The Story of some of the UK's most Popular Children's Entertainers. ADVICE for those considering becoming a Children's Entertainer . . .
The Tony and Sue Story: The year was 1978 and Tony was working as a well-paid but bored very young Resident Pianist for Pontins Holidays at Prestatyn. Of course Pontins was a huge Company then and employed Artistes and Musicians of all kinds. Part of Tony's job was to play in the Children's Theatre alongside the excellent Shows of "Frankie Woods and Barbara", who came from Macclesfield. From 1978 onwards Tony (and then Tony and Sue) began to do a few Winter Party Bookings, eventually turning full time Professional, and hitting the local Manchester and Cheshire scene like a thunderbolt. The next 39 years saw Tony and Sue being amongst the busiest Children's Entertainers in the UK. This was in part due to investment in individual hand made Stage Marionettes by Richard Langford of York. Whilst others were attending parties with two suitcases with a few Magic Tricks, Tony and Sue put on a "real Show". Working as Children's Entertainers did not stop Tony and Sue from having children however (two sons). Recommendations and a Quarter Column Advert each year in South Manchester Yellow Pages ensured excellent business, - many weeks working 6 or 7 days on parties! In the mid 1990s society began to change with both parents in families working, thus parties became concentrated just at weekends. Tony and Sue's answer to this was to work separately from each other (much to the disdain of others in the Business.) Five or even six two hour parties over weekends provided what Tony and Sue needed.
Tony and Sue never joined any Magic fraternities, going to meetings, conventions etc. Years before Tony had seen Musicians Union members at meetings looking for information and details of others' work diaries, and then stealing gigs off, and undercutting others. Never seeking to be "Magicians". Magic in it's basic form but with quality props (people notice) were on Tony and Sue's table.
In 2006 it became obvious that the Children's Party Business was generally in decline - entertainers no longer being a natural choice for parents at Birthdays. So Tony and Sue started working together again. The Internet Age was at first a runaway for Tony and Sue, as others were still using Yellow Pages. But eventually others caught up and the SEO / Website battles commenced between Entertainers. Some Entertainers were putting false locations into Google and claiming several addresses! Google became sophisticated too, and harder and harder to SEO. No longer were parents "talking outside the school gates" about Parties. They just went onto Google to "find someone" - "anyone" in increasingly busy and stressful lives! The rich Cheshire and Manchester families in huge houses started to disappear, although Tony and Sue always priced themselves for almost everyone. In 2013 Tony and Sue joined NETMUMS and started very successfully advertising through this media. In 2019 Tony and Sue decided to hang up the puppets and magic wands, - not through age (as both quite keen fitness orientated), - but due to lack of necessity. They noticed others were having to spend a fortune to achieve work over ever increasing distances. Whilst Tony and Sue still win over and amaze kids and parents at parties the same as they did in the 1980s, travelling for hours is neither a comfortable nor financial necessity.
First Party: Winter 1978 Southlands Hotel, Stockport. Last (?) Party: Hazel Grove in December 2018. Customer Satisfaction as a whole = 95%+ without any doubt!
Never again? - "never say never"!
Will CHILDREN'S ENTERTAINERS ever become as Popular as years gone by? That is for future history. Magic is well out of interest now in the UK and deemed cheesy or an insult to children's intelligences. In actual fact we found it quite the opposite - what's better than a great story with magic, or visual illusion done correctly? Tony and Sue ADVISE with all sincerity to any potential Entertainer viewing this page - take it slowly - DON'T lay out big money to be part of a franchise, there will only be one winner if you do! Since the onset of popular Internet the once "secretive" business of being a Children's Entertainer has fallen to predators who are just looking for quick buck, whether suited to the Profession or not. Research the area in which you live. Look at websites of others. Observe sites like Netmums to see just how many, or how few AREAS other Entertainers deem it necessary to have to advertise in to survive (how many editions).
A good time to be retired with a few pounds put away . . .