Comics Peter Kay and John Bishop are in his address book alongside Elvis impersonators, Harry Potter look-a-likes, fakirs, stilt-walkers, cage dancers and spoof vicars. Roop Mullins must be the best connected man in town. He needs to be - he’s run his own entertainment agency for ten years and at any time his Sheffield company Doub7e Seven could be called on the arrange the wackiest wedding, the wildest party or the coolest conference.
Q.You must have to be a party animal to do a job like yours...
A.Party Animal Roop – that’s my name! As a self-styled ‘events guru’ I think it’s important to have spent many a year partying hard. I’ve been to some incredible ones over the years.
The party scene in New York and San Francisco was amazing. I was a student in the States in the mid 90s. We never stayed in much (or studied). Once, we did a road trip from New York to Florida, New Orleans, the Grand Canyon, Vegas and San Francisco. Our car broke down on the Strip in Vegas. We didn’t have enough money to repair it so we gambled our last few dollars on the Black Jack tables - and won enough for a party and for a mechanic!
I’ve also been lucky enough to experience the chilled out party vibes of Australia, The Caribbean and Ibiza. It is my extensive experience of events that I draw on.
Q.Tell us about the most bizarre party requests you’ve had from clients...
A.I had an enquiry only last week to supply 60 performers dressed as Santa Claus. No two days are the same in my job. One day I can get asked for a Fakir act (a stage artist who hammers nails up his nose and snubs cigarettes on his forehead), the following day I can be transforming a venue into a winter wonderland.
Q.Do you always manage to deliver?
A.Yes. I just need the budget. I was once asked to find a band from America who were a favourite of the client’s daughter. They weren’t famous, but I tracked them down and flew them over for the birthday event.
Q.How many acts are on your books?
A.I’ve lost count of the number of acts that I have worked with over the years. I now have a ‘tried and tasted’ list of artists, crew, theme experts and event professionals which I recommend to clients. If a client asks me to turn their venue into Hogwart’s, I know which crew will build the set for me and which Harry Potter look-a-likes to recommend. Décor and props make venues look great; musicians and performers bring the event to life.
Q.How do you find them?
A.At events I attend. I am always on the look out for great acts. I also get calls and emails every day from artists wanting to apply to Doub7e Seven. Unfortunately, the majority are turned away. I simply don’t have time to vet them all, unless they are recommended to me by a reliable source.
Q.I hear you once hired Peter Kay. How did you meet him?
A.Comedian Dave Spikey introduced me to Peter in 1996. He sent me a DVD of his showreel. It was so good, I recommended Peter as MC for the annual conference dinner I was arranging for one of my first ever clients. It was at Tankersley Manor. His dynamism and character shone
through the moment he walked into the venue.
One of the acts that night was a horse which had been trained to act drunk. Peter liked the act so much, the horse later appeared on his Phoenix Nights TV show.
Peter worked for me again a few years later at The Mercure St Paul’s Hotel. He was much more expensive that time!
John Bishop was also introduced to me early in his career. I booked him for the same client’s dinner Peter had entertained at some years earlier.
Q.How did you get into the entertainment industry? Are you a frustrated actor in disguise?
A. Ha Ha. Yes, I’d love to have a crack at acting. Looking back, my sister is probably the route to it all; she is a professional dancer and, aged 12 persuaded me to compere her dance show in Holmsfield by offering to buy me unlimited sweets for a week.
When I was older I began organising events for people and coordinating bands, chefs, venue staff, production crew, etc. I’ve never been far from the microphone. I take to the DJ decks, lead auctions, present at awards ceremonies and quizzes. I have recently become a dab hand as an event photographer.
Q. What sort of events do you sprinkle your magic dust on?
A. It’s the variety of my work load that makes my job so interesting. Over the last year I have DJ’ed and hosted the official closing party of the World Snooker Championships in Sheffield, delivered a TV game show theme for a Christmas party for Amazon, managed a Heaven and Hell themed party at The Hilton Hotel which included cage dancers, stilt walkers and loopy vicars carrying out spoof marriages, entertained at an international summer camp, presented a race night for delegates of Imperial Tobacco and been a spoof paparazzi for the meet and greet entertainment at The University of Gloucester’s Vegas themed ball.
To celebrate the 10th anniversary of my company I staged Doub7e Seven Day, taking over Barker’s Pool as part of the council’s Summer Saturdays’ programme and entertained shoppers with bands, dancers, jugglers, magicians, mime artists and DJs.
Q.Ever had to step in for the fire-eating act?
A.That is a hot topic! I was recently the wedding planner for a lovely couple who had bags of ideas on how to make their wedding stand out from the crowd. I organised a fire act to accompany their first dance.
Thankfully, all went without a hitch. Otherwise, I’d have not only been the man with the mic, I’d have also been the man reaching for the hotel fire extinguisher!