Defining Children's Entertainment

Discuss the art of Children's Entertainment with your fellow performers.

Postby Spellbinder » 02/25/08 07:41 AM

This topic was inspired by reading Craig Mitchell's recent analysis of the Blackpool Award for Childrens Entertainer World Championship.

Craig's review stated: "The morning started with the "Childrens Entertainer World Championships." Highlights included Dave Allen and Andy Clockwise. They placed 2nd and 3rd place consecutively - although deserved 1st & 2nd place -- losing out to John Kimmons who presented more ventriloquism than magic."

It should be noted that John Kimmons also won the Ken Dodd Trophy for Comedy at Blackpool as well. Two trophies at one convention is not an accident.

However, it made me think that if Craig Mitchell confuses what constitutes Children's Entertainment and thinks Ventriloquism (long considered a magic skill by the old masters of the magic arts) somehow diminishes a Children's Entertainer, then perhaps a discussion of exactly what constitutes Children's Entertainment is in order. Note that the Blackpool Award is for a "Children's Entertainer" and NOT a "Children's Magician." The same is true of the category placed on this forum by Richard Kaufman- "Children's Entertainment" and NOT "Magic for Children."

I believe that if one were to round up all the professional Children's Entertainers in the world and conduct a poll as to how many of them perform what might be considered any magic at all in their performances, that number would be small compared to the clowns, jugglers, contact jugglers, unicyclists, balloon artists, story tellers, puppeteers and ventriloquists who often can perform an entire show without using a single example of what magicians would consider "magic" in their acts.

On the other hand, I also believe that most Children's Magicians routinely employ some elements of balloon artistry, story telling, puppetry/ventriloquism, juggling and clowning in their performances.

Are my beliefs unfounded?
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Postby Jolly Roger » 03/19/08 05:40 PM

You are spot on Spellbinder! I was part of the competition at Blackpool, and John Kimmons was the deserved winner. It was a wonderful experience for me, and I was honoured to have been chosen to be one of the top six children's entertainers in the world to compete. There were only two chosen from America.........the other one being David Ginn.

As Spellbinder says, it was the world children's entertainment championships, and not the world magician championships. John did mainly ventriloquism, and the audience loved him! Entertaining children is just what it says..entertaining children. I do magic in my show, as well as much else like puppets, storytelling, origami, and lots of silly stuff. That is what counts. I was dissapointed in Craig's comments. JR
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