A LOCAL STAR TURN
It’s a dream come true every day over Christmas for Norfolk’s Olly Day
When he was a lad he would wander along to Cromer Pier with his grandparents, look up at the names outside the theatre and dream that one day ... it could be him.
“It was,” recalls Olly, ”such a magical place.”
He grew up to become one of the most popular entertainers in Norfolk and Suffolk and now he is looking forward to being in his 10th Christmas Show at the pier.
And today it is his name outside the theatre.
“I may be the headline act but I am not the star,” he says.
“The star is the show itself and the whole cast. I just love it. This is my Christmas present,” says Olly, now a happily married fatherof-two, who has become a great comedian, singer, magician and all-round entertainer.
Oh yes, and he has spent those past 25 years putting on hilarious shows with such a serious message to thousands and thousands of pupils at schools all over Norfolk.
The Olly Day Road Safety Show has become part of life in our schools and is now more vital than ever on our busy and dangerous roads.
“I still get a real thrill out of doing it. I am now performing to the second generation of some families. The children are fabulous,” says Olly.
And he knows you have to be good to grab the attention of these young people.
They are a critical audience and will be quick to switch off if they are bored.
No chance of that with Olly around.
“I try to get the children laughing from the start, then they relax and
take in all the serious messages that we have to get across,” explains Olly.
His non-stop, all-action magic and comedy show aimed at primary and junior schools covers all aspects of road safety in a way the children remember.
“I am passionate about road safety. From stop, look and listen, to the importance of wearing seat belts and cycle helmets,” he adds.
He will be back on the road with his schools show next year but before that there is the small matter of a Christmas show at Cromer Pier where they stage the only variety show of its kind in the world at this time of the year.
The 500-seat Pavilion Theatre is a magical place which bursts into colourful life every Christmas, attracting people of all ages from across Norfolk, Suffolk and the rest of East Anglia – including seasonal holidaymakers.
“It really is very special and it is something I look forward to every year. Where better than Cromer at Christmas? We switch on the lights and it expresses just how wonderful it all is. I love it from the bottom of my heart,” says Olly.
Norwich born and bred, he went to Nelson Street School and then Earlham before leaving to become a carpet fitter ... not for long though. Olly went to a talent competition at a club in Great Yarmouth and got himself a job at Neville Downing’s magic shop on Prince of Wales Road – now the clubbing capital of East Anglia.
“We had some great customers – one day I couldn’t believe it when Tommy Cooper walked in ... just like that!”
The boy Olly worked hard. Showbusiness is tough and takes no prisoners, but with help and
advice from old pros such as Peachy Mead and the brilliant ventriloquist Brian Chamberlain, he made his way up the entertainment ladder.
This year has been another busy one at the seaside theatres but it is the Cromer Show that is so special for him. He will be joined by the world famous magician, juggler, comedian and fire-eater Mark James, along with some great singers and dancers and members of Marlenes School of Dance, plus the talents of musical director Nigel Hogg.
“It is a lovely family show. Every year I am thrilled to be part of it and meet the people who come to see us. What better way to celebrate Christmas – on Cromer Pier with all the lights twinkling. It is truly magical,” says Olly, our very own master of mirth and song. As they say: That Olly Day is a “jolly nice chap”.
Norfolk’s king of squit Keith Skipper says of Olly Day:
His stage menu of magic, mirth and music has earned him a strong following over so many years, along with his role as entertaining road safety ambassador in our schools.
Olly Day as pictured by Stephen Johnson.
It’s the Marshal! A young Olly Day, that’s him with the serious look on his face next to the little outlaw with the fair hair, watching the late, great Marshal Pete Wood, the fastest gun in the east, in action in Norwich ... let’s just say a few years ago!
Olly has always stayed close to his beloved Norfolk.
Olly Day putting on his Road Safety Magic Show which he has been doing in Norfolk for 25 years.
Olly with the dancers at the Cromer Christmas Show.
Having some fun as a vicar … surrounded by showgirls.