Top 4 Performing Styles for Kids Entertainment Events

In my previous post The Best Children’s Gig, I compared 7 venues for which children’s entertainers perform. I offered my experience on the pay one could expect, and my opinions about the pros and cons of each venue. In this post, I wish to talk about which performing styles (disciplines) work best for each venue.

Download Training Tip 97 - Top 4 Performing Styles

  • Preschools are good for jugglers, magicians, and balloon artists, but GREAT for singer-musicians and puppeteers. Incidentally, puppeteers for most live venues do not need to be a ventriloquist. Only on TV musicians can get regular weekly gigs at preschools that have a budget for this type of kids show.
  • “Strolling” at Events. Strolling entertainers are typically jugglers, stilt walkers, clowns, and characters. These are done at shopping malls for special holiday or promotional events, or outdoors for festivals and corporate events. Face painters don’t actually move, but since they are hired for the same types of venue, I will put them in this category.
  • Shopping Mall Stage Shows. Regular kids’ clubs and special events sometimes use stage acts such as those of jugglers, musicians, puppeteers, magicians, comedians, marionette performers, etc.
  • Birthday Parties. The best type of entertainers for birthday parties for kids under 3 years old are puppeteers and singers. For ages 3-6, magicians, clowns, jugglers, balloon artists, face painters, and characters work well (I am sure I will get a lot of emails from established variety entertainers who disagree), though I have seen clowns in paint scare the very young. And I think juggling is lost on a 1-year-old.
  • School Assemblies. Schools book strong performers to demonstrate their “fine art”. So if you are a very talented musician, dancer, actor, storyteller, etc., this is a good venue for you. But schools also book anyone with any talent (and who is also good at engaging kids) to teach students about a certain topic such as recycling or saying no to drugs. Magicians seem to do quite well in this way.
  • Libraries. Any stage-type show that is entertaining for kids, especially those by magicians, musicians, and jugglers, works for libraries. You don’t have to teach to do library shows.
  • Theatres. Similar to school assemblies except you don’t have to teach. In fact—oddly—it is preferred that you DON’T teach. You have to be a strong “artist”, and it helps if your theme is quite unique (e.g., a musician who uses car parts as instruments or a Korean tap dancer). Typically, theatres like groups, but you can also get a gig if you are an exceptional solo artist. But don’t bother sending them promo. You have to audition at a trade show.

 

Here are the top disciplines for the above venues:

Magician

  • Stage shows
  • Birthday parties (5 years old and older)
  • School assemblies (on topics such as Science)
  • Theatres (if you have a unique act or an exceptional talent)
  • Libraries

Musician

  • Stage shows
  • Preschools
  • Birthday parties (5 years old and younger)
  • School assemblies (on topics such as Science)
  • Theatres (if you have a unique act or an exceptional talent)
  • Libraries

Puppeteer

  • Stage shows
  • Preschools
  • Birthday parties (5 years old and younger)
  • School assemblies (but only grades K-1)
  • Theatres (if you have a unique act or an exceptional talent)
  • Libraries

Juggler-Comedian

  • Stage shows (if you have a show)
  • Strolling events
  • Birthday parties (5 years old and older)
  • School assemblies (on topics such as Science)
  • Theatres (if you have a unique act or an exceptional talent)
  • Libraries
Download Training Tip 97 - Top 4 Performing Styles

Hope that helps if you’re thinking where best to offer your services. If you have something to share about venues or niches that kids entertainers may not have thought of to try, feel free to share them in the comments section below.

In my next post, I will tell you what 4 things all successful school assembly shows must have, no matter what performing style.