chapter  9
21 Pages

Warm up acts

WithAnnette Hill

Warm up acts offer a craft of live audience management that is hard won through years of creative and precarious labour practices, and yet they are invisible in media industries and academic research. The empirical data include interviews with different British warm up acts; observations of warm up performances during the filming of a live reality talent competition; and participant observations of live audiences of reality events with crowds of up to 6,000. A warm up act will have behind the scenes information that helps them shape their performance when the warm up is most needed. Warm ups acts are workers with an ‘absent presence’ in the entertainment industry. There is a history of warm up acts working in music hall, variety, comedy and light entertainment. Warm up acts tend to have a background in working men’s clubs, social clubs and variety theatre aimed at popular audiences.