Comedian and ex-coat entertainer Johnny Tait takes a look at Park Resorts
I believe that holiday parks play a vital role in keeping variety alive.
Many of us begun our careers on these resorts and many of us still perform on them.
I personally began my career as a Redcoat before moving on to becoming a visiting act.
One company that employs no less than 160 resident entertainers known as “Teamstars” and hands out over 5,000 bookings per season for visiting artists is Park Resorts.
Spread over 49 holiday parks under the motto of “Create Amazing Memories” one colourful character that I have had the pleasure of working with on numerous occasions is entertainments manager Zippy Davies.
If you believe in the saying lead from the front then Zippy is the character you are looking for to lead a resident team, having just completed her 15th summer season, with so much energy and zest this larger than life character really does keep the party going.
Most of her seasons have been at Nodes Point on the Isle of Wight and Zippy’s efficiency and pleasant approach make her a joy to work alongside. When they bottle and market this amazing dancer’s energy let me know, I would like to have some of it.
The beauty of the holiday parks is that they give young talent the chance to blossom and 23 year old Shannon Jenkins has really done that, the first time I saw her perform was during her first summer season, I was impressed then, and now 5 years on this extremely talented resident vocalist performs like a seasoned pro.
Of course it is not all about making a song and dance. Where would variety be without comedy?
To provide that Julie Butcher the visiting artiste manager and Jamie Hughes the artiste booker call on the experience of comedians such as the well-known west country comic Tank Sherman with 34 years’ experience of treading the boards this natural funny man who dares to titillate the audience with silly gags that most of us would not be brave enough to attempt, provides an evening of laughter with his excellent delivery and razor sharp timing.
Also flying the flag for comedy are ex-resident entertainers (Do you remember when we referred to resident entertainers as “Coats”?) Two very funny men Lee Goode and Steve Garrod that form the highly successful traditional comedy double act The Unlikely Lads. The Unlikely Lads were formed in 2003 and have been delighting audiences all over the UK with their unique style of banter and parodies ever since.
Park resorts recently held an “Open House” showcase to find new talent to perform alongside their already established acts.
I cannot mention established without naming Sparky, Sparkle, Naarky and Pip Squeak, these are Park Resorts animated characters that regularly stage productions of their own.
With 49 parks spread over the length and breadth of the UK Park Resorts are certainly doing their bit to keep variety alive.