You Gotta Have A Gimmick!

Everyone wants their style to stand out from the rest of the crowd and all promoters like to have a varied bill, where styles and acts are all different… So in the words the wonderful Mazeppa (Faith Dane) of Mervyn LeRoy’s 1962 film Gypsy (a must see for all performers!) “you got to have a gimmick!”

Basically, finding your own style will help you stand out from the crowd. Your own style will evolve over time, the more you perform to an audience, the more you rehearse and the more you feel inspired by a certain group of things (eg, history / circus / pure vintage bump and grind, straight out of the 30s/40s/50s!)

A gimmick can also be a skill you know like the back of your hand – and you really do have to learn that skill well as you want to be known for your craftmanship and delivery of that skill in your act, not that you’ve just thought, ‘That would be good in an act, no one else is doing it’ and shoving in a half-learned idea!

As you’ve just seen Mazeppa explain, anything goes! You play a trumpet – put it into your act! You ride a unicycle? bang that in! You belly dance like a demon? let that influence your acts!

A quick piece of advice… If you limit yourself to only aerial or fire acts, some venues can’t accommodate these types of acts, so you may be limiting your choice of shows you apply to… But on the plus side, you’ve aimed high so set yourself the goal of getting on those big stages!

Also, if you intend to add anything unusual into your act, check you are covered by your PLI as in some cases, you may need to take out extra cover – especially if your act involves fire (in any way – most venues need to see an insurance certificate for the use of candles, lighters on stage or flash paper), circus skills, swords, whips or anything they consider ‘out of the norm’… And be aware that if you are using these types of things on stage and you are covered by insurance correctly, that you need to ‘stay covered’ – which means not having that glass of wine before you go on stage, storing the equipment well and not allowing fellow performers or audience members to handle your props or equipment…

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