Education Through Entertainment

School Assembly Programs - Tours Versus Local Performers

Posted on Mon, Oct 3, 2011

school assembly performers resized 600There are many, many performers in this country making their livings, or trying to make their livings, through performing school assembly programs for kids. Some are good, some are great and some are, well ... some are not so great.

Some of these performers are skilled in a particular field of entertainment, like magic, or juggling. Others are skilled in an educational field, such as science or astronomy. Some are psychologists or motivational speakers or authors. All have something to offer to kids. For today, though, I want to address a different variation among performers of school assembly programs. Some tour and some do not.

This sounds simple and straight forward but it makes a big difference.

As a representative of a school, you are, of course, in one place all the time. At your disposal are both kinds of performers, both those who will tour through your area and be available at certain times, and those who are locally based and available regularly throughout the year. Of course, if you are with a rural school you may, depending upon your location, have fewer choices that a school near a major city. Generally, a locally based performer cannot survive in a tiny market, and so very rural schools usually have access only to to touring programs. On the other hand, schools near a major market will have access to both kinds.School Assembly Performers

Now, let us look at how touring and resident performers break down in another way. Both may be independent acts, or they may be part of a larger organization or agency. Thus you have what are referred to as “Mom and Pop” acts, where the performer is out doing shows while the spouse is at home handling contacting schools and booking dates. The two together represent the entire organization. Sometimes, there is no Mom, just Pop, trying to perform and to handle booking billing, contracts, taxes and all the other details that go into this business.

On the other extreme you have large companies where individual performers are part of a stable of acts represented by a central booking organization. In such cases, the company may own a program and hire independent performers to present the program, or the programs may be owned by the performer and the company simply represents them. (Mobile Ed Productions operates in both of these modes, owning some programs while simply representing others). 

Finally, there is a hybrid option. One large company franchises it’s programs to individuals across the country. In this way, the basic components of the program and promotional material come from the corporation but the individual performer is responsible for booking them self in their own local territory.

If you are looking for school assemblies for your school, how are you to know what to pick when faced with these choices? Obviously, availability will play a part. You can only choose from what is available to you. Content will also play a role. Are you seeking Lincoln or a magician? Science or silliness? Entertainment or education, and so on?

But if faced with choices between the types of performers and organizations listed above, there are some important facets to consider. 

School Assembly Programs
The first thing to consider is experience. A touring performer is on the road and generally performs every day in order to meet expenses. A resident performer, including those operating a regional franchise, are often living at home and working only sporadically. 

The second consideration is communication. You will need to be able to communicate with your presenter when scheduling and then in preparation for a visit. This is even more important when scheduling for winter programs as weather often necessitates last minute contact. “Mom and Pop” performers are often hard to reach, because they are in school during the day performing. If they are too easy to reach it may also set off red flares as you wonder why they are not in school performing. Larger companies usually have a fully staffed office to handle scheduling, questions, logistics and payment issues.

Finally, when dealing with individual performers there are the thorny issues of liability and accountability. In the unlikely event that there are problems, will the presenter stand behind their program? Is it easy to address a problem when you are speaking directly to the presenter who was at the center of the problem? Are they insured? Larger companies carry insurance and have representatives to deal with any issues that may arise and to make certain that your concerns are addressed to your satisfaction. Moreover, companies that have been in business a long time will not usually have survived without both great product and great service. With individuals it is more difficult to predict.

So the “take away” on this is that, while many independent school assembly performers are absolutely wonderful, trustworthy and reliable, the security and convenience of dealing with large professional companies and agencies provides an ease and guaranteed satisfaction that is hard to beat.

Geoff Beauchamp is the Regional Manager of Mobile Ed Productions where "Education Through Entertainment" has been the guiding principal since 1979. Mobile Ed Productions produces and markets quality educational school assembly programs in the fields of science, history, writing, astronomy, natural science, mathematics, character issues and a variety of other curriculum based areas. In addition, Mr. Beauchamp is a professional actor with 30 years of experience in film, television and on stage. He created and still performs occasionally in Mobile Ed's THE LIVING LINCOLN.

Topics: School Assemblies, School Shows, School Assembly Programs, School Assembly Performers, School Assembly Program Performers