ALLIN KEMPTHORNE: BIOGRAPHY
Allin Kempthorne has at various parts of his life been a cartoonist for the best selling newspaper in the UK, an actor, a film director, a radio presenter and for many years now an accomplished full time touring magician.
Cue wibbly-wobbly swirly effect as we slip back through the years to a small town in South Cornwall where a pair of twin boys were born.
Many twins think alike, but not these two. Matthew had a very technical mind and went into computers, while his brother Allin was the artistic one, his most recognisable gift being able to draw cartoons really well.
A formidable team, 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 Matthew writing the code. Their game Wriggler went on to become a chart hit and one of the most popular computer games of 1985. Not bad for a pair of boys still at school in Cornwall.
Much to the pride of their mother they made some good 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!
Matthew continued his education while Allin continued drawing cartoons. However in a rural community full 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 the hustle and bustle of London, leaving Cornwall and his country yokel 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.
In less than a year, at the age of 18 Allin had achieved that dream. As a freelance cartoonist his humourous looks at life were being published almost 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 he was shut away in his studio for long hours every day chugging out his cartoons and he never got to hear that laughter. 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 and packed in the cartooning 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, and applied himself to learning stage-craft, physical performance, juggling, character acting and how to fall off a unicycle and humiliate himself on the trapeze.
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. Always hungry to push himself and increase his performance skills he also enrolled at Drama School.
At London's Method Studio his 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 comparitively inexperienced 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.
On leaving Drama School he picked up a five month contract performing his lively comedy juggling show touring pubs and clubs in Scotland. So packing his juggling knives and his unicycle he moved to Edinburgh where he worked in a Juggling shop by day and performed 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 Paul Wilson (who would one day 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.
He 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 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 Derek Jakobi as Charles Dickens in the feature film The Riddle. 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 got married at Gretna Green in Scotland. He still mantains this was the best thing he's ever done in his life. And finally his mother was happy!
The two of them wrote a screenplay for a comedy vampire feature film. The Vampires of Bloody Island was made by Wibbell Productions with Allin directing and the two of them taking major roles. It sold around the world gaining a significant cult following.
In 1997 Allin became a radio presenter with a nightly comedy and music show on 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 events across the world in the UK, Dubai, Qatar, South Africa, Denmark, Norway, Greece, Turkey, Germany, France, Switzerland and the United States.
Now back in the UK 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 also filming his web series Twisted Britain.
Meanwhile many television roles continued with appearances including as a street entertainer on Doctor Who, a juggling clown on Eastenders, playing Bono in John Bishop's Britain, a TV talk show host on Basil Brush and appearing in his underwear on Dave Gorman's Genius.
For much of the last decade has Allin carved himself a niche as a top level children's entertainer. Under the name Gizmo he has appeared 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.
In recent years in theatre Allin featured in comedian Lee Evans's record breaking tour for his show 'Big'.
He also 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.
At shopping centres and corporate events Allin and Pamela created a great many characters for walkabout and stage entertainment using their magic, juggling, circus, improv and mime skills, becoming increasingly in demand as shopping centre, theme park and tourist attraction entertainers.
Never one to stop learning and growing Allin signed on at the Las Vegas Magic and Mystery School where he was personally mentored by the acclaimed Las Vegas headline magician Jeff McBride, pushing his stage magic and performance skills up to whole new levels.
Under the expert guidance of McBride Allin crafted two new magical personaes. and two commercial shows to go with them.
Under the name Professor Strange, he performs as a quirky and colourful Victorian showman, with essences of Steampunk, Victorian sideshows and vaudeville. In this guise Allin was featured on the 2018 series of the TV show "Britain's Got Talent".
He also performs an evening cabaret magic show as "Alan Thorn's Magic and Madness" with which he tours holiday parks and corporate events.
All of Allin Kempthorne's skills, history and previous experiences as a juggler, magician, mime artist and character actor are now put to full use in his stage shows.
Under his three main guises of Gizmo, Alan Thorn and Professeor Strange, Allin now thrills and excites audiences at holiday parks, corporate events and theatres, parties and special events with his fast-paced, lively and imaginatively quirky magic shows.
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