Hypnosis is one of the great variety acts of the modern era. It works well as a cabaret act, or even better as a full evening show. The reasons for its enduring popularity?
Comedians, ventriloquists, magicians all know that the best way to get a laugh is to involve your audience. What an impact, then, from a show whose whole basis is taking people from the audience and showing how they can be the stars of the show.
Other acts are just as good (if not better) when you see them on television. Hypnosis is so much more effective when performed live, because it’s your own friends and colleagues who are the stars – you know there’s nothing prearranged, and no stooging involved.
There’s nothing occult about hypnosis, and a good hypnotist will make this clear in his act. Nevertheless it’s baffling and just a little spooky to see how easily a practised performer can get people to do remarkable things on stage.
Despite rumours and old-wives’ tales about stage hypnosis, when practised by a skilled performer it’s completely safe. That’s one reason FESH exists: to make sure the hypnotist you’re booking is indeed a skilled performer.
All FESH members understand the importance of proper insurance, and we have negotiated our own policy with a leading underwriter specifically to offer FESH members public liability insurance covering stage hypnosis. This insurance is only available to members of FESH.
(The standard entertainers’ insurance offered by Equity and other organisations does not cover stage hypnosis.)
There’s always a backup
It’s inevitable that, despite best intentions, an entertainer will sometimes have to cancel a booking because of illness or some other unavoidable cause. FESH members know each other, and any member who is forced to cancel a booking will be happy to find a reputable substitute who can stand in and perform a similar act.
You’ll get the right hypnotist
Not all hypnotists perform the same kind of act. Do you want something sophisticated and subtle or something bawdy and rude? Are your audience skeptical students or drunken squaddies? If a FESH hypnotist doesn’t feel his act is suitable for your audience, he’ll be happy to recommend a fellow member who does, knowing that his friend is sure to return the favour when the boot is on the other foot.
FESH members are vetted by other hypnotists
To become a member of FESH you have to satisfy the FESH Council that your hypnosis show is safe, entertaining, and worthy of the FESH seal of approval. Anyone can say their show is ‘hilarious’ or ‘bewildering’. FESH members have to prove it to their peers!
Code of Conduct
FESH members promise to abide by the FESH Code of Conduct for stage hypnotists.
Dangers of Other Organisations
Over the past few decades many rival organisations with impressive sounding names have been set up, often by people who were rejected as unsuitable members of FESH. It is worth remembering that there are no officially recognised qualifications in hypnosis, and for this reason members of FESH are not allowed to use ‘FESH’ or ‘MFESH’ or any other letters which are not a recognised qualification. If you have dealings with a hypnotist who uses letters after their name, we recommend that you ask them:
• what the letters represent,
• which organisation bestows them,
• how many members that organisation has, and
• how long they had to study to gain the qualification
You’ll often be surprised, if not shocked, by their answer!
Which hypnotist to choose
FESH doesn’t promote any particular hypnotist above any other. If you have doubts whether a hypnotist is genuinely a member of FESH (and there are many who claim to be members, even when they aren’t) we suggest that you check our list of members or contact the FESH Administrator here to check.