KidologyUK 2014

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KidologyUK 2014

Postby Chris » 11 Sep 2014, 12:41

Have just returned from a very enjoyable Kidology convention. This is mainly of interest to Children's Entertainers who specialise in Magic, but many Punch performers do share that interest.

There was a certain amount of puppet interest. The day before the Convention proper there is a "Children's Entertainer of the Year Competition" which isn't limited to magic shows. This year the competition was opened by Punch man Dan Slater. He didn't win (but since the judging is done by balloting the whole audience who are all magicians that isn't surprising). Since the organisers had enterprisingly acquired a coachload of children to provide actual audience of children it seems a pity that they couldn't be involved also in the judging? Dan's performance wasn't as good as he has shown at the Covent Garden May Fayre, but his swazzling was excellent and he got good reaction from the kids. One problem was that those competing were limited to a 15 minute performance. Dan stuck strictly to this, and did only episodes from his show. Consequently there was no real story, and it all ended rather abruptly. I should mention that none of the other competitors seemed to pay any attention to the time limit.

For the third year now I did a workshop on using puppets with magic. I am told that this is very popular, and I certainly seem to have a loyal following. I suspect that it is because they are hoping that eventually I will manage to get to the end of a presentation! Each year I am hopelessly optimistic in the amount I can cram into half an hour.

Puppeteer, Clown, and faithful supporter of Punch & Judy, Ian Thom, also gave a workshop on being Father Christmas! He says this is a useful additional skill to augment or enhance your bookings during the Christmas season.

The day after Kidology there followed Ventarama, the first British Convention for Ventertainers. This was a very enjoyable and surprisingly well attended event. Well known Florida vent Mark Wade worked very hard throughout the day and I feel sure a lot of people learned a great deal from him. Zoobee and also David Tomkins were also running small group workshops. There was a very interesting exhibition of old and historic vent figures with the very knowledgeable Michael Dixon, Archivist to the "British Puppet and Model Theatre Guild" and responsible for "The British Puppet Archive", in attendance all day to answer questions.

An interesting novelty was a raffle - one prize being a personal caricature session with Steve Axtel who although largely known as the creator of Axtel puppets is also an "in demand" fashionable caricaturist. Apparently to book a session with him costs $250 so for an outlay of a £1 a ticket this is quite a good prize.

There were four or five puppet making companies had dealer stands for those wanting to spend money, although this convention was far more about participating and less about spending money on toys and sitting waiting to be entertained.

I think organisers Zoobee and Alec Powell of Albion Magic have every reason to be pleased.
It's good to squawk!
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