You need enough to do about a 20 min show.
Have something that will gather a crowd.
Do a routine or two and then finish big and pass a hat.
Get people involved in the show.
Even if the tricks are easy…make them look hard.
Use fire if you are allowed.
Have some jokes…it’s more about being entertaining than about being skilled.
I’m sure someone will link the Busker site with a lot of good tips.
Have fun…you can make $2 to $200 a show easily.
Giraffes (tall unicycles) are always a big hit. I’m currently in Sydney, Australia busking over the holidays and it’s been decent. About a 30 minute show with juggling, fire, unicycle tricks, jump roping, jumping over an audience member and ending with a 12 foot unicycle. Search the forums and you’ll find other threads about this and other links to help you out. Don’t have much time to give you tips/tricks but it’s all about entertaining the crowd and not the tricks. You could do one or two tricks and make the same or more, than doing 30 tricks, as long as you make the audience laugh and keep them entertained. Practice makes perfect. Watch some youtube videos as you might get some ideas…
Do you have a licence? In some places in the UK you will need one to be allowed to busk. You need to have a solid routine. Its not as easy as it always looks. There are many crowd building techniques you should look into. Building the crowd is important. Without the crowd you have no act. Sometimes the best street theatre acts have the least amount of tricks in them.
I think street theater is one of the last, great arts you can’t really learn.
Tips and suggestions might help you think in the right direction, but nothing will convince you of an effective crowd-building technique like a big crowd, nothing will convince you of the appropriateness of a joke like a crowd guffawing with laughter and nothing nwill teach you about passing the hat like a full hat.
So go out there, make the mistakes, learn from them, and don’t do 'em again.
A friend of mine recently did this across the USA and shared with me what he felt was his most important lesson from the adventure.
“When there’s snow on the ground, I ate oatmeal for breakfast, lunch and supper.”
Have fun, share the fun, the hat will look after itself.