Corporate Events

Royal Events and Lorry Parks

WHETHER it's a royal event at the Ritz Hotel in London or a family-fun day - in the pouring rain - at a lorry park in Basildon, Charles Burns and Mike Herbert will feel perfectly at home. They have worked at both these events (and many others) and find that people from all walks of life delight in the simple art of an elegantly-cut silhouette. If booking a silhouettist is something you might consider for your own event the following might interest you.

Hello! Magazine article

Here are some photographs which appeared in the Jubillee edition of "Hello!" magazine (issue no 1229). They show the Queen having her silhouette cut by Charles at her 80th birthday party at the Ritz, London. From right to left:

  1. Her Majesty removes her glasses as she does not wish them to appear in the silhouette!
  2. Posing for a silhouette, and clearly enjoying the experience.
  3. Holding the finished silhouette, now mounted on a card, and showing it to other guests around the room.

Needless to say, the silhouette was a great success.

Thinking about your event

The tools of the silhouettist are very simple: a pocketful of black paper and a pair of superior-quality surgical scissors. As these are easily portable, the art of silhouette cutting can be incorporated quite seamlessly into almost any kind of event.

If you have never used a silhouettist before it's a good idea to arrange a chat, either by phone or Skype, to discuss your event and see how silhouettes might work within it. The advantage of a video call is that Charles can cut a silhouette or two via computer link, allowing you to see something of the art in action.

Interacting with guests

(Getting technical here… )

There are a number of different ways for an artist to interact with guests at an event. You may well have your own ideas about this, otherwise just trust the artist to decide which will work best on the day.

Mix'n'mingle is entertainers' shorthand for the scenario, described in How it Works, where the artist simply blends in with your guests, indistinguishable from them apart from possessing a very unexpected talent. A second scenario, known as table-hopping, involves presenting the art of silhouette cutting as a small performance during a sit-down meal. At each table the artist chooses a volunteer (or asks the table to choose for him) and snips a rapid silhouette, in one cut, for all to see. Those lucky enough to be chosen receive the silhouette to take home as a souvenir.

The third option is for the artist to set up a stall. This can work well at large events where guests are expecting to move from area to area. The silhouette stall is bound to be a popular attraction, and even those not wishing to have their portrait cut will enjoy looking at the various examples on show.

Silhouette Stall

A silhouette stall working as a trade-show attraction. Visitors are invited onto a company's stand to have their silhouette cut.
While the artist is working a company representative is able to engage them in conversation about the product.


Lastly there the option of putting the scissors in the hands of the guests and inviting them to have a go! With a little thought a silhouette workshop can be tailored to many kinds of event and will give your guests a very direct experience of the art.

Using some or all of these interactions silhouette cutting can work well at gala dinners, awards evenings, weddings, private birthdays, anniversaries, charity fund-raisers, costume balls, trade shows, conferences, bar- & bat-mitzvahs, and a whole host of other events.



Four silhouettes by Charles Burns