Colin Watkins founded ‘Collie Wobbles Magic’ in 1997 with a passion for magic and a drive to entertain. Since the birth of the business, his application of award-winning
Colin Watkins ready for work
performing skills and unique blend of magic have stunned audiences across the UK.
Throughout the years, Colin has strived to further his abilities and has been able to achieve a high quality of entertainment for all age groups, working in a range of venues. However, his interest in entertainment stems further back than 1997. In his younger days, Colin spent much of his time employed as a youth worker with the group ‘Youth for Christ’, working to both entertain and educate children about the dangers of youth crime. Later, his career took him away from entertainment to become a house parent for the National Autistic Society.
It was during this time he began learning magic as a selected skill to take with him on tour around various primary schools, secondary schools, clubs and churches discouraging children from crime and guiding them to partake in meaningful activity. It was during this process that Colin really began to find his feet as an entertainer.
What made you first get into magic?
“It all started in my early 20s. I wanted to be employed by the organisation that is spoken about above. The aim was to encourage children into moral activity. When I submitted my application they asked me, Can you sing? I said No… Can you play the guitar? I said No… the list went on… Can you do magic? I said No, but I would love to learn. My leader gave me the details of a magic shop. On my first visit, I remember wanting to buy the whole shop, it was like being in a sweet shop for grown ups! The owner of the shop noticed me immediately and stopped me from just buying everything I could afford. He explained that you need three tricks, one for the beginning, one for the middle and one for the end. I have always remembered him dearly and credit him for giving me my first lesson on showmanship. Once I had mastered them, I went back and bought three more tricks, which I took on tour with me. The funny thing was, these few tricks were the only ones I knew, but it didn’t seem to matter. After all, we were frequently moving to different venues and people always just enjoyed it for what it was. I loved the thrill of entertaining people and it gave me a sense of giving.
Time moved on, and, in joining as a house parent with the NAS, entertainment seemed to exit from my life as quickly as it came in. At this time, I was living alone and just felt a bit stuck in everyday routine. I wanted to bring back some of the ‘magic’ (pardon the pun) that I got from touring and I desperately wanted a hobby. So, I searched around and joined the Watford Association of Magicians. On my first night, I met Johnny Lowe, who had a fantastic career as a ventriloquist and is now one of my closest friends. Shortly after this I became friends with a younger guy called Mark Foot. One day we had met together and he said, “Why don’t you become a children’s entertainer?” I already work with children, I thought, why would I choose to also spend my spare time with them? He replied, “Well, I think you would be good at it.” That’s nice I thought, but to me, it was a hobby and would only ever be that way. “Right” He said, “I’ve booked you in for this afternoon, you’re going to do a show!” … There was a clear stunned silence at that moment. After the statement had sunk in, he said ‘so, what are you going to call yourself?’ In a panic I thought of the only name that came to mind. Collie Wobbles!” Although I am infinitely grateful for that day, I am terribly sorry for that client, as I had absolutely no idea what I was doing!”
Why ‘Collie Wobbles’?
“It was the name that my Mum called me when I was young, as my named was Colin Watkins, and I had always hated it, yet in that moment it seemed like the perfect name. Even though I despised it for years, it serves me well now and has become a running joke in my show so… thanks Mum!”
Why do you feel that this time was important in your growth as an entertainer?
“Whilst working with children in my younger years I discovered a natural talent for entertaining and became more comfortable as a performer. I enjoyed the interactive aspect of the Job and found the whole experience gave me a new level of confidence, which has since grown. Now I enjoy my role making people smile and hope that by making people’s events more special, I can offer them the same sense of importance and give them a unique and memorable experience.”
How did you develop your own unique style?
“After I decided I wanted to make magic my career, I went around and interacted with various other entertainers and looked at what their style was. But it was never quite for me. A lot of the magicians that I watched were very linear, presenting trick after trick until they had exhausted their entire repertoire. What I felt was missing was a narrative, something that linked the tricks together and was unique to any other entertainer out there. I wanted something that genuinely sustained interest and captured the imagination. So that’s what I created.”
How has your show progressed over the years?
“Back when I first started my show I was mostly trialing what did and didn’t work. Shortly after I began working, an agent signed me. During my time in the agency I was given artistic input from other entertainers and it definitely positively impacted some of the details about my show. For example, I used to dress up as a clown for my show, but I soon discovered that the name ‘Collie Wobbles’ seemed to tickle the children enough. Also, advice is always given along the way and I have many friends who helped guide me in the beginning however I would like to say I have always been loyal to my original intention and have roughly kept to the same narrative concept.”
Experience in other Fields:
In addition to his experience with children in schools, Colin also spends a lot of his time interacting with the general public both young and old, making them feel important, calm and relaxed in a hospital setting. (Colin Watkins is proud to work for the NHS as a phlebotomist. He has held this position for 19 years, first working for the National Blood Service and now for St. Albans City hospital for the last 12 years.)
These social skills are employed by Colin in his professional capacity both as a phlebotomist, and as an entertainer to ensure the wellbeing and comfort of both his patients and your guests.
Colin Watkins is also the proud winner and current holder of the ‘Jill Leaney Stage competition’ prize, awarded by the Watford Association of Magicians.
For ‘Most Entertaining Performance’ 2009/2017
Contact Information: Telephone: 01582 794935 or Mobile: 07961 817834
Areas include Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Surrey, and central London