|The 1950s was the last decade in the long tradition of British music hall.
Long-established variety acts were being forced to compete with
wireless radio and cinema, and the ubiquity of the
television was increasing rapidly. In this environment, only
the best and most creative acts could survive.
act that did survive was created by young showman Jon Gresham in 195x.
Performing as 'Europe's Youngest Fire Eater', Jon put a twist on what had been traditionally portrayed as an 'exotic' art. Performing
in a pillar-box-red dinner jacket to popular music
of the time, the act was packed full of charisma
and charm, yet without missing out on any of the sensation and
spectacle of the classical fire eater.
|Fire eater Jon Gresham
several highly successful years touring in theatres and circuses around
world, Jon retired the act from full-time performance in order to
concentrate on his growing empire as a sideshow entrepreneur (see www.sideshowillusions.com).
remained in storage until 200x, several years after Jon passed away,
when Tim Cockerill was asked to ressurect it and perform a recreation for a UK magicians'
convention, using the original equipment and music. Due to the success
of this performance, Jon's widow Pat Gresham decided to bequeath the
act in its entirety to Tim.
Youngest Fire Eater' is available once again! The act, originally
designed for theatres, is equally at home in contemporary
performance spaces, and has recently been performed in arts centres,
marquees and even restaurants. Whilst retaining a timeless
air of quality and charm, its period qualities add an extra
of intrigue. Now past its 50th year, the act is ideally suited to contemporary
variety shows or as a stand-alone piece.
a second set in a variety show, Jon Gresham would, on rare occasions,
perform a signature stunt: Chewing Molten Lead. This rarely-seen
effect dates back hundreds of years, and at the time was performed by
only a handful of people. In 2005, Tim Cockerill resurrected the stunt
for Professor Vanessa Toulmin's 'Visual Delights' at the National
Fairground Archive, University of Sheffield.
Tim is currently the only person in the world who performs this stunt.
not normally performed as part of the 'Europe's Youngest Fire Eater'
act, Tim Cockerill can perform Chewing Molten Lead as a feature
presentation, or as a one-off piece. Chewing Molten Lead can also be
performed as part of the 'Hot Meals Served' lecture, in venues where naked flames are not allowed.
make a booking enquiry, or to find out more about 'Europe's
Youngest Fire Eater', please contact