaces you will be working in are weird and if you are aware of this it can add to your performance.

Kindness is key…

Be kind to yourself after these visits. This work is tiring by nature. If you know that you are performing one of these visits (I would recommend scheduling two maximum per day), give yourself time. Space to sit, breath or go have a cup of tea. It’s vital you break visits up so that emotionally it does not get on top of you. Don’t plan mad evenings after visits. Chill out after, watch some t.v and relax. It is important that you counter this physical and emotionally draining performance – albeit so rewarding – with some down time for you.

Girl and boy hugging teddy bear

This is not an easy topic to talk about, however one I feel worth writing about. I wish to share my knowledge and hope you find use of it. My goal is to help equip you to work and play with these wonderfully heroic families. They are dealing with things we all pray we never have to face. Magic has helped me bring joy and wonder to so many lives including my own. I hope it does for you too.

If you wish to find out more tips of mine, check out my book Becoming FizzWizzPop as a companion to making an creating your own entertaining magic show for children.

Needs must when the devil drives…

When you are invited to perform at a birthday party with 30 children attending including the birthday child, the attention and focus you can dedicate to each child is slightly stretched. You may wish to give your time to everyone but it is simply not possible. Then throw into the mix the possibility that some children react differently to watching your show. The room might get too loud for a particular child, and you have to deal with their reaction before continuing the performance.

I am no expert and am forever learning at every event I perform at. Tonight was no exception. At this particular party the mother advised me before coming that the birthday girls sister wished to be a part if the show and (so that I was aware) was autistic. Even though it wasn’t her birthday, she asked me would I mind getting her involved too. I personally don’t use siblings of the birthday child in my shows unless I have too. I beleive it is vital that the actual birthday child’s friends get up to help in the show. I do make exceptions when parents request it, and it was for good reason in this particular case as the birthday child’s sister might be very upset from not being in the show and not understand why. For good reason, under these circumstances I acquiesce.

Awareness is key

It’s essential when you meet children to assess them for capability, temperament and above all do not judge them by what adults advise you. Listen to what they have to say and be aware of it but don’t let it influence your performance. Adults have their children’s best interest at heart. However, when you are performing with a child on stage the reaction they have to being with you will tell you how you need to look after them on stage. It is our job as performers to make sure that when any child comes up to help that it is the best experience they will have on stage at that moment. Parents may warn you that their child is shy and won’t want to help you and then they burst onto the stage glowing with confidence. You really just won’t know how a child will react until they are up there with you.

I knew right away after meeting the birthday girls sister that my middle trick would not be the best one for her to perform. This trick in my show is a complicated effect. There are a lot of instructions in a short space of time and although lots of fun my gut told me it wasn’t right for this child right now. My very last trick however is more relaxed, has an easy story to follow – the child becomes a gladiator and uses a magical sword to make the hanky of doom vanish. – and I felt much more comfortable guiding the birthday child’s sister through this particular effect.

After taking the time to get the birthday girls sister settled and comfortable with the task at hand, something very unexpected happened. I chose another child to help, whom I didn’t realise until I brought them up that they were for the most part non verbal and very sensitive to their surroundings. As soon as I handed them the hanky, it took a moment for me clock this, react and take my time to make them comfortable enough to stay up and help. Eye contact, reassurance and staying calm yourself are three great tools that aid this.

Is it best to chose the easy option?

Looking back on this situation, I could have easily plotted a story line that encouraged that child to sit back down and take someone else up, as she was very tentative and on the verge of sitting down herself anyway. As you can imagine, having two children on stage with varying abilities is a challenge for any performer, especially whilst trying to keep the attention of a large group.

However, I have a rule. I always make sure I ask children twice if they wish to come and stay to help me. The first time, when they are sitting down on the floor, which they bounce on stage too. The second time, if I feel and see them responding awkwardly to being up on stage with me. Asking for the second time reassures me and them that they are indeed happy to assist. Everyone must be happy to take part, especially your assistants, no matter what age.

It’s my party and ill cry if I want to!

On that note if during a trick a child gets upset or no longer wishes to partake in the trick you are performing, try to send them down to their seat in a positive way. Thank them for helping and ask for a round of applause. I always keep an eye on the child for the rest of the trick and show. This moment can be horrible for a child. They don’t want to not help with the trick, but at that moment they just can’t cope to finish it. It us important that you deal with their dismissal and the aftermath of this delicately.

Next you will need to request a new helper. That child knows they are a substitute but willing to finish what the other child began. If there is anyway to end the trick with both children (the replacement up with you and the child sent down) do. I.e: Say to the child on the floor that even though you are now down there I still need your help, we cant do this without you. Somehow reaffirm that they are special in making the trick work. The difference you will make to that child for the next time they have to go onstage and help someone will be huge. They will not feel like they have failed but overcome something.

Back to the party…

The mother of the non verbal child was even worried for me, moving closer to the stage and her child just incase her child needed assistance. Turns out they didn’t. Yes the trick took longer to perform, yes the audience were not under control by the end and it was not a perfect version of this particular trick but I took my time and guided both these children with complex needs through the trick to the end. No tears, no tantrums just smiles and hugs after. Helping everyone to be involved for me is more important than you, the magic or your show.

And this is the beauty in what we get to do. No show is like the other. Every child and party is different. You are different each show. Strive to throw your perceptions of the perfect show out the window if needed in order to help children have their moment on stage to shine. They may not ever think they could and you will have went a long way to making real magic happen for them and their parents in seeing their child thrive in an environment they never knew they could.

Reviews are in!

In just over a week, I have managed to post every copy of Becoming FizzWizzPop that has been ordered by my new customers. Books flew over the world to Britain, Sweden, the Netherlands, and a bunch to America. Thank you so much for your support.

Here is the people’s verdict so far…

Totally recommend it to anyone thinking of taking up entertaining as a business – wish I’d had this to read 40 years ago when I first started out as an entertainer. ( I cannot believe it was actually that long ago). We are in the business of making memories, and as such we have a great responsibility. And a great reward! Aidan Heritage, UK.


This book is a nice sneak peek behind the curtain of a magician/entertainer.
The book is filled to the brim with great stories, amazing pictures and above that she also gives some great tips to boost your professional career, and how to maintain a good and solid base of customers.

For what it is worth:
I can highly recommend this book to everybody, especially to the starting magicians, the tips in this book are gold!!!
So if you are in the market for giving yourself a present or you just want to read amazing stories and learn valuable lessons, this is the book for you! Jean-Paul Broekhuizen, Netherlands.

Mastering your words…

This week I performed at an event in the Belfast Children’s Hospice for a group of three girls and their families. I perform quite a lot in this place, bringing some well needed joy to the kids, staff and families through magic. Something occurred that made me think a lot about planning out your show properly for each audience. And knowing what you say and how you say the lines can make such a difference.

So, it was a Halloween show and in this set I perform a Rob Driscoll ‘gift’ mentalism effect using balloons. At the end of the routine each child is rewarded with a balloon for selecting and matching a pair of Halloween characters. However, as I revealed the balloons and was about to hand It to one of the girls, her mother who was watching stopped me suddenly. It turned out that her daughter was allergic to balloons. As you can imagine if her mother was not there this could have been disastrous as the staff forgot to tell me this as they are very busy with other things on their minds too.

Now, I have been using balloons in my magic show since I started performing for children and I can tell you in this time, I have never had a problem with a child holding a balloon – I’m beginning to think so far I have been extremely lucky.

In this situation I felt awful because I really didn’t make an effort to check beforehand. I just presumed it would be ok. I wanted to tell this story because we are all learning and mistakes happen. How we deal with them will help us perform better in similar situations in the future,

Ever since this I’ve been wondering what is the best way to approach asking serious questions in a show context. If, for example, you forget to ask prior to starting a performance how do you double check something mid show. I began thinking through my script and wondered if it might be adaptable?

In the FizzWizzPop magic show, I bring a balloon sword into play towards the end of the show asking my assistant, “have you ever held a balloon before?”. This line came about for comedy purposes, as when my participant answers me (usually with a yes) I miss handing the balloon to them on purpose and it flies away.

I realised though if I put a little bit more emphasis on this line before giving the child the balloon, I can provide the space and time for a child or adult in the audience to say,wait, STOP! If there is an issue with using the balloon.

Without having to say the line, “are you allergic to latex?” I am indirectly asking the same question but in a way my character would. Children’s entertainment should be fun and one way of doing this is being aware of what you say and how you say it. You can still deal with a potentially serious situation in character. Some food for thought.

One last funny note – how children repay you for bringing magic into their lives? Spray a bubble gun in your face! And that’s partly why I love performing for children.

5 Secrets

Be harsh – kids need structure and you are the one in control, you must lead them.

Be kind – Guide them and take care of them. Never ask them to do something you would not do yourself.

Be fun – Everything you do must must ooze joy and if you are having fun your audience will have fun too.

Be you – you are original! No one else can perform as you do. Be unique and create something original that kids will remember you for.

Make an impact – always aim to be remembered. Do things differently and don’t be afraid to try new things. Play in your show and your audience will play too.

There are no mistakes and you are in control. Only you know the journey your show will make. I encourage you all to take an unknown path in your show and have an adventure.