School Children Entertainment
Some School Magic Shows
That Stick In My Memory
School Children Entertainment Memories
Before I was a full time children's entertainer, I was - and this will come as no surprise - a part time children's entertainer. I had another passion in my life apart from my magic and my lovely wife Vicky: I was a documentary cameraman for ABC TV in Australia.
I would spend about one hundred nights a year travelling across Australia and throughout the world. It was a pretty exciting lifestyle.
Everywhere I went a small mountain of cases followed, full of cameras and lenses and lighting kits and tripods. There was one small case that was always carefully checked on and off the planes. It was my magic case containing my ANYTIME ANYPLACE magic show. The name says it all; I was ready to perform at the drop of hat almost anywhere. It could have been the bow of a ship, a dry riverbed, a prison. More often than not it was a school.
When shooting documentaries you find yourself spending longer periods of time with your subjects, getting to know them and gain their trust. If they had children then the fact I was also a magician always came up. This somehow led to the suggestion - usually at my invoking - that I provide some school children entertainment at their local school.
A few schools stick in my memory more so than others. One was Gelantiply School in the high snow country of the Australian Alps, very close to the border of Victoria and New South Wales. This is sheep country that hosts some very special guests, the Yellow Tailed Rock Wallaby. At that stage there were only about a dozen left in the wild and we were there filming them.
We found time one day to visit the school for a magic show. It was a just a single building, and small. The teacher/principal met us and proudly told us it was almost a full student turnout and they were eagerly waiting our entrance. I walked into a room with six students. Huh? What about the high attendance? 'We are officially the smallest school in Victoria with only seven students enrolled. Sorry but it's shearing time and one boy was needed to work in the shearing sheds.' That was my smallest school children entertainment experience ever.
Another time we made for Chicago in the USA and the notorious slum area, Cabrini Green. In the sixties, large public housing tenements were built there but it was to be a social experiment gone wrong. At the height of its lawlessness Chicago police refused to enter for fear of their lives. Things had quietened for our arrival but the apartments were still unpleasant, run down and scary. Seven people had been murdered in the last two weeks. There were more real gunshots outside the residents’ doors than there were on the nightly TV police dramas. The families there were trapped by their socio economic situation and lived in an environment fuelled by anger, the subject of our documentary.
The local kids participated in anger awareness programs at the local Byrd Community School. They looked and acted like normal kids but the metal detectors and physical bag searches mandatory before gaining entry to the school suggested these five to nine year olds had seen a lot more than my daughters Georgia and Sophie had. Their early exposure to drugs, guns and violence didn’t stop them liking magic tricks. I launched into a quick show but had my rapt attention stolen by the PA speaker that crackled into life. “Students, stand and face the flag.” The Star Spangled Banner struck up and with hands on heart everyone proudly sang along. My moment was gone and we got back to filming which is apparently why we were there.
Probably my best memory of school children entertainment was a show was in East Timor, just after the country had gained independence from Indonesia. I was shooting a documentary for ABCTV following the plight of East Timorese school children trying to get an education without desks, chairs, books, pens, teachers or school rooms. These had been burned to the ground by the departing Indonesian Military. They really did do a thorough job of torching the place when they left.
Operating in and around the capital of Dili was relatively safe. The only real act of aggression we encountered was a stone throwing monkey who made it very clear he wanted to be left in peace.
We visited five schools and I did as many shows. One was under the shade of a large mango tree as the schools were burnt out shells. One school had a UNICEF Aid Truck parked on the school grounds. It made a perfect stage.
I remember the fun and the smiling faces and the sweat in the tropical humidity. No one spoke english so I learnt a lot about what magic tricks work without words. I also learnt a lot about what I really wanted to be doing with my life, and I knew then that it involved magic and children.
School Children Entertainment
To find school children entertainment for your school go to Julian's Education shows