It is time to bring this series to an end. Today I ask my final question for the Stars of Kid Show Ventriloquism.

If you haven’t seen the first four parts of this interview, I highly recommend you start at the beginning. You can find:

Stars of Kid Show Ventriloquism Part One here…
Stars of Kid Show Ventriloquism Part Two here…
Stars of Kid Show Ventriloquism Part Three here…
Stars of Kid Show Ventriloquism Part Four here…

Then come on back!

Today let’s find out the answer to:

Question #5:
What was the most challenging thing you faced as a kid show entertainer and how did you handle it?

Lisa Laird: I had one show where a little boy vomited not once, not twice, but three times before his mother finally took him out of the library! I knew that if I drew attention to the vomit I would end up with more children getting sick! So I simply called for assistance, and moved over to the other side of my staging and went on with the show. When he came back in and vomited twice more, the librarians were aware and finally asked the mom to take him out. Another time I was in an outdoor location at a company picnic and I had several children who kept dashing behind my cases and tried to pull out my puppets. Another child tried to pull on my sound system. That time I had to stop the show and call for the parents because I could not continue the show with that amount of distraction not to mention potential danger if my sound system had been pulled over on to another child. I learned from these two incidents in particular (as well as many others not quite so bad) that you should not expect people (or parents) to have common sense when it comes to problematic situations. You should in fact, expect that it is up to you to solve the problem. You may have to call for assistance, but you have to be able to juggle the situation and the show so you do not lose the rest of the audience! That is where improv comes in!!


Colin Dymond: Noisy parents is the bane of most children’s entertainers lives. After my warm up, this allows a bit of time for any late comers, I address the adults and wait until the room is quiet and they are all listening, this can be quite funny as everyone is watching the last two people talking and I am mentioning the lady in the blue sweater etc. I then tell them that they are welcome to stay and watch the show but if they want to talk it is a lovely day outside, I say this regardless of the weather.

I remind them about how distracting it is when they are at the cinema and there are people talking behind them, I sometimes mention that if I have to tell a parent off more than once they have to pay the Mum £10 towards my fee!
When my dragon teaches everyone the magic words, he picks on one of the adults who didn’t join in and says, “if you don’t join in you have to come to the front and do it on your own!” It’s all light hearted but hopefully it gets the message across and I don’t have too much trouble.

I am also quite good at getting the children sitting nicely so this allows times when the room is quite quiet and that helps too.


Mark Wade: The most challenging thing was coming up with new shows every year that were totally different than the year before.

That meant coming up with new puppets, new personalities, new stage settings, even down to changing the color of the baackdrop I used every year. I was always striving to find things kids could relate to, but yet still be appropriate for them. Making references to pop stars was tricky as I didn’t want to glamorize certain people who did some really suggestive stuff on stage. I looked at what books kids should be reading, what they watched on TV, anything and everything that gave me a clue into who these kids were.

I didn’t want to present 1970’s material to kids who were in the 2000’s, although I was able to come up with some things that seemed to be timeless and could be used anytime I needed them. These are the “gold nuggets” in kid show performing and I held on to these to this day.


Neale Bacon: Generally it is the adults in the room who cause most of the problems. For example, you will be doing a show at a kids birthday party and all the adults are at the back of the room talking and socializing. The noise level gets so bad that the kids can’t enjoy the show. I did 2 things – 1. I make an announcement right at the beginning that the show is going to be fun for everyone and would welcome the adults to join us, but if they want to talk among themselves, that they do that in another area. And 2. I changed the show itself to be more multi-level. I used to say my show was like a Bugs Bunny cartoon in that there was visual funny stuff for the kids and a more mature humour for the adults. Now I say it like a Pixar film because they do that same multi-level entertainment.


Steve Petra: Getting started. My wife Jeanie and I had worked as puppeteers in our church and had the benefit of professional training with puppeteer and author Carol Fijan. The next step was to find an opportunity to do what we had learned for a paying client. When the opportunity came in the form of a commission for an original program from a school district, it was the challenge that would literally determine our future. We handled the challenge piece by piece, using our imaginations, our combined knowledge of curriculum materials and a determination to make it good… really good. Well, if I look at the result now I would likely be a brutal critic of how good it was but our efforts exceeded the expectations of those who gave us the opportunity. You’ve got to start somewhere, or spend your life reading about someone else’s successes.

I’d like to thank my guests for sharing their insights and knowledge over these five articles. Take a moment to thank them below in the comments, and feel free to let us know your greatest challenge as a kid show entertainer too!