Edinburgh's magic festival, MagicFest, today revealed its two-week programme, with shows featuring illusions, mind-reading, sleight of hand and comedy over the festive season.
This year's MagicFest opens with Magic School, 2.5-hour workshops for young magicians at the Scottish Storytelling Centre. The final week of December sees various performances, including one by Spanish winner of the Magic World Championships, Héctor Mancha, who will be explaining how the tricks are done, the return of Hogmanay House, and a Christmas Special series of shows by MagicFest organiser and headline magician Kevin Quantum at the Churchill Theatre. He will be joined by up-and-coming Scottish talent Adam Black, The Magic Circle Young Magician of the Year.
“This year’s MagicFest aims to contribute to the buzz in the city and bring a bit of escapism and wonder into your life," said Quantum, who founded MagicFest in 2010 with his wife Svetlana McMahon.
"We’ve got a great programme lined up for audiences of every age. Enjoy big laughs, big gasps and accessible prices - tickets are less than half the price of a panto.”
MagicFest is launching a mentorship programme this year, Future Magicians, which will help six young magicians create their own eight-minute act. These will then be shown at a special public show.
Svetlana McMahon, who produces the festival with Quantum, said: “We’re proud that our festival is becoming more accessible to various age groups, communities and areas of deprivation, the d/Deaf community and audiences with disabilities. We are doing that through our collaboration with Deaf Action, our Magic School on the Road programme, our outreach programme for children in schools around Edinburgh and Future Magicians, our development programme for student magicians."
“We want to bring fun and magic into people’s lives, be it on stage, in classrooms or anywhere else.”
The festival is supported in part by Edinburgh City Council. Councillor Val Walker, Edinburgh’s Culture and Communities Convener, added: “We’re proud to once again support MagicFest this December. There is a fantastic line-up of exciting shows and a series of workshops for magicians in the making."
MagicFest events are taking place at the Scottish Storytelling Centre, Churchill Theatre, and Deaf Action.
Tickets are on sale now at the MagicFest website.
MagicFest 2022 Programme Highlights
- Kevin Quantum’s Christmas Special: Each performance features a special guest.
- Hogmanay House: Discover Scotland’s Hogmanay traditions and surprising origins with live music, storytelling, magic and comedy. Hogmanay House makes merry with traditions from the past 500 years; black buns, lumps of coal, first footing, tall dark strangers and a strange dance with a herring. Featuring singer/songwriter Ainsley Hamill, mind-reader Drew McAdam, storyteller Andy Cannon, magician Lewis Barlow and composer/musician Ron Jappy.
- Héctor Mancha, This is not Magic: World Champion of Magic and Spain’s national champion entertains with card magic, comedy, manipulation, parlour magic, hand shadows and storytelling.
- Lewis Barlow, The Way of the Magician: An original show, where the magician takes you on a journey into the becoming an accomplished conjurer.
- Billy Reid, Watch Closely: Sleight-of-hand magic and storytelling. Cards transform into a rainbow, sweets appear from thin air, and "one of the world's greatest artists makes an appearance". Concludes with Reid's signature Caledonia card trick.
- Magic Gareth, Magic Eye: Family show with games, gifts and a whole load of silliness.
- Tricky Ricky, Me, My Elf and I: The Trickster returns with a new festive fun show starring Eddie Knox The Elf In The Box. Mischievous rabbit Sonny the Bunny adds madness and mayhem. Tricky Ricky is four-time Scottish Children's Entertainer of the Year.
- Hector Mancha, The Magician is Here – You: Another chance to join World Champion of Magic, Hector Mancha, this time for a family-friendly show where the audience does the magic.
- Once Upon a Raindrop: Jump on a parachute with kangaroos in Australia, join in a snowball battle with penguins in Antarctica, race with giraffes in Africa. A comic, cheerful walk-through performance for wee ones and their grown-ups with sensory games and magic. Developed in partnership with Deaf Action, performances are accessible to d/Deaf and hard-of-hearing audiences.
MagicFest workshops include:
- Magic School: For young sorcerers aged 7-10. Learn to perform magic and create your own, then join a spell-binding 2.5-hour workshop with magician and Magic School headmaster Gary James. Presented in partnership Deaf Action and the Scottish Storytelling Centre.
- Balloon Twisting Workshop with Magic Gareth: Learn to bend, twist and create balloon models with Gareth White (Magic Gareth).
The Festival Outreach programme includes:
- Magic School on the Road: This year’s outreach programme takes Magic School to seven primary schools in deprived areas of Edinburgh. It gives free magic lessons to children in order "to nurture and promote the limitless possibilities of human imagination". Supported by Kiran’s Trust and The City of Edinburgh Council.
- Virtual Magic School: a new classroom resource, using cutting edge “choose your own adventure” technology, allowing participants to have as close to a live workshop experience as modern technology allows. As well as magic, children will learn presentation and craft skills, numeracy and literacy skills - all linked to the Scottish and English curriculum. The course is free to all schools that sign up. Supported by Baillie Gifford, Kiran’s Trust and through Creative Scotland as part of the Creative Digital Initiative, funded by the Scottish Government.