Ely hosts Santa’s training day
11:53 am 30 June 2022
11:07 a.m. July 1, 2022
The Wanna-Be Santas showed up for a training class today to learn how to put the Ho Ho Ho on Christmas.
Entertainment promoter Sammy Caleb Brooks brought them all together to hone their skills and get a job that’s only for Christmas — not for life.
He’s been forced to cancel his annual meeting in Ely for the past two years, but Sammy hopes he’s found the cream of the Christmas crop ready to start work later in the year.
Santa trainees have come from all over the UK to the Lighthouse Center in Ely where Sammy is putting them through their paces in his third workshop.
“As well as the Santas, we have Mrs. Clauses and the Elves here,” Sammy said.
“I’ve been a professional Santa for 15 years. In the first workshop we had about six Santas, the second we had about 15 and now there are over 30, so it’s really grown over the years. “
Each year, the convention begins with a big photo shoot in a specially designed studio. Each actor took a few photos which they can then use for publicity purposes.
In the afternoon, the group listens to lectures from Santa Claus industry professionals, such as learning makaton, talks on home visits, and masterclasses on characterization and acting.
Sammy says the furthest Santa to attend the convention this year was from Scotland.
In previous years, people have also traveled from Norway.
“This convention is pretty much global,” 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 people have been Santas for many years, but Sammy says his COS (Convention of Santas) also welcomes newcomers looking to start their journey.
Rob Bauker, who has acted as Santa Claus for 12 years, says it’s a “truly magical” experience to attend the convention every year.
“I’ve been coming to this event since Sammy started it in 2017. It’s been great to be able to bring the North Pole back to Ely again,” he said.
“It’s really really magical because every adult remembers the Christmas mornings of their childhood, crawling downstairs to see if Santa Claus had come.
“For us, increasing the quality of all Santas in the UK means our children can also have this really brilliant experience where they really believe.”