Learning ventriloquism is a fun, enjoyable hobby. But eventually you’ll want to find an audience.
It’s the only way to tell if your act is any good and to figure out ways you can improve.
Here are some ideas for places where you can share your love of ventriloquism with others.
- Churches – If you already attend a church, this is a great way to get started. They’ll be thrilled for you to help with Sunday School, or Children’s Church. Make sure you find out what age you’ll be performing for.Churches will also pay for performers for special occasions. Your act obviously has to be squeaky clean in this venue. It’s also important to stay away from denominational differences. Stick with popular Bible stories or character building themes.
- Preschools and daycares – When working with young children it’s sometimes better to use an animal style puppet. They’ll remember your fluffy bunny or silly puppy long after they’ve forgotten you. This age group has a short attention span so you’ll need to keep each skit short. Interactive things work well in this setting. Let them sing along with you and your puppet. Even better, have the puppet mess up the words so they can correct him. The love the chance to show off what they know.
- Schools – To book programs in schools you have to have an educational theme show. It can involve reading, character building, or a particular subject such as math or history. It’s not easy to break into the school market but once you do you can make a full-time living at it if you’re willing to do two or three shows a day.
- Libraries – Every summer each state picks a theme for their summer reading program. Find out what the theme is and build a show around it that encourages reading. Start sending out publicity early in the year because they’ll book their summer programs in advance.Another option to pursue in schools and libraries is teaching a class on ventriloquism. Older kids love to learn how to make up a character for their puppets. They enjoy finding out how ventriloquism really works and putting on their own shows.
- Comedy Clubs – Ventriloquists such as Jeff Dunham and Terry Fator have proven that vent can work for adult audiences. The most important thing to remember for these shows is your material has to be funny. You can have the greatest technique in the world but if you’re not funny you won’t survive the clubs.A lot of comedy clubs have open mic nights where you can break into this field. After you have some experience, then you can pursue paid gigs.
No matter where you decide to perform, always remember to focus on your audience. When possible, find out in advance who’ll be at your show and work some local names into your act.
Remember that you don’t have to use just one side-kick. Most ventriloquists have a main figure such as Shari Lewis and Lamb Chop. But Shari also had Hush Puppy and Charlie Horse to change things up a bit.
Relax and have fun with ventriloquist and your audience will, too.