The Dos and Don’t of hosting live entertainment. 5 Show tips from Magician Timothy Drake

Speaking or performing for a live audience is more of an art form than people know. Its not just a matter of getting up there and doing your thing but rather creating the proper staging area so your performance area ensures a receptive audience. What makes a good staging area? Illusionist and Magician Timothy Drake shares some of the secrets he has learned in 20 years of performing for live audiences.

SILENCE PLEASE: Silence is not normally something a performer wants from their audience during their show ( applause is always welcomed ) but silence from an audience at the beginning of a show is when the magician can have the audiences full attention to create a needed connection with that audience. The performer should only introduced when the audience is quieted and a proper introduction can be delivered. If the performer is introduced while the audience is talking and not paying attention then not only is the audience missing the introduction but you are telling the audience that the performer is not worthy of their attention. This starts the show off to a very bad start where the performer has to struggle to gain the attention they didn’t get from the beginning. ” If I can start off with the audiences attention at the beginning of a show … I’ll have no trouble at all keeping it for the duration” says Drake. “The worst way to start a show is to be introduced while people are talking or still finding their seats”

CLOSE THE BAR: Many events feature a bar during dinner and dancing. During a live show however… ( especially a magic show ) the bar should be closed. A magic show is somewhat like a comedy show where there is a build up to a punch line. In this case the  punchline is a surprise magic effect that the audience wasn’t expecting. If an audience member is on their way to or from the bar they are missing the set up for that effect as well as the final effect possibly. A line up of several guests at the bar is also an invitation to a conversation where the noise distracts from the performer on stage. It is recommended that the bar be closed before the show but not before guests have been notified that now is a good time to get drinks as the bar will soon be closing.

THE DANCE FLOOR OF DEATH: If you really really want to kill a magic show… put a big empty dance floor directly in front of the stage separating the performer from the audience they are trying to create a connection with.  A magician needs to be able to look audience members in the eye if they want to connect with them. Drake likens an audience on the other side of a dance floor to a performer trying to get your attention from across the street. How much interest will you really have in them if you can’t see them clearly? When that interest fades in an audience the talking begins and you have lost your bond with them. Timothy’s show features lots of audience participation and when it comes time to choose a volunteer simply looking into the audience or stepping off stage into a crowd works well. It should be fun and quick so the show isn’t interrupted. If you have to leave the stage and run across a dance floor to search through the dark for a volunteer the momentum in the show lags along with audience attention as the stage is empty and boring in your absence.  ” The dance floor of death is a hotly debated topic with many an inexperienced event organizer or catering manager.” explains the illusionist. ” My job as the performer is to ensure the audience has the very best show experience available. Sometimes the event organizer or catering manager simply wants whats easiest for them and not what is best for the show. When I show up to an event and discover and empty dance floor in front of the stage I speak with the person in charge about moving tables on to the dance floor for two reasons. The first is for the reasons stated above and the second is gives those tables in the back that were moved a much closer view and a more enjoyable show experience. Another alternative is to have chairs placed in front of the stage before the show starts. Guests in the back can sit in those chairs during showtime and when the show is over they simply return to their tables and the chairs are removed.

Either way…. there must be an audience in front of the stage. If those seated in front of the stage enjoy the show… everyone in the room will pay attention and enjoy the show. The Dance Floor of Death will kill the show… end of story.

VISIBILITY: As mentioned earlier an audience has to be able to clearly see a performer. If you have more than 100 guests then a stage or riser of some sort is needed to make sure everyone has a good view. The stage should be at least 12 inches to 24 inches high. The larger the crowd the higher the stage so all those in the back can see. Tall centrepieces on a table are a NO NO as well. Nothing blocks a audience members view of a stage like a bouquet of balloons rising up from every table or even a large floral arrangement. If you have ever sat behind a tall person at the movies… you know what we are referring to.

DINNER:   And now the golden rule of ANY live entertainment at a banquet. There is a reason they call it AFTER DINNER entertainment and that is because its suppose to be after dinner and NEVER during dinner. If the event is running late on time they may encourage the performer to go on during dinner. No professional would ever do this. Dinner is for dining..aka…eating with focus being on the meal in front of you and in conversation. The guest should expect enjoy that experience and not have to focus on whatever is happening on stage. Imagine sitting at a round table with your back to the stage and being asked to watch the show while you eat?  Its pretty much impossible to focus on entertainment while eating when at the same time servers are passing between tables delivering food and clearing dishes and asking you if you’d like more coffee.

If you can follow these rules your live entertainment has a much better chance of success in entertaining your group.

Magician Timothy Drake is a full time entertainer who has performed magic and illusion at banquets, corporate and special events across South Western Ontario and  Canada  for 20 years. The above mentioned tips are some of the hard earned lessons he claims to have learned the hard way. ” In the beginning I would give in to the caterer who didn’t want to move tables or the event planner more interested in the dancing after the show than the show” says Timothy. ” Then I learned that a poor decision on the event planners part… reflected on my show and not them. It made my show look bad. From that point on I stuck to my guns and insisted the room be set properly so the audience can experience a show they will enjoy.

Ontario Magician and Illusionist Timothy Drake having fun with show volunteers.

South Western Ontario Magician and Illusionist Timothy Drake never lets a moment of fun pass by without making it part of the entertainment factor in his corporate event or family event shows in Toronto and across Ontario. Quite often during Drakes magical performance moments of silliness break out and the Toronto Illusionist is not afraid to let them run their course. This photo taken in Brampton Ontario reflects some of those hilarious moments.

Comedy Magician in Ontario Canada.

Clean Comedy Magician Timothy Drake has some fun with magic show volunteers on stage.

Experienced Toronto Magician Entertains on all levels across Southwestern Ontario

Professional Magician and Illusionist Timothy Drake performs a very unique and professional magic show for special events, galas, corporate banquets, galas and family events. Drake has been a corporate entertainer in Toronto and the surrounding area for over 15 years. During that time Timothy has logged thousands of hrs in front of audiences and has used that experience to build a show designed to entertain on all levels.

” Its about connecting with the audience” says Drake. The audience has to like the magician to the point they are willing to lower their guard and simply enjoy the magic rather than seeing it as a challenge.  The Toronto Illusionist performs many original illusions in his show which is heavy on audience participation. Audience members become part of the show at several points during the magical presentation.

Timothy has performed across Canada but entertains primary in Southwestern Ontario including Toronto, London, Windsor, Guelph, Kitchener, Sarnia, Mississauga, Oakville, Owen Sound and many more cities across the province.

Toronto Magician, Illusionist

Professional Magician and Illusionist in Toronto

Collingwood Magician for Corporate and Special Events – Canadian Illusionist Timothy Drake

Magician Timothy Drake is a special events entertainer in Collingwood and  Ontario Canada. The Toronto Illusionist travels southwestern ontario performing at corporate events, banquets, dinners, fundraisers and special events. Timothy Drake has been a professional magician in Canada for over 15 years. His interest in the magical arts began long before that but Drake spent years perfecting his act to a point he decided to become a full time professional magician in the corporate market.

Drakes magic show included a lot of amazement, drama, laughs, comedy and audience participation. It is guaranteed to impress any audience and will be something that is long remembered by those who see it. Event planners across Toronto and the GTA choose Timothy Drake when quality matters.

Recent southwestern ontario magic shows include performances in London, North York, Collingwood, Newmarket, Guleph, Kitchener, Brampton, Barrie, Sarnia and Windsor.

Collingwood Magician Timothy Drake

Toronto Magician Timothy Drake performs across Southwestern Ontario including Collingwood.

North York Magician – Illusionist Timothy Drake

North York Magician Timothy Drake is a corporate illusionist who performs primarily for as entertainment for corporate events in Toronto and the GTA. Timothy also performs at private functions and special events across Ontario, Canada. The Toronto Illusionist presents a combination of magic, illusion, drama, comedy , presentation skills and audience participation in his magic shows. After performing professionally for 15 years Drake has learned from experience exactly what it takes to draw an audience into the magic of the moment.

Timothy Drakes recent performance have included magic shows in Toronto, the GTA, Mississauga, North York, Vaughan, Oshawa, London, Sarnia, Windsor  and Hamilton.

Magician in North York Ontario. Timothy Drake

North York Magician Timothy Drake bends a wine glass in a woman’s hand.

Magician in Windsor – Corporate Magician Timothy Drake

Windsor Magician Timothy Drake offers professional entertainment for corporate and special events across southwestern ontario Canada. This corporate entertainer in Toronto offers a blend of magic, illusion, drama, comedy and audience participation in his after dinner show  played at corporate banquets, dinners and special events.

As a professional Illusionist Drake entertains audiences of all sizes, backgrounds and ages. The show is fit for both corporate and family audiences. Drake performs across Ontario and recent shows have included magic performances in Toronto, the GTA, Scarborough, Oakville, Hamilton, Milton, London, Sarnia and Windsor Ontario.

Magician in Windsor Timothy Drake

Windsor Magician Timothy Drake performs a levitation with an audience member.

Corporate Event Entertainment in Toronto – Magician Timothy Drake

Magician Timothy Drake often asks members of his magic show audience to join him on stage to help in performing an illusion. Timothy likes to blend both original and amazing magic in his corporate after dinner banquet shows. This Toronto Illusionist presents his show at corporate special events and banquets in the Toronto and GTA as well as across south western ontario. Sometimes audience members  may be a bit timid about joining Drake on stage as they fear they will be embarrassed or made to look foolish. ” I’d never do such a thing” Drake says. ” I share some clean fun with some of them but for the most part its about making them the stars of the show.” In the photo below a volunteer who was at first skeptical is amazed at the magic that literally happens in her own hands.

Toronto Corporate Event Entertainment - Magician Timothy Drake

Magician Timothy Drake performs at a corporate special event.

Magician in London Ontario – Magician Timothy Drake

Magician Timothy Drake is an corporate entertainer in the London Ontario to Toronto and GTA area. Timothy performs his magic and illusion as after dinner entertainment at corporate banquets and special events across Ontario. Drakes magic show has been seen in Ontario cities like London, Ottawa, Sarnia, Guelph, Kitchener, Mississauga and Toronto including the GTA.

Magician in London Ontario

Magician Timothy Drake shares a laugh during a magic show near London Ontario

London Ontario Magician Timothy Drake

Magician Timothy Drake is a magician and illusionist who performs at corporate banquets and special events across Ontario Canada including Toronto, London, the GTA, Brampton, Sarnia and any other city in South Western Ontario. Timothy performs original magic and illusions rarely seen by Ontario audiences. The magic show is interactive and often involves  audience participation. Drake’s show is featured as after dinner entertainment throughout Canada and Ontario.

Drakes London roots go back to 1999 when he created the Shriners Haunted Mansion for the London Shrine Club.

London Ontario Magician

Magician in London Ontario

Magician Timothy Drake meets the King at London Ontario Magic Show.

Illusionist Timothy Drake has the honour of working with many talented performers in his magic career. Drake performs magic and illusions at special events and corporate events across Ontario and Canada, but primarily in the Toronto and South Western Ontario region. At a recent magic show in London, Ontario Magician Timothy Drake met up with Matt Elvis Martin. A very talented Elvis Impersonator in London.  Matt worked the crowd close up performing many of the Kings classics. It was a performance enjoyed by all in attendance.

Magician Timothy Drake

Magician Timothy Drake meets Elvis in London Ontario

Corporate Magician Entertainer in Toronto – Magician Timothy Drake

Magician Timothy Drake specializes as a corporate entertainer in Toronto and the GTA for corporate audiences of all sizes. Timothy presents an illusion and magic show that offers a blend of magic and illusion with touch of drama, comedy and story telling. Audience participation plays a big part in Timothy’s corporate magic show as it’s Drakes way of connecting to his audience. Drakes after dinner banquet show is perfect for any corporate event or banquet in the Toronto area including as entertainment for company christmas parties in Toronto.

Magician Timothy Drake also designs and develops special effects for corporate press events and trade shows.

Corporate Magician in Toronto Ontario

Toronto Corporate Magician Timothy Drake

Company Christmas Party Entertainment in Toronto

When it comes to the month of October the holiday most people think of is of course Halloween. However the holiday Toronto companies should be thinking of now is Christmas. The Company Christmas Party season is the busiest time of the year for entertainers in Toronto. Those booking entertainment for company christmas parties should consider booking early to  avoid missing out on the select entertainers in Toronto and the GTA. Toronto Magician Timothy Drake recommends booking holiday party entertainment early as he has to turn down numerous booking dates each November as they fill up by late October.

Company Party Entertainment in Toronto

Corporate Magician Timothy Drake Audience Reactions

Magician Timothy Drake in Toronto

Toronto Magician Timothy Drake

Magician Timothy Drake

Magician Timothy Drake

Magical Vacation at Timberlane Rustic Lodges on Lake Manitou

The thing about being a illusionist is that even when you are not working you still are.  Toronto corporations book Timothy Drake well in advance so the corporate entertainer has to be on call and available to speak to show clients anytime anywhere. This includes vacation time.  Even on a relaxing vacation at Timberlane Rustic Lodges ( check out their blog here )on Lake Manitou a  professional performer has to be ready to take a call from a  perspective client.

Boating at Timberlane Rustic Lodges

Booking a show while on vacation at Timberlane Rustic Lodges

Magical Booking Dates for Holiday Events in Toronto

As a corporate magician in Toronto, one of my busy booking seasons is the Christmas season when toronto corporations  and event planners are looking for illusionists as entertainment at their holiday or year end party. I’m am sure its the same for most entertainers as well as for magicians in toronto but each year there are always one or two dates on the calendar that I call ” magic dates”. Magic Dates are the dates that for some reason ( because the stars all aligned or whatever ) that every client wants. Usually I will hear from a client months in advance on a certain date. Once it is booked I will hear from numerous other clients all wanting the very same date. Not the day before or the day after but the very same date. This year I turned the same date down at least 10 times but true to the formula never got a single call for the day before or the day after. In a perfect world some of those I heard from would be hosting their event on either the day before or after to help fill my calendar but for some reason that never happens once a ” magic date” is set in stone.

So a helpful hint to any future clients who may be considering hiring entertainment at a special event in Toronto during the busy Christmas holiday season…. BOOK EARLY if you want to be the winner of the ” magic date” and be sure of getting a quality entertainer for your event.