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ALLIN KEMPTHORNE: BIOGRAPHY
Allin Kempthorne has at various parts of his life been a cartoonist, an actor, a film director, a radio presenter and for many years now an accomplished full time touring magician and entertainer.
Here's how it all happened.
Cue wibbly-wobbly swirly effect as we slip back through the years to a small town on the sunny South Cornwall coast where one summer a pair of twin boys were born.
Many twins think alike, but not these two. While his brother had a very technical mind and went into computers, Allin was the artistic and creative one and a gifted cartoonist.
At the age of just 15 the twins created a computer game for the then very popular ZX Spectrum computer, Allin designing the graphics and animation and his brother writing the code. Their game Wriggler went on to become a chart hit and was one of the most popular computer games of 1985.
Not a bad achievement for a pair of boys still at school in Cornwall.
Much to the pride of their mother the young twins made some money out of the game. Then much to the annoyance of their mother they spent it on filling their house with arcade machines like Space Invaders and Pac Man.
Well, they were only 15 after all!
Allin continued to draw cartoons. But in a rural backwater of fishermen and farmers, drawing cartoons wasn't seen as a useful skill. So as soon as he hit 17 Allin jumped ship (well, train actually) and headed for the bright lights and bustling opportunities of London, leaving Cornwall and his West country accent far behind him. Arriving in the big city he taught himself how to speak like a civilised Englishman and ambitiously set about his big dream of becoming a cartoonist for the national newspapers.
THE CARTOON KING
Less than a year later, at the age of 18 Allin had achieved that dream. As a busy freelance cartoonist his humourous looks at life were being published every day in one of the national tabloids The Sun, The Mirror, The Star and The News of the World.
Once again his mother was proud!
Yet Allin was unfulfilled. In the newspapers every day he was making people laugh. Yet the reality of being a working cartoonist meant he was shut away in his studio for long hours every day chugging out his cartoons. He needed somewhere else he could take his talent for comedy. He needed to find a live audience, which meant he needed performance skills. So he did what anyone would have done in these circumstances. He packed in his successfull cartooning career to enroll at Circus School!
Once again his mother was annoyed!
Allin threw himself enthusiastically into his classes at Circus Space, the UK's top circus school. He applied himself to learning stage-craft, physical performance, juggling, character acting and various creative ways to fall off a unicycle and humiliate himself on the trapeze. No pain, no gain, right?
At weekends he added real world experience as a street performer in London's famous Covent Garden where he learnt how to capture and captivate an audience. By the age of 20 he was regularly drawing crowds in Covent Garden numbering hundreds of people with his lively half hour comedy juggling act. He was invited to take part in the International Street Entertainer of the Year Awards, making it to the finals held in the Channel Islands where he came 4th.
For the next two years Allin honed and developed his comedy juggling show as a resident entertainer at the theme park Chessington World of Adventures.
But always hungry to push himself and increase his performance skills he also enrolled at Drama School.
At London's Method Studio Allin's already extensive performance experience and highly developed skills in improvisation, comedy and showmanship caught the eye of his teachers, making him stand out as a strong performer amongst his fellow students and he was voted 'Most likely to succeed'.
He now had a strong training and well developed mix of talents as a circus performer, a knockabout comedy entertainer and now also as a serious actor.
A CAREER BEGINS
On leaving Drama School Allin picked up a five month contract performing lively comedy juggling around Scotland. So packing his juggling knives and his unicycle he moved to Edinburgh where he got a job in a Juggling shop by day and performed in the pubs and clubs of Scotland by night. In Edinburgh he soaked up new skills and knowledge in the arts of magic and conjuring from his friends and mentors Edinburgh magicians R Paul Wilson (who would go on to write and star in the BBC's The Real Hustle) and Ian Kendall. These two encouraged Allin and set him on a path as a stage magician that he would never leave.
Allin was now working across the country as a magician and juggler, busy with street performing, corporate event entertainment and as a television studio audience warm-up act for programs for the BBC and Channel 4.
He took his show to the Edinburgh Festival where The Independent newspaper included him in their feature "The best of the Edinburgh Festival". No stranger to awards by now, Allin's street inspired juggling routine won the Tap Water Award (a short lived alternative award to the famous Perrier Award) for new comedy.
Allin spent a year in Hong Kong and Japan and toured Spain as a novelty juggler act at the Marberissa Comedy Festival. He travelled to Germany, Russia and Soviet Georgia as a researcher and TV presenter for an American television special Juggling At The Barricades. Unfortunately the TV crew he was with had timed things rather badly and while they were in Georgia civil war broke out, the Russian army invaded and Allin and his team fled the country on a plane full of refugees.
As an actor Allin was now picking up the occasional small television role. He appeared in a few commercials often using his circus or magic skills. He started appearing in Pantos and performed in a UK arena tour of the opera Aida, including a three week residency at the Royal Albert Hall.
He played the role of the younger Charles Dickens in the feature film The Riddle (his older self being played by Derek Jakobi). Other roles include Cripple Wa in the film version of Terry Pratchett's The Colour Of Magic with Sir David Jason and putting his circus, magic and mime skills to good use in numerous films and TV shows.
In his personal life Allin and his girlfriend Pamela ran off without telling anyone to Gretna Green in Scotland and were secretly married. He still mantains this was the best thing he's ever done in his life.
On starting their married life together Allin and Pamela set up a film company Wibbell Productions and wrote and developed a screenplay for a comedy vampire feature film, "The Vampires of Bloody Island".
The film was made with Allin directing and both Allin and Pamela taking major roles. It had a small cinema run and sold around the world.
Keeping the Gothic vibe Allin created the character of the Cornish Goth stand-up comedian Eddie Twist. He spent a year touring the comedy clubs circuit performing as Eddie Twist while filming a series of webisodes as Eddie Twist called "Twisted Britain".
In 1997 Allin became a radio presenter with a nightly comedy and music show on local radio station Silver FM.
Then after a chance meeting with a new agent Allin suddenly found himself thrust into the world of corporate presentation. In a busy half decade he wrote and performed comedy gameshows for live corporate events and conferences across the world in the UK, Dubai, Qatar, South Africa, Denmark, Norway, Greece, Turkey, Holland, Germany, France, Switzerland and the United States.
TELEVISION AND STAGE
Meanwhile many television roles continued with appearances including as a juggling clown on Eastenders, playing Bono in John Bishop's Britain, a London street entertainer on Doctor Who, a TV talk show host on Basil Brush and even appearing in his underwear on Dave Gorman's Genius.
Meanwhile on stage Allin featured in comedian Lee Evans's record breaking tour for his show 'Big'.
He played the role of Marvin Acme in the London stage production of "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?", a role in which he also performed several magic routines.
Allin and Pamela's day to day performance work was now firmly settled into entertaining crowds and audiences at festivals, fun days, corporate events, shopping centres, theme parks and tourist attractions around the UK.
Under the banner Kempthorne Entertainments the pair created many acts and characters for walkabout and stage entertainment, using their comedy, magic, juggling and balloon modelling skills, and it's this that has seen them kept busy and in demand for the last 20 years!
Taking on the name Gizmo for his children's shows, Allin has carved himself a niche as a top level children's entertainer, appearing at thousands of holiday parks, shopping centres, corporate events and tourist attractions including Harrods, the Palace of Westminster, Madam Tussauds, Legoland, Hamleys and Butlins plus many tours of Europe entertaining children on cruise ships.
He has also performed at private children's parties for top level politicians and celebrities including at the homes of Sir Richard Branson, The American Ambassador to the United Kingdom and Britains Got Talent judge Amanda Holden. With his children's party business Gizmo Parties he is also a very popular children's birthday party entertainer around his local region in South Wales and the South West of England.
Not just for children, Allin created an evening cabaret magic show with a simplified version of his name as "Alan Thorn's Magic and Madness" which he performs at holiday parks and corporate events mainly around the South West of England.
By now with Kempthorne Entertainments and Gizmo Parties providing Allin with a solid and succesfull career, he wanted to take his considerable performance skills to a higher level.
Allin sought out the best magic teachers in the world and gained personal tutoring in magic and illusion from the Las Vegas headline magician Jeff McBride and the legendary American magician Eugene Burger. Under the expert guidance of these two world class performers Allin crafted a new magical persona and commercial stage show as Professor Strange.
Allin created Professor Strange, a quirky and colourfully exciting Victorian showman, with essences of Steampunk, time travel, mad scientist, Victorian sideshows and vaudeville.
Allin wanted to showcase Professor Strange to the widest possible audience in the country. So he went to the biggest television show and performed as Professor Strange on "Britain's Got Talent" in 2018, getting considerable press coverage and picking up many bookings from festivals and events.
THE PANDEMIC HITS
When the Covid-19 Pandemic hit the world at the end of February 2020, like every performer around the world Allin suddenly found every event, party, stage show, tourist attraction and festival he was booked to perform at suddenly cancel. Faced with a year and a half with no work Allin moved online, creating magic shows and children's party entertainment for audiences on Zoom.
For Christmas he also set up Santa's Hotline where schools and parents could book a live meeting with Santa Claus on Zoom or a personally recorded video message.
Now as we emerge from the Covid pandemic and people can once again get together for fun and entertainment, all of Allin Kempthorne's skills, history and previous experiences as a juggler, magician, mime artist and character actor are put to full use in his stage shows, event entertainment and children's parties.
He enjoys thrilling and exciting audiences with his fast-paced, lively and imaginatively quirky style and the enormous variety of performing as different characters and in different venue, party and entertainment settings.
To kick off the year in style in February 2022 Allin was a finalist in the UK Family Entertainer of the Year award which pitted the six top family entertainers of the holiday park circuit against each other. You can see his performance as Professor Strange on YouTube.
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