A DUBLIN magician is conjuring up new business via online shows as traditional entertainment avenues disappear in the pandemic.
Professional mentalist Jamie Skelton has been performing at weddings, kids’ parties and corporate events for the past 13 years.
But he had to get creative after the coronavirus arrived on our shores last year and put a spell on his calendar.
He told Dublin Gazette: “2019 was my busiest year ever, off the back of an appearance on Ireland’s Got Talent, Xpose & Ireland AM.
“So 2020 was set to be even better as performed at Bray comedy fest as a headline act. But then lockdown hit last March and, as you can imagine, all of my work simply ‘vanished’ overnight.”
Jamie was left feeling deflated and struggled to come to terms with his rising star being halted in its tracks.
He said: “Distraught and frustrated, I received the PUP payment for months…sitting around feeling hopeless. There was no work and nowhere to perform.
“Then one day, I had an idea… virtual shows. Zoom was on the rise and virtual meetings were the new thing. So I thought to myself, why not try to perform online?
“I bit the bullet, invested in a new laptop, cameras, lighting and a backdrop and started to contact all of my previous clients.
“I literally sent hundreds of mails, texts and messages to try to generate some business.”
Interest trickled in and Jamie performed a few Zoom shows here and there for private kids’ parties and work meetings. Then it suddenly snowballed.
He said: “I was being booked more and more, performing for huge companies and brands such as Google, LinkedIn, Facebook… then I was performing “around the world”, in the UK, Europe and even America.
“By Halloween I was inundated and by Christmas I was booked out…
“I checked my figures and was shocked to find that December 2020 was my most commercially successful month… ever. And I didn’t leave the house once!”
As the extended lockdown bites there is no sign of a slowdown for Jamie who says he is now “constantly” performing online for all ages all over the world.
“I have performed at virtual conferences, webinars, coffee mornings, birthdays, get togethers and more,” he said. “I even performed for John Cleese at a Zoom meeting.
“All because I pivoted and adapted my business online. I am hopeful for the year ahead and excited to see where it brings me.”
Visit www.jamieskelton.ie/online-show for a better idea of what the virtual show entails.