If you read last weeks episode (blog post) you’ll know that Team Bigtopmania spent a Saturday afternoon busy in Surrey providing circus entertainment to a company christmas fun day. But the show doesn’t end there. Oh no! You’ve merely made it to the interval. It’s SuperVet Christmas Party time; So get your popcorn, sit back and enjoy the rest of this roller coaster ride of circus & event supplier rambling!
Can we supply a marquee for 300+ guests at tables?
Let’s set the scene before we get into the actual event. Our client Fitzpatrick Referrals, made contact with us at just the right time, way back in May 2014.
Honoured to be asked and from what I now know these Supervets and their amazing team do outstanding work.
Plan early! That’s a 6 month Christmas event planning lead in.. just right!
Next Tip!Its really good to be able to see the tent and we like to let clients know if this is possible.
Here’s a picture of the set up on that occasion in May 2015
Farnham Lions Indian Spectacular
and there are even more tents behind. We look forward to working join their next big event in 2017 for 600 table seated guests!! That was a big event and it gave the present clients a good sample. So why not go bigger!
Tent for 300 guests + Large Foyer Bar Tent + Service tent + Stage + Dance floor + loos and lots of entertainment too! In Mid December!
The challenge was on and we produced a few plans and worked with the organiser Stuart (who also runs a therapy centre in Guildford. ) Stuart is a friend of Noel Fitzpatrick and event planned as a favour. I think he likes parties too!
One of the draft plans!
Next Tip; Don’t do it all yourself!
A production collaboration was in order as it was a huge job.
Balloons; dozens of them.. Stuart and his wife.. You have to do something…
The Event Build; Production phase.
It was a very windy site during site visits so we were well prepared with huge amounts of extra ropes, ratchets , and mega stakes. There was no way we were going to have any wind issues!
In the build week leading up to the big day we spent a couple of chilly days fighting the winter weather rigging the rather enormous 6 pole Red & White ‘Squirty Cream‘. This marquee served as the main function space giving 383 square metres of party space.
As soon as this tent was ready we informed Carron marquees that their work could begin!
We had delivered some kit and made some ground preparations in advance so we ended up a day ahead of schedule!
before the foyer and catering tent added
The space was lit with a combination of our fairy light systems, festoon lighting and globe lanterns to light the tent. Later Puxley Sound installed the stage lighting, projectors and battery operated up-lighters.
Before the carpets.
Tents were linked with a 4×4 chinese hat pagoda to a 9x15m candy-striped marquee that acted as the grand entrance tent.
Foyer tent install
Equipped with a well stocked bar and champagne to welcome guests.
well stocked bar
Entrance during event
The set up looked colourful and exciting when we left it, but by the time we returned with all the finishing touches; tables & chairs, decor, dance floor, a carpet and uplighters.
The venue looked quite stunning.
It’ll all be alright on the night.
When so much attention to detail has gone into the planning of a colourful vibrant event, it’s nice when the guests do it justice with an equally fantastic fancy dress effort.
Next Tip; Dress up!
Team Supervet did not disappoint. As well as gorgeous formal wear, there were plenty of leopard skin body suits, groups of strong ‘men’, a pantomime horse with both ends, all manner of clowns and ringmasters. It adds so much fun to the atmosphere from the start, it takes the fear out of atmos-fear!
Next tip; Book some great entertainment.
So after an already long day of performing circus shows down the road. The Bigtopmania team jumped straight into action. We provided mingling circus entertainment to give onlookers something to watch whilst they sipped champagne. Breaking the ice!
Emmanuel was keeping things simple with just a little bit of African bowl spinning and charismatic funny faces which always amuse me even after all these years.
Aerial Els was up high on stilts as a beautiful christmas fairy.
Lucas Jet and Moses did some walkabout juggling to the sounds of the wandering band.
After the guests found their tables,
The London Essentials then kicked things off with an en-mass rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody . . every-one joined in of course.
Then BANG! Generator fail. Smoke and Steam.. just like a car engine failure!
Next tip; at a big event, have at least a back up generator, some onsite electricians and ring for a replacement!
Back stage, people were madly running around trying to sort things out. For a while it was going to be a choice between power for catering or power for marquee.. but in the end Carron marquees brought a new generator. Only setting the schedule back by only 40mins or so. USE A LOCAL GENERATOR CO!
Next tip; Use an opportunity!
This unplanned power fail created a highlight for us and whilst we were having a break before the main show, word got back to the dressing room that the generator had failed (nothing to do with any of our kit thankfully). So the tent was in relative darkness apart from some battery powered LED uplighters round the edge and a small amount of lighting. Elanor had thankfully brought her glow clubs and they went straight in to action.
Making use of the lower lighting and making it look like it was all part of the plan; Glow juggling and acoustic wondering band to the rescue!
The London Essentials band
The guests remained in high spirits and danced and sang and watched our juggling apparently with some of them not realising this wasn’t planned. Below shows a badly-filmed clip of the nice moment the lights came back on.
A great and sexy start to the shows in store.. but not quite as sexy when colleague vets got to have a go!
After the pole dancing it was meal time and during this the London Essentials continued to serenade table by table. A VERY recommended band.
juggling around the tables
I’m afraid i didn’t want to intrude on tables and meal with a camera so no pictures of that and apologies for the I phone unedited images. Lets move on to the
Post-Meal, Pre-Dancing Circus Show Time.
It wouldn’t be a Supervet Christmas Party without some circus!
We had previously installed a 5m high portable, mobile trapeze rig over the dance floor and the action packed show to follow was in front of the stage. We aimed for an action packed show full of skills and comedy of about 25mins long.
The SuperVet Christmas Party Entertainers were;
Lucas Jet who did his jumping over guests on a unicycle routine. He really shouldn’t have picked on our bookers; Noel and Stuart! The Uk African Acrobat Company provided tumbling, human pyramids, contortion and bowl spinning.
It was back to back festivals in early August, Camp Bestival then without a chance to shake the glitter out of our hair we were setting up at FF.
Forgotten Fields (FF if you’re hip) is brought to you by the organisers of long term favourite on the UK festival scene Kendal Calling, which unfortunately clashes with Camp Bestival so we have never managed to get our festival kids entertainment there.
As well as the usual festival kids entertainment we also provided ‘Mr Big’ for a Real Ale bar and ‘Double Cream’ for a magical cabaret tent.
A photo posted by Forgotten Fields (@forgottenflds) on
festival kids entertainment
In terms of the Kids Area, due to the booking being not as far in advanced as usual, a lot of our usual team were otherwise engaged. Which gave us a great opportunity to think creatively and work with friends that we haven’t had a chance to book before. We had the usual suspects of Big Bears Big Balloon Disco (BBBBD maybe?), Amy working tirelessly on trapeze workshops, I was bringing my solo Lucas Jet Circus Show which was a great challenge to balance managing the area with performing as well as finding time to occasionally eat. On Sunday we had a rather brilliant kids talent show with some incredibly amazing participants.
The UK African Acrobats were also on hand to provide a cultural feast of African music, acro and charisma. There was a Bigtopmania debut for the nicest beatboxer you’ll ever meet, Bass6 who we still need to invoice for costs because he blew the roof of our Big Top!
But we still didn’t have enough acts to fill a day of kids entertainment in the Big Top, what could we do? Queue Kat and Amy’s Kids Zumba (which needs a catchy name for next year). They spent one evening learning dance routines from youtube and you would never have guessed. The parents were shaking it off to Tay Tay and the Bass head toddlers were booty shaking to DJ Fresh. It was one of those give it a go moments but it couldn’t have gone better. We were so proud. Outside of the Bigtop we had all the usual bits, circus workshop ongoing with the ever smiling crazy aunt Polly ; ) Interactive Inflatables being abused and bundled by umpteen under 8’s, a limited number of Crazy Bikes tending to let gravity do its thing and rolling them down the hill. The toddler tent was a much needed chill out space for grateful parents who were happy to kick back in the ball pool or eat some lego with their little ones.
In the Craft tent we had our most loyal craft family Reasons 2B Cheerful doing their thang as well as providing percussion jam sessions. We also welcomed to the team Gadabout Arts who made this beautiful butterfly site decor along with lots of Origami creations and also Cult Milk who covered just about every element of crafts you could think of (and some you wouldn’t think of) throughout the weekend.
It was my first time running the area without Pete and Anne and even Leo was away in Italy, although I’ve run a lot of one day smaller festivals in the last couple of years, this was a slightly different animal. Due to it being the first year the festival ran, they did not know how popular they would be with families. Had it not been for the sterling effort from our team we would have no doubt been overrun, but everyone pulled together and the feedback below speaks for itself. I’ve printed these out and I carry them round in my wallet now for whenever I’m feeing down.
And if the various nice comments from these lovely people don’t convince you, you can take a look at what we do in this video that i’ve previously made.
The dates for your diary are Good Friday 3rd April to Easter Monday 6th April (2015).
And the whole of the Easter school holidays!
Wellington Country Park is a fabulous outdoor play centre just outside Reading, Berkshire, Uk on the way to Basingstoke. It is a huge family attraction centre, regularly getting outstanding reviews and is full of children’s play activities, mixed with country park, lakes, deer park, walks, camping and more. Not forgetting the ride on train and dinosaurs!
Each year there’s something new, though not sure what till we get there!
We have a long history of working at the park, performing in various guises, taking our mobile play activities, inflatables and crazy bikes, supplying entertainers and installing our tents as outdoor venues for shows and activities.
Over the Easter holidays we supply an exciting programme through the weekends and midweek.
hands on go mad on the crazy bikes days (8-9 April),
have a go at circus skills workshops (15-16 April ), including having a go on trapeze.
But there is also a weekend (11-12 April) of magic shows by Magician David Crofts, who is also an ace Windsor based balloon twister.
Top that off with a weekend (18-19 April) of clown shows by Reading’s finest Bigfoot the Clown.
And there’s s an Easter egg hunt of course and a massive tent packed full of hands on Easter Craft activities.
So much to do!
Lets talk Baby Big Top Circus!
Roll up Roll up, Ladies and Gentlemen… But particularly the children.. Boys and girls .. welcome to the show!
Since 2009 we have presented the Baby Big Top Circus Show over the Easter long weekend.
There will be 3 shows each day at 11am, 1 pm and 3 pm. It’s always busy and lots of fun. Get your coffees and seats early! The show is targeted at young children and families has appropriate comedy and skills. It can get noisy in the tent!
We present a family orientated show … Very family ! As well as guest acts, the core team is the Bigtopmania family Husband & Wife, Son & Daughter, partners and friends!
You may even get to see a couple of pets(!) .. well Big Bear and the Easter Bunny!
You may even get some pop corn or chocolates!
You are likely to see’ clowning, acrobatics, juggling, china plate spinning, aerial trapeze and silks, limbo, Knife throwing, cowboy roping, ball spinning, balloons, unicycling, bowl spinning, hula hooping and more. NB; as ever, show content is subject to change!
Here we are not talking about plastic spinning plates but real China!
He is one of the few UK performing plate spinners and together we can have a smashing time!
I only want to quickly talk about the act itself and move on to last weeks (end Feb 2015) plate spinning work at Edinburgh University.
Oftentimes it’s performed as a comedy plate spinning act involving lots of clowning; other times it may be a typical circus variety type presentation.
Circus Variety Plate Spinning Act.
You know the one… sequined circus artist rushing backwards and forwards placing and spinning the plates on tall sticks aligned in a row, tweaking and speeding up the wobbly plates before they stop spinning and fall.
Comedy China Plate Spinning.
I prefer the clowning route as you can add more comedy with falling plates, far too tall sticks, bendy sticks, breaking sticks, and odd this like paper plates, juggling plates, plate manipulation tricks and a much much more. Laughs and skills combined.
Team-Building and Corporate Analogies with Plate Spinning.
As a real china plate spinner, I have presented real China plate spinning acts for many different scenarios from pure circus entertainment in circus tents, parties, shows, Greek nights, Butlins etc to corporate presentations with the typical analogy of “how on Earth do you keep doing so many different tasks at the same time?”… Keeping all the plates spinning. Here’s a business Leadership Analogy I have found on the web.
I have used plate spinning in training sessions, team building, exhibition stands, I have taught Microsoft graduate trainees, used plate spinning in training video for Arriva Buses; Over the years so many different places.
There is more information and photographs of PeteZa’s various spinning plates scenarios and how to book a plate spinning act here.
I thought I’d done it all.
Till last week!
The Multi-Temporal Experience of Plate Spinning.
That was one topic in a great lecture entitled “The Random Lift and Other Algorithmic Stories”.
To be honest.. I’m still not sure what it means but I had great fun doing it!
Say that again?… China plate spinning during a university professors inaugural lecture!… Interesting!
Not knowing what it would involve, of course I said yes, flew up there, had a few days in Edinburgh and got on with it. (Thank you Flybe for allowing my plate spinning equipment on board, dismantled into a ski bag!)
Chris had previously done a lecture in Paris in 1999 accompanied by a performer with plastic plates….. Pah!
This time he wanted to up the ante and add to the drama and confusion.
The point was it would be difficult for me, the audience and himself to concentrate and achieve, just like real life. It would use multiple levels of brain activity.
Judging by the other topics in his lecture about connections, spacial concepts, random floor buttons in a lift, Internet and web algorithms, I think there was another very clever algorithm involved.
I didn’t hear much during the lecture as I was concentrating on performing, filming, taking photos, doing weird things, all in a far more random, arty way than normal. Very much conceptual and non-circus but also ending in all the plates being spun, coinciding with the end of his lecture. I think it worked very well and added to the dramatics of a very interesting and quirky lecture.
For posterity it’s now on the Edinburgh University Inaugural Lectures website and YouTube video database.
Edited Plate spinning section of Video to come! Or watch it in full here and learn something! ( plate spinning approx 35 mins into it from memory!)
So, if you have any normal or random requests for a plate spinner for your event or for real China plate spinning, or with plastic, or a combination give me a call!