Birmingham Variety Branch
Incorporating the Variety Artistes' Federation
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Birmingham Variety Branch


As part of the Equity Celebration of the Year of Variety I  (Alec Powell, Branch Secretary) have organised a show at The Austin on Monday 25th September starting at 7.00 p.m.

It will be themed around remembering the iconic Birmingham night club La Dolce Vita which provided a great venue for many of the top acts in the
day and plenty of work for supporting acts as well. It was a sad day when it turned into a Disco Club particularly for our committee member Peter King who was one of the DJ/Comperes there at the time and decided as a result to call time on it so far as he was concerned. Pete will be
reprising his role a La Dolce Vita for us at this special show. He will be providing the music along with a great live band Crackers Rockin 88.

Cabaret acts will be ventriloquist Tomayo Hatanaka, she
is originally from Japan but lives now in Italy, hopefully you will see her talking goldfish ! Tomayo is here for the Kidology Children’s Entertainer Convention the following day. She is also taking part in the UK children’s entertainer of the year competition earlier on Monday 25th September
more of that later. Also on the cabaret is Danny Hunt and Stephanie Clark’s Amethyst Stunt act.

Leaving their illusion act aside they will be performing some pretty amazing stunts not to be tried at home!!!!!

Finally we have a name familiar to many locals, Ollie Spencer - what I would call a proper comedian. Ollie started out as a drummer with bands such as The Idle Race with Jeff Lynne, and went on to play in support bands for many of the chart topping acts of the day from The Beatles
onwards. He then turned to comedy and was in the original Granada tv series The Comedians. He has been warm up man for so many TV shows it is impossible to list them all, running from Tiswas
right up to Eamonn Holmes Premiership Football show.

It is going to be a great night I am sure and all proceeds will go to the Children’s Charity Variety.Tickets are £5 and you can get them from me or at the club. If you want to just reserve a ticket and pay at the door, give me a call and I will sort that out for you.

Those of you who are kids entertainers are welcome also at the The Children’s Entertainer of the Year Competition. This is at the Austin Club at 12.30 p.m. on Monday 25th September.
Admission to that is £4 unless you are coming to the convention the following day in which case it is free.

We have six great acts plus the indefatigable PJ the Showman Children’s superstar who is in charge of proceedings. The winner of that will be offered a summer season at a holiday camp in Somerset .

Also on Monday 25th September at 3.30 p.m. we have an Equity Children’s entertainers Network Meeting. The first one to be held outside London. Head of Variety Michael Day will be at the helm
along with Rhubarb the Clown aka Martin Solity who has been a member of the Equity Council for a long time.Earlier this year Martin was presented with the rare Honorary Life Membership award by Equity.

This is a great opportunity to hear what Equity has on it’s agenda for kids entertainers and to raise any issues you have.

Tuesday 26th September The Kidology Children’s entertainers convention will take place at The Austin.This starts at 9.00 a.m. and runs to 5.30 p.m. with a night of entertainment music and cabaret in the evening from 7.00 p.m. all under the watchful eye of host Gordon Astley.

Lectures during the day will be from Barrington Powell, Mark Wade from The USA, Graham Lee balloonologist and Richard Cadell along with Sooty!

Whether you are a seasoned performer or interested in looking into becoming a children’s entertainer this is always a great day. There is a hall full of magic dealers, costume makers and balloon suppliers plus lunch provided. The registration for this is £45, it includes everything the day before and can be booked with me or by going to

If you are a ventriloquist or would like to be we have Ventarama a convention for ventriloquists also at The Austin on Wednesday 27th September. If you would like to register for that there is
still time it is £35 for the day including lunch. This is a really friendly day with lectures, an open mic competition, and a show. There are puppet dealers there and plenty of free advice from some really top pros, including Mark Wade from the USA.

If you are at a loose end on Sunday 24th September we have a Magic Car boot Sale at The Austin starting at 9.00 a.m. admission is £4 and there will be tons of second hand magic for sale at bargain prices.  Hot breakfasts available. It ends about 1.00 p.m.

Please remember our next meeting is on Wednesday 27th September, 7.30 p.m. at The Austin
I think I will take a sleeping bag there that week. Make the most of your membership of Equity.

Finally we have another showcase set up for Tuesday 17th October 2017. Starting at 7.00 p.m.
If you would like to take part please let me know 07831 115448 or You get a 15 minute slot. We have advertised it to all 60+ social club entertainment secretaries in the Birmingham area plus we are contacting as many agents as we can. This will also be a great night
so put it in your diary.

All the best - Alec Powell (Branch Secretary)


Wednesday 27th September 2017 7.30 p.m. at The Austin Sports and Social Club, 30 Tessall Lane, Longbridge, Birmingham B312SF. FREE PARKING and only 2mins walk from Longbridge Station.

Come and join us for a drink and a chat!!Lots of exciting projects and potential job opportunities are brewing, don't miss out on those, but more importantly don't miss out on an opportunity to connect with your fellow artists.

Don't be shy!!!!!!




 If you haven't already, please let us know what you do, eg. Walk on, Comedian, Magician, Singer, Dancer etc. 

Contact Secretary  Alec Powell on 07831 115448 or Email

Make the most of your membership join us at the meetings have an opportunity to speak to our area organiser Ian Bayes who is usually with us.

Equity has a vital network of branches throughout the UK which give members a voice in the union and much more. All branches hold regular meetings in their local area and all members and student members are invited to attend these to share views and experiences, discuss issues that are of importance to them and put proposals to Equity's ruling body - the Equity Council. Branches can also organise a programme of social events and raise money for local charities.

If you are an Equity member or student member based in the area you are able to join the branch (no charge) so please get in touch with the Branch Secretary. If you are a member or student member visiting the area you are very welcome to drop into the next branch meeting and get to know some of your fellow members.

This site was updated on 19th September 2017