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Europe's youngest fire eater, direct from the 1950s.

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
Music-hall fire eater Jon Gresham
Fire eater Jon Gresham
new-fangled television was increasing rapidly. In this environment, only the best and most creative acts could survive.

One 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 Hot Meals Served by Jon Greshammusic 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.

After several highly successful years touring in theatres and circuses around the 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). The act 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.

'Europe's 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 layer of intrigue. Now past its 50th year, the act is ideally suited to contemporary variety shows or as a stand-alone piece.

As 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.


Whilst 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.

Hot Meals Served by Tim Cockerill Hot Meals Served, recreated by Tim Cockerill Hot Meals Served by Tim Cockerill
  To  make a booking enquiry, or to find out more about 'Europe's Youngest Fire Eater', please contact us.

All content Copyright Tim Cockerill