We recently had the pleasure of chatting with the Amazing Bubble Man ahead of the show this November. Louis Pearl has been thrilling audiences around the world for over 30 years with the art, magic, science and fun of bubbles. He is a favourite at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where he has enjoyed 14 years of sell-out success.  Here’s our conversation with him, giving you a behind-the-scenes look at what makes his shows so magical.

1. What did you do before becoming THE AMAZING BUBBLE MAN?

I studied literature and art at university… I thought I would be a writer of some sort. Then I stumbled into making toys as a way to earn a living. I began in 1980 by selling my first toy, the Bubble Trumpet, one by one on Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley, by the University. I had to spend hours demonstrating how to make large bubbles… Pretty soon I learned some bubble tricks. In 1983,my toy company was doing pretty well. I met a famous clown named Wavy Gravy and showed him my tricks. He invited me to his performing arts summer camp to teach bubbles to the kids there. While at Camp Winnarainbow, I met lots of musicians, and actors, and clowns, jugglers, acrobats, and artists of all stripes. Everyone convinced me that I should do stage shows with bubbles. I did my first show in 1983, and haven’t stopped since. I sold the toy company in 2002 when I had 147 products. Now I don’t sell toys any more, I just play with them.

2. What is the biggest or most spectacular bubble you have ever blown?

That is a tough question. The way I look at it, bubbles are about what’s happening right now. That is what s so special about bubbles… they pull everyone into being with them right in the moment. It is very hard to see bubbles in front of you and be stuck in your head thinking about something else… I cannot go back and tell you about any one particular great bubble, they are all spectacular.

3. What’s the strangest thing you have put in a bubble?

I have put a lot of strange people in bubbles. Once I was performing at a wedding and was assigned to put the bride and groom into a large rainbow shaped tube of bubble. The groom was so drunk he found not stand still… he was stumbling around and I was trying to aim my bubble ring over this moving target… It was impossible but hilarious. I wonder how that marriage turned out?

4. Is Bubbleologist a real word? do you know other Bubbleologists?

It’s real to me. I started using it in about 1982, so it’s been in use for 33 years now. How long does a word need to exist before it becomes ‘real’? When I started I knew of about 6 people in the world doing bubbles. Now there are thousands. It is about to reach a toping point I think, where mod people will actually know what I am talking about when I say I do shows onstage with bubbles. Most people I meet now have no idea what I am talking about. Trying to explain it is impossible. Imagine if you had never heard of juggling and someone told you they were a juggler… that they throw balls in the air for a living… that just sounds crazy!

5. Most people use Washing Up detergent to make bubbles, do you have a special formula and can you share it?

I have always said that, In the bubble business, the problem is the solution. I always encourage people to make their own solutions, and there are many recipes available on the internet. A simple and easy recipe in the UK is water and original Fairy liquid. About 16 parts water to 1 part Fairy. To make the bubbles stay moist, I would add some glycerin. This is a pretty good solution. To get the super big bubbles you need to add gums that allow the bubbles to stretch…try guar or zanthan gum for starters.

6. Do you have any celebrity fans or have you performed any of your stage tricks on a celebrity?

I’ve done private shows for The Sultan of Brunei, Don Johnson, and (now tragically) Robin Williams. The show for Williams was done about 20 years ago when his kids were young. He had a huge party for his son Zack’s 5th birthday, the day after Thanksgiving. There were at least 250 people there at his house. It was a big fun show and I felt very happy after that performance. Robin came up after the show and shook my hand. I was aware that he was the only person in that house who understood that high feeling you get after a good stage show. That was a special moment. It takes on a different meaning now after his tragic end.

7. Do you have a background in science, or qualifications that have lead you to become an expert in Bubble making?

I have always been keenly interested in science, but not so keenly interested in school. I went to university with a goal to study marine biology. I soon realized that I was more interested in studying the arts and ended up with a major in literature and a minor in art. UC San Diego, where I went to school is attached to The Scripps Institute of Oceanography. I became an assistant to graduate students studying local aquatic species. This entailed 100’s of hours a year SCUBA diving and studying the fish populations. I also became fascinated with the bubbles I was exhaling. I think that was the fist time as an adult that I looked at air bubbles with a scientific curiosity. I began looking at soap bubbles with a similar curiosity.

8. Bubbles seem to have a universal appeal – what is it about them that engenders such joy in children?

Good question. I have a lot of theories around this subject. Children love bubbles because they are magical, AND because they get to DESTROY them. How many things are kids allowed to destroy? I was at a fair once, as an adult, where you could buy three small ceramic plates for a dollar and throw them at a metal wall. It was very fun to throw those plates at the wall and destroy them. It was a thrill. Bubbles are also like dreams. They take people into a dream world. When you are having them, dreams are very very real, and you are completely entranced by them. Then, BOOM!, you wake up and they are gone. Same with bubbles, all your other thoughts, worries and cares go away when you are making bubbles, then Boom, they are gone and you are back in the everyday reality… bubbles are like a bridge to dreamland.

9. Is there such a thing as ‘Bubble Therapy’?

Yes, and I’m glad you thought it up.

10. How does the weather, heating, air con etc effect your bubbles?

The most important ingredient in any bubble solution is humidity. A soap film is incredibly thin, and it is mostly made of water. When the water evaporates, the wall of the bubble is so thin that a piece of dust can penetrate it and pop the bubbles. That is one reason whey I like working in the UK, you tend to have a lot of moisture in your air. Doing bubbles in the desert is much more difficult. Also, the slightest moving air will blow the bubbles away. Most theatres (and evenmore so, TV studios) are designed to have good ventilation. This can be a real problem for me as the heating and cooling systems can turn on and blow my whole stage show away. I have to ask theatres to turn of the ventilation systems while the show is on. Even then, when I get a sold out show in a large venue, the heat emanating straight up from the audience will often create an eddy which pulls all the air onstage out into the orchestra seats and I have to try and chase the
bubbles as they are pulled out into the audience.

11. You’ve travelled all over the world with your show – do you have a favourite city/country that you particularly like performing in? How do audiences differ?

I don’t have a favourite, but I do appreciate the differences. Americans are brash and loud and very excitable. I like that excitement. In the UK, audiences tend to be a bit more reserved, I often ask the to imagine their football team is scoring goals when my bubbles do what I want them to do, this always works. I was surpassed in Japan, as I always thought Japanese people were quiet, but those audiences were wildly enthusiastic.

12. How did you get your Blue Peter badge?

Blue Peter came to my show in Edinburgh 2 years ago. They filmed me putting their host in a bubble and did a little interview. This year, I’m going to Manchester to be on set at Blue Peter, so I will get a SECOND badge.

13. You are touring and performing with your wife, the musician Jet Black Pearl – what special element does live music bring to your show?

I really love performing with live music. Jet is able to watch me and improvise just the right music to accompany whatever I am doing. I don’t like to just do the same show over and over, so I do not have a set script. I have enough material to do each show slightly differently, so have a live musician is wonderful. I don’t use pre-recorded music because then I would have to do every show by rote to match the music. Having her do the music means that I really focus on the bubble work, I talk a lot less, and do a more ‘poetic kind of show.

14. Are you available for children’s birthday parties?!!!

Yes, I am. And you’d be surprised how old those children are getting, I’ve already done two 50 YO birthdays this year, and it’s only February 17th.

15. What can we expect from your show?

A lot of amazing bubbles, fun laughter, beauty, and wonder. I use lots of effect to create the bubbles including lighting, lasers, helium, steam, lots of stage fog, and 30 years of wrangling bubbles into every imaginable shape, from square bubbles to huge bubbles, doughnut bubbles, people in bubbles, volcanoes, tornadoes torcanoes, rocket bubbles, flying saucers, alien creatures and flying foam

16. How do your crowds usually react?

Lots of laughter, ooh’s ahh’s cheers, and squeals of joy. Plus a lot of kids get to assist me onstage.

17. Have you had any funny reactions before, perhaps from surprised children?

That happens in every show.

Don’t miss The Amazing Bubble Man show in Wolverhampton this November!

 

 

Related event

The Amazing Bubble Man

1 November 2024, from £12.50

The Amazing Bubble Man – From square bubbles, bubbles inside bubbles, fog-filled bubbles, giant bubbles, bubble volcanoes, tornados...

Watch the highlights

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What goes on during a Freedom Road Project live performance?

So, what goes on during a Freedom Road Project live performance you may wonder. Well, Freedom Road have…

News, Stories & Reviews

Wolverhampton children enjoy a Fun-Filled Theatre Festival in the sunshine

Newhampton Arts Centre’s annual Family Theatre Festival “Antics” took place on Sunday 14th August. This outside and under…

News, Stories & Reviews

Winners announced for Paint The Day 2022

PAINT THE DAY Paint the Day 2022 took place on Saturday 16th July, with eager artists taking to…

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Michael Head announces UK & Ireland Tour following the runaway success of Dear Scott

Michael Head & The Red Elastic Band Winter Tour 2022 Tickets On Sale Fri 29 July at 10am…

News

Jazz Festival Spotlight: Laura Jurd

When we say jazz is a broad church, we often mean which jazz traditions do today’s artists work…

Jobs & Opportunities, News, Vacancies

Opportunity – Site Administrator / Receptionist

We are looking for a Site Administrator / Receptionist to join the NAC team in Wolverhampton NAC is…

News

6 events for music lovers in Wolverhampton

6 events for music lovers in Wolverhampton If you like music, you’re going to love the programme at…

News, Stories & Reviews

Dennis Rollins Spotlight – Headline Act at Wolverhampton Jazz Festival

Headline Act at Wolverhampton Jazz Festival – Dennis Rollins One of the joys of jazz is seeing how…

News

The Howling Wolves prepare for Summer Charity Concert

The Howling Wolves Community Choir is busy in final rehearsals for our 2022 Summer Charity Concert. They are…

Jobs & Opportunities, News

Opportunity: Community Mapping Evaluator

Newhampton Arts Centre is seeking to commission a consultant to carry out evaluation of a creative community mapping…

News

Join the exciting arts trail project in Wolverhampton

Are you a young creative? – Free to take part– Explore artforms that interest you– Be part of…

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Summer events brochure lands at NAC

The Newhampton Arts Centre summer brochure has arrived, covering live events from June through to early September. If…

News

Stage times released for upcoming Folk Festival

As festival-goers prepare to descend upon Newhampton Arts Centre’s New Horizons stage this weekend (Saturday June 25) for…

News

Read all about the Community Music Festival coming this July

The West Midlands music community is pulling together to raise spirits as we continue to navigate the after…

Jobs & Opportunities, News

Opportunity – Site Assistants – now closed

Site Assistant Opportunity –  We are looking for site assistants to join the NAC team in Wolverhampton NAC…

Jobs & Opportunities, News, Vacancies

We’re looking for buildings experts to help NAC plan the future of our historic site

We’re looking for buildings experts to help NAC plan the future of our historic site. NAC is seeking…

News

Paint the Day now on sale

Wolverhampton’s favourite art and photography challenge returns for 2022 – Saturday 16th July 2022 Newhampton Arts Centre calls…

News, Stories & Reviews

5 local school collaborate to create a beastly exhibition at NAC

Newhampton Arts Centre have been working with 5 schools from the local area to create Mythical Beasties of…

News

The sun will shine as Sunjay plays summer Folk Festival

Newhampton Arts Centre are very exciting to announce that Sunjay will be joining the line up for June’s…

News

5 reasons to try a Jazz Festival this summer

The Jazz at New Horizons Festival in Wolverhampton is Newhampton Arts Centre’s second festival in the New Horizons…

News, Stories & Reviews

Diddi Dance at NAC: Find out more about funky pre-school dance classes

This week we caught up with Svenja who runs Diddi Dance classes here at NAC.  They have held…

News, Stories & Reviews

GrimeBoy at Birmingham Rep – Review

Review – GrimeBoy at Birmingham Rep It’s as much a celebration of the power of music as gritty…

News

NAC raises money for DEC: Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal

Last Sunday saw Newhampton Arts Centre hold a special concert performance for Ukraine to raise money for the…

News

Plastic Waste – How NAC are thinking outside the cup

Be part of the solution – How NAC are kicking the plastic waste and how you can help…

News

Last chance to see Midnight Skyracer on farewell tour – Live in Wolverhampton

Last chance to see Midnight Skyracer live at Folk Festival Although a bittersweet announcement, Midnight Skyracer have confirmed…

Jobs & Opportunities, News

Opportunity: Producer

Newhampton Arts Centre (NAC) is a busy community arts centre in the Whitmore Reans area of Wolverhampton, situated near…

News

Festivals season is on the horizon for 2022

Summer festivals As we make plans to once again welcome the return of the New Horizons Stage marquee…

News

Central Youth Theatre looking to encourage the backstage stars of tomorrow

Wolverhampton’s Central Youth Theatre (CYT) are running a training programme for young people aged 13-25 with an interest…

Jobs & Opportunities, News

Artist Opportunity

CLOSED We have an exciting artist opportunity to work with local community to creatively map Whitmore Reans in…

News

From Wolverhampton to Waterloo

FORMER CENTRAL YOUTH THEATRE MEMBER TO STAR IN BBC’S WATERLOO ROAD REBOOT A former member of Wolverhampton’s Central…

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The reviews are in! It’s a YES!

The reviews are in! As the story of the UCS work-in is told through the eyes of two…

News, Stories & Reviews

An interview with Lee Ridley AKA Lost Voice Guy

An interview with Lee Ridley AKA Lost Voice Guy An interview with Lost Voice Guy – Winning a…

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The Kindness of Children

The Kindness of Children The Kindness of Children – Yesterday saw the children’s workshop for Postcards of kindness…

News

Postcards of Kindness Workshop to be on display in exhibition

Postcards of Kindness to be on display in exhibition This beautiful workshop delivered by Sue Brisco from Informed…

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Site Update Monday 21 February

Site Update Monday 21 February Site Update: Our site faced Storm Eunice like the rest of the country…

News, Stories & Reviews

Freedom Road Re-Imagined

Freedom Road –  A Re-Imagining This is the backstory to the Freedom Road Re-Imagined performance at NAC On…

News, Stories & Reviews

A film by Townsend theatre productions : there’s more to building ships

A film by Townsend theatre productions : there’s more to building ships In 2019 Townsend Theatre Productions’ began…

News, Resources, Stories & Reviews

The NAC Pub Quiz

The NAC Pub Quiz To celebrate the upcoming show The Last Quiz Night on Earth coming to NAC…

News, Resources

I, Spy … Half term around the corner

I, Spy…half term around the corner! And we spy some half term treats for you. To celebrate the…

News, Stories & Reviews

Staff Picks: 12 Best Music Books

Staff picks: Music literature and music books 12 best music literature books as chosen by our staff at…

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Welcome to Newhampton Arts Centre – Your Family’s Gateway to Creativity and Fun in Wolverhampton!

Welcome to Newhampton Arts Centre – Your Family’s Gateway to Creativity and Fun in Wolverhampton! Discover a World…

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Wolverhampton Jazz back for spring season

Live jazz scene heats up for spring in Wolverhampton Newhampton Arts Centre and Jazz at Wolverhampton are very…

News, Stories & Reviews

Spring 2022: Welcome to our new programme

Welcome to our spring season 2022. After 18 months in which we’ve missed live events it’s a pleasure…

News, Resources

Have your say…

Have your say … NAC is asking our audiences – whether you come to shows or not –…

Archive

A Very West Midlands Christmas

We are delighted to be able to share details of other Christmas events in the West Midlands and…

News

A Christmas Disco Tea Party comes to Wolverhampton

CHRISTMAS DISCO TEA PARTY – WE HAVE ALL THE ANSWERS Fatt Butcher will be bringing a fantastic festive…

Archive, News

Opportunity

Newhampton Arts Centre is looking for a Project Manager – NOW CLOSED Newhampton Arts Centre is looking for…

News, Stories & Reviews

We’re Live

NAC is thrilled to announce the launch of its new website. The site features a brand new what’s…

News

Family Festive Fun with free colouring sheets

Family festive theatre will return to Newhampton Arts Centre, Wolverhampton this December with several showings of Mischief and…

News, Stories & Reviews

A tasty return to NAC

We are incredibly excited to announce the reopening of the café in November with a new name and…

News, Stories & Reviews

Antics – Family Theatre Festival

Wolverhampton children enjoy a Fun-Filled Theatre Festival A new Family Theatre Festival “Antics” took place on Sunday 15th…

News, Stories & Reviews

Folk Festival marks return to Live Music in Wolverhampton.

Folk Festival marks return to Live Music in Wolverhampton Saturday 3rd July saw the first ever outdoor Folk…

Jobs & Opportunities

Jobs & Opportunities

Thank you for your interest in working at Newhampton Arts Centre. see the latest jobs and opportunities available…

News

A Folk Festival is on the Horizon

We’ve been busy planning a special outdoor music festival this summer named Folk at New Horizons, this will…

Jobs & Opportunities, News

Can you help us Thrive?

CAN YOU HELP US THRIVE? We’re currently looking for new board members. NAC is a busy arts centre…

Archive, News, Stories & Reviews

Jazz Festival Heats up Wolverhampton’s Summer of Music

Newhampton Arts Centre and Jazz at Wolverhampton presented a special music festival in Wolverhampton this summer. Jazz at…

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