Incorporating the Variety Artistes' Federation
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Meet the Committee

12 January 2016

Meet the Committee

Hon Sec

Branch Secretary: Mandelea

I'm Mandelea your new Branch Secretary. I was Assistant Secretary for many years to Len Edwards ( a very hard act to follow ! ). I have also served on several committees - Walk On, Variety and Midlands Area as well as attending ARC many times as a Rep. I have been a member of Equity for about 25 years and for most of that a member of the Birmingham and Wolverhampton Variety branch. I moved to Leicestershire 11 years ago but tried to retain my ties to the Birmingham branch. I would like to see the branch become more vibrant as it used to be. So with your help let's see what we can do - it's YOUR branch after all.


Jim Assistant Secretary: Jim Townsend 

Secretary Jim Townsend has retired from the post he has occupied since Len Edwards retired. Coupled with over twenty years as Chairman, Jim has served the Branch for over thirty years rarely missing a meeting during all that time   He says  “ It has been a privilege to work for the Branch seeing new faces joining the Branch in it’s hey day. It’s a tragedy that members can’t be bothered to attend especially with the great ideas   coming from the new committee to persuade members to come along and put the Branch back on its feet. 

Also, after many years doing hardly anything to help save our Variety workplaces ( Pubs and Clubs ) Equity have launched a new campaign aimed at just that. We have literature  to hand out and I ask that all the Membership helps to make this a success “LIVE ENTERTAINMENT WORKS”.

Another campaign, spearheaded by Tracy Briggs of the General Branch kept the BBC on its toes and in the Birmingham Area when it seemed a lost cause.

We are now ensconced in the Old Fox Pub opposite the Hippodrome in Hurst street, a place that has many memories of Variety Artists dropping in for a pint over the years including , I believe, Charlie Chaplin.

Perhaps some of this nostalgia will rub off on new faces.

In the meantime I have stepped sideways to become the Assistant Secretary to  Mandelea who has been elected as Secretary for the coming year and I am sure the members will give her all the support that I have had .

Thankyou to all the members of the Committee who have helped me to run the Branch over the years and to Area Organiser, Tim Johnson for his guidance and steadying hand when I have been tempted to bend the rules.


Chairperson: Conk The Clown

 I am Conk the Clown - Chairman of The Birmingham Variety Branch. I have clowning for over 30 years. The last 16 years I have been full time and I have clowned all over the world. My aspirations are to see that our Variety Branch members are offered the chance of work in own region first, before the work goes to equity members from outside  the area.




Vice Chair/Public Relations Officer/Webmaster: Louise Mayer

Louise Mayer is a highly experienced and versatile performer; singing, playing guitar and getting the party started as part of her seven piece band.

Louise has been performing professionally as a singer, musician, event coordinator and DJ for many varied and exciting events and her enthusiasm for making the "party swing",  or rock as the case may be, is always her top priority. Quality is paramount on any of Louise's performances and she is proud to be Vice Chair of Equity Birmingham Variety Branch.

Her work has included:

BBC Radio sessions, London Jazz Festivals, Birmingham Jazz festivals, Midland Youth Jazz Orchestra, Fat Chops Big Band, Roger Harris Big Band, Ronnie Scotts, Jools Hollands Jamhouse, Granvilles, Alton Towers, and many, many private parties for international companies such as Jaguar, Mercedes, Rolls Royce, Ford, Royal Horse Society, Uttoxeter Racecourse, Wolverhampton Racecourse, Royal Horticultural Institute

At venues including: Warwick Castle, Ansty Hall, Coombe Abbey, Newhall, Sandon hall, Ardencote Manor, Nailcote Hall, Crewe Hall, Swinfen Hall, Luton Hoo, Norbury Hall, Cardiff Castle, Stafford Gatehouse Theatre, Spa Centre Leamington, Althorp House, NEC and ICC

At hotels: Marriott, Hyatt, DeVere, Grosvenor, Hilton, Dorchester, Moat house, Royal Court, Shakespeare, De Montfort, Du Vin, Ramada

At Universities of London, Birmingham, Leicester, Loughborough, Keele, Nottingham and the many County Showgrounds and Golf & Country clubs around Britain

Louise is also the first performer to sing live while dancing on ice in a professional Ice Show and has recently been presented with the Trevelle Award for services to Equity.



Treasurer: Alec Powell

Once the owner of a circus, I now work as a comedy magician covering most types of work from close up to cabaret. Having said that the majority of my work is as a children's entertainer and Punch & Judy man. I run a magic dealership by the name of Albion Magic supplying props for magicians and for the past 12 years have organised 'Kidology' a national convention for children's entertainers. I hope that the new committee will focus on making the branch meetings more relevant to members to encourage greater attendance and create events to assist members to network and develop their business.





Mike Eastman

My career started in the late 1960's and early 1970's, when I formed and played in the London based boy-band, “Katch 22”, who made many singles and a top selling L.P., as well as television and film appearances. 

Fast forward a few years, and after performing with various other music bands and later in 'Showbands', who did comedy and sketches as part of their shows, I got the 'acting' bug, and completed a 2 Year Acting Course at Birmingham Theatre School. This led to me starting working in both musical theatre shows, and appearing in many T.V. Dramas, films, and 'soaps', as various characters, and also to my becoming a member of Equity. 

I am still working in shows and Pantomime today, as well as a freelance member of the production crew at BBC Drama Village, in Birmingham, but still manage to find time to write and record new music, and songs for various artistes, and also for a new album, hopefully for release in 2015.

 As I said earlier, I have been a member of Equity for many years, and now hold 'Long-Service Member' status, and have also been on the committee, since the amalgamation of the Wolverhampton and the Birmingham Variety Branches, many years ago. With my many years of experiences in both variety and television, I hope to be able to offer advice and encouragement to younger members, and any other Branch members for that matter, who need it, in my capacity as a serving committee officer. 


 Wezley Guren

I am Wezley Guren Artistic Director Pyro Productionz. In 2004, I was offered through Channel 4 an opportunity to be trained at the Birmingham Royal Ballet (BRB). There, I learned skills like stage and technical construction, costume and design, Art and Choreography and Artists Management.

I have worked in different positions within the entertainment industry until becoming an Entertainment and Promotions manager for different night clubs and cabaret bars. This gave me the opportunity to start contracting dance performers on a regular basis and organising rehearsals for different shows.

After working for different companies and agencies with special interest on stage production, I worked in different parts of England, Italy and Spain and decided to become an autonomous worker to develop my own ideas. In this way, I started linking agencies and other companies to produce entertainment for night clubs, birthday parties, public houses, charity events, festivals... An increasing high demand on my services and the lack of a structured system at the agencies dedicated to supply entertainment drove me to create own company in 2013.




Dion RaVelle

Self Contained Vocal Entainer

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