How to book the right party entertainment for your event
One of London’s leading entertainment agencies reveals the art of finding incredible and unusual acts for any occasion...
If you’ve recently attended a private or corporate event in London’s West End, there is a very good chance you will have seen an act booked through Blank Canvas Entertainment.
Grace Reynolds is the company’s Entertainment Director. So, who better to guide you through how to find the sort of entertainers that your guests will be instagramming and talking about at work?
Who We Are...
“Blank Canvas Entertainment is a leading entertainment specialist for both corporate and private events. We offer a variety of acts from musicians and magicians to circus performers and a range of after dinner acts.
In terms of the people we work with, we’re recommended at over 100 leading venues in London, including Andaz Hyatt Liverpool Street, The Gordon Ramsay Group, Hoxton Holborn and Hoxton Shoreditch, Marriott, One Great George Street, The Waldorf Hilton, The Corinthia, The Groucho Club, The Conduit, The Hurlingham Club, SBE, Shakespeare's Globe and 116 Pall Mall.
We also work with companies including Aviva, Microsoft, Coca-Cola and Sony Music.”
How party entertainment for events has changed...
“Blank Canvas Entertainment started in 2013, and I joined in 2015. During that time, I would say that we’ve seen a shift towards people increasingly seeking fresh and unique concepts to help make their events more memorable.
As an example, we have an act that we started working with last year called Iris Art. Iris Art uses patented technology to capture ultra high-resolution images of guests’ eyes at events. .
You might think ‘well this is just a picture of an eye’ but it is such an amazing act and, of course, every iris is different so every photo is unique. That photo will then be printed out for guests to take and can be branded with a company logo.”
How we find the talent...
“It can work one of two ways. Either an act will apply to be on our books and we will audition them. Or, because the team and I attend all sorts of events all the time, we get to see lots of weird and wonderful acts that we might want to take on.
With Iris Art, they came in for an audition and took a photo of my eye. I thought it was so incredible and so different. There was a massive trend for photo booths, and they are still very popular, but this was something more unique and I definitely I felt there was a place for it in the market.
Another good example is a circus act we work with called Calvos and they do contact juggling, which involves juggling glass spheres that stay in constant contact with the body.”
None of our events are identical...
It’s very important that clients have a bespoke and personalised service. Across our team we’ve worked on thousands of events and no event is identical.
As a starting point, it’s really important to understand the purpose of the client’s event. Why are they looking to host it? What is its purpose?
As an example, if a client is holding a networking event, and not many people know each other, we would probably suggest an act that can mix and mingle with the guests, like a magician or a caricaturist. It can help break the ice and encourage people to talk to each other.
I also think it’s important to ascertain the client’s budget so that everything we recommend is in line with that.
Music always goes down well (for a summer or Christmas party) and the acts that have become very popular over the last few years are roaming musicians. They don’t require any form of amplification, whichmeans they can stroll amongst the guests and get everyone in the party mood.
My favourite event...
In 2016, we were approached by a hugely talented US music producer and he was composing music for HP Discover London, which is Hewlett Packard’s showpiece technology event. He was looking for some urban style to perform a song to open the event and introduce HP’s CEO Meg Whitman..
We put together a group of vocalists, which included two UK beatbox champions and a group of street dancers and then began rehearsing with them. The event was held at ExCeL London to an audience of 6,000 people and streamed online to many more.
Working with 116 Pall Mall...
Our relationship initially started with 116 Pall Mall when we provided entertainment for their staff party. One of the venues we work closely with is One Great George Street, and their business development manager further introduced us to the events team at 116. We’re only in the early stages, but we’re really excited to be working together on future projects.
The current trends in entertainment...
There is a big increase in clients who want something unique and bespoke, and that spans from food and drink to entertainment. The huge rise of social media means that they are also increasingly looking for acts that will look good on Instagram, so acts guests can have their picture taken with – a good example would be stilt walkers or mirror dancers; anything that provides that photo opportunity.
Also, on a broader level, given all the uncertainty in the market at the moment with Brexit, there is definitely a trend towards people just wanting to be entertained and enjoy themselves and that’s something we’re very conscious of. We want to make sure that everyone has an excellent time.
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BOOK YOUR EVENT AT 116 PALL MALL
One of the most prestigious London venues, 116 Pall Mall is situated in the heart of the West End and offers a range of flexible function rooms across five floors, perfect for any kind of event or venue hire for up to 1,500 people.
You can even hire our whole building exclusively on weekends.
Make an enquiry for more information.