This blog was originally written by me as a guest blog for Les Enfants Parties: –
What parents should look for when choosing an entertainer and why it is not an easy job to get it right.
It is a source of great sadness to me when I hear or read about parents and party organisers who speak in truly negative terms about their experience of an entertainer.
“He didn’t really manage to control the children.”
“I could have done her job much better myself.”
“He never told me what he was planning to do.”
It is clear to me that children’s entertainer’s differ greatly across the board.
Any 18 year old out of School, College or University filling time before there next full-time job or looking for a bit of work over the summer holidays can set themselves up as a children’s entertainer but that does not mean they are any good. If you are used to paying £100 or less for your entertainer then, no doubt the above is probably what you have experienced. So for those of you who are unaware; there is a fabulous alternative to this type of entertainer.
I am a professional children’s entertainer. This is not my part-time job. This is what I do for a living. I am equity registered. I am public liability insured. I hold full public liability insurance and have both CRB enhanced and Police Checks which I renew regularly.
When I arrive at a party; I am fully costumed and already performing as the character I have been booked to entertain as. I bring with me a colourful trunk containing magic, balloons, props for interactive games, plates and sticks and a fantastic smoking dragon for which I have a full risk assessment. I also bring five pop-up banners with colourful graphics on them and a PAT tested amplifier with a radio mic. I run all my music off an ipod which allows for the slick transfer of one tune to another. I also bring a giant bubble wand, limbo poles, a bubble machine and a snow machine as standard. It takes me less than ten minutes to set up and the same to pack down.
My parties are always very interactive with the young participants sitting down only for short periods during the show where they are still fully interacting by clapping their hands, calling and responding and laughing their heads off. My entertainment is always about having fun. I do not expect them to learn anything (they get enough of that at school). It is pure unadulterated amusement. Also, there is nothing vulgar or smutty about my shows. I don’t need to resort to these tactics to entertain children and I don’t believe in using language they wouldn’t hear at home.
I always perform as the character the client has requested throughout the party, not just as an entertainer in a costume. I do my research. After all I have children of my own so I am constantly being bombarded with images of Ben 10, Sponge Bob, Peppa Pig, Sporticus, Power Rangers, Super Heroes and whatever the latest Pixar or Disney film is. Even when I can’t physically costume up as the birthday child’s favourite character; I will always ensure I know everything about that character so that I can make the child’s party as special and bespoke as possible.
As a result of my passion and dedication for my work; I have won numerous children’s entertainer awards, I lecture on children’s entertainment at Conventions around the Country including Kidology 2010 which was held in Wolverhampton on Sept 7th 2010, I train entertainers for both the party and holiday Industry and I have entertained at parties for the children of many famous and wealthy people including Madonna and Downing Street.
I guess what I’m trying to say is; you can expect more from your entertainer’s. There are plenty of us out there who do this for a living and for whom this is not a ‘fill in’ or ‘part time’ job. To get the best; talk to your friends and colleagues, collect recommendations, watch the entertainer’s at the parties of your children’s friends and use respected party agencies like Les Enfants who only hire entertainer’s who have been rigorously checked and that maintain high standards.
Children only have a party once a year and only for the shortest part of their life. I believe these experiences should be nothing short of magical and I believe it is worth taking the time to get it absolutely right. Don’t you?
Dov Citron is an award winning entertainer, workshop co-ordinator and lecturer. He runs his own company called MAD House Entertainment Ltd
www.madhousekids.com m: 07985 535472