If the idea of spending your days brandishing a sword, while swinging your way across the deck on a rope tied to a yardarm sounds like fun, then the life of a pirate might be for you.
OK, there may be a little more too it than that, but it’s all part and parcel of another day at the office for ‘Bosun’ Ted Shred, the man behind Pirates for Hire.
Based out of Hollywood, California, Shred has been involved in the entertainment business for years as a fire breather and exotic animal trainer, as well as a stunt man for both film and television.
Launching the company in 1998 with a handful of other actors, Shred wanted to do something different than the typical pirate doing balloon tricks at most parties back then.
“You have to have something to fall back on because the acting won’t last forever,” Shred said. “So I said, hmmmm, I know how to party, I’m going to start designing parties and events, and that’s what I did.”
With Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean hitting the big screen a few years later, business exploded.
“Before my father passed away that was his biggest thing. He used to tell people my son is a professional pirate and he makes a pretty good living at it.”
Currently employing a crew of more than 20 cast members, Pirates for Hire performs across Canada and the United States, including this year’s Western Fair.
One of those pirates appearing daily at the fair is Janty Chattaw, portraying Captain Jack Sparrow, the character made popular by Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean.
Chattaw is also another veteran of the movie business both in front of the camera and behind the scenes. He explained that after growing out his beard and being told by friends how much he resembled Depp in the role, Chattaw decided to dress up as Sparrow for Halloween.
“I had no idea this pirate thing was this popular,” Chattaw said.
After that, he started getting invited to private parties and various events, which led him to getting an invite to try out with Pirates for Hire. “And I have been stuck with these scallywags ever since,” laughed Chattaw in a voice uncannily sounding like Sparrow.
For Shred, Chattaw and all the other Pirates for Hire cast, despite the grind of constant rehearsal and travel, it’s the joy of being able to perform in front of a live audience and make people laugh that keeps them coming back day after day.
But maybe the best part of all is getting the chance to live out every kid’s dream.
Said Chattaw: “I got to grow up and be a pirate.”