Santas learn how to put the Ho Ho Ho into Christmas
- Credit: Terry Harris
Wanna-Be Santas turned up for a training course today to learn how to put the Ho Ho Ho into Christmas.
Entertainment promoter Sammy Caleb Brooks has brought them all together to sharpen their skills and get a job which is for Christmas only – and not for life.
He’s been forced to cancel his annual get together in Ely for the past two years but Sammy is hopeful he’s found the cream of the Christmas crop ready to start work later in the year.
The Santa trainees have come from all over the UK to the Lighthouse Centre in Ely where Sammy is putting them through their seasonal paces in his third workshop.
"As well as Santas, we have Mrs Clauses and Elves here," said Sammy.
"I've been a professional Santa for 15 years. At the first workshop, we had about six Santas, the second one we had about 15 and now its gone up to over 30 so it's really grown over the years."
Each year, the convention starts with a big photoshoot in a studio that is purpose built. Each actor has a couple of photos taken which they can then use for publicity.
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In the afternoons, the group listen to talks from professionals within the Santa industry such as learning makaton, talks about home visits and masterclasses in characterisation and acting.
Sammy says the furthest Santa who attended the convention this year was from Scotland.
In previous years, people have travelled from Norway too.
"This convention is pretty much worldwide," he said.
"This year, we were actually going to have a gentleman coming from America but due to travel restrictions, he couldn't come."
Some individuals have been Santas for many years, but Sammy says his COS (Convention of Santas) also welcomes newcomers who are looking to start out their journey.
Rob Bauker, who has been acting as Santa for 12 years, says it's a "truly magical" experience to attend the convention each year.
"I've been coming to this event since Sammy started it back in 2017. It feels great to be able to bring the North Pole to Ely again," he said.
"It really is truly magical because every adult remembers their childhood Christmas mornings, creeping downstairs to see if Santa had visited.
"For us to increase the quality of all Santas in the UK, it means that our children can also have that really brilliant experience where they absolutely truly believe."