When I tell people I am a magician there are a couple of things people ask me. The first is “can you show me something amazing?” which 9 times out of 10 I am able to do there and then.
The second question is “So are you a member of The Magic Circle?”
The answer is YES.
I am a member of The Magic Circle, and very proud to be a part of it too. But I wonder how many people who ask actually know what The Magic Circle is. In this blog I’ll dive into my own personal history with the circle as well as sharing what the modern day Magic Circle looks like.
My own links to The Magic Circle start before I even knew it was a real thing. I was about 12 when I became obsessed with Marvin's Magic toys. I used to go into Chester at the weekend and spend my pocket money on one of their magic tricks in the toy shop. Opening up the box I’d find a magic trick which I could perform confidently to my friends and family, and on the instructions there was the magicians code ‘A REAL MAGICIAN PROMISES NEVER TO REVEAL THE SECRETS.’ There was also a strange embelem which I now know to be the logo for The Magic Circle. It became a legendry place in my own head, a place where magicians could share secrets with one another, based in a secret location somewhere in London. I was also a first generation Harry Potter reader. When I was just 13 I had all three books, and had read them cover to cover several times (at this point there were only three books).
My enjoyment of Marvins Magic, and obsession with Harry Potter, and curiosity of a secret place in London where magicians hung out ‘sharing secrets’, made my imagination run wild. Throughout my teenage years my interest in magic grew. But it wasn’t until more recently I became a member of The Magic Circle. When going to The Magic Circle I still get the odd shiver of excitment now, the curiostiy and amazement still hasn’t left me.
I first went to The Magic Circle as a guest. The building itself is a wonderful mysterious place. Situated near Euston Station in London down a cobbled road. No one would ever know that there is a building full of secrets and mystery down that road, but at one end there is a small blue door.
I knocked on the door, which opened to the impressive spiral staircase, and I signed myself in. The walls are classily adorened with posters of magicians from the past, and present, but as you explore more into The Circle you realise there is far more to it than just posters. The Circle is a living, breathing museum. There are cabinets filled with incredible impossible objects, such as a globe, which spins in the air held by no threads or magnets simply floating and spinning on its own.
Then there are historical items too, from Tommy Cooper’s Fez to the set of cups and balls which Prince Charles performed with to join in 1975. In the basement of The Magic Circle is the world’s biggest magic library which contains books as old as The Discoverie Of Witchcraft, by Reginald Scott which was first published in 1584, and was the very first Magic Book which was used to debunk withces in Elizabethian times.
On my first visit I was lucky enough to see Scott Penrose talking about and demonstrating his restoration of Houdin’s Owl. This is a fascinating piece of historical art. A clockwork automaton which when wound up looks from left to right and is able to find a card which has been picked by an audience member. The piece is as relevant and incredible now as it would have been back in the 1800s when it would have first been performed by Robert Houdin. In fact I believe that the age of the owl makes it even more fascinating and beautiful.
I left the circle buzzing with excitment, and wanting to join.
Joining The Magic Circle for me was a big decision, and it is not something to be taken lightly. To join The Circle you have to take an exam, and whilst I was working as a professional family entertainer at the time, I was worried about performing in front of my peers, so many of whom I look up to.
I decided to go ahead and do it, and a few Mondays later I was standing in front of a group of magicians my heart beating like a drum. I was nervous. Now when I do shows I do not get nervous as such, but for this I was feeling incredibly anxious, and worried.
I did my audition for The CIrcle, and waited to hear back from them.
A month later I heard back. I had not been accepted as a full member, but as an apprentice, which I would be able to try again to become a member for a year. There are various different stages to being in The Magic Circle, from Apprentice, Member, Associate Member of the Inner Magic Circle, and Member of the Inner Magic Circle. I was a little disappointed, but now looking back at my examination I can see the reasons why I had to become an apprentice first, quite simply I was not good enough yet. I re-did my exam months later and passed with flying colours, and am now a member.
I am hoping to be able to take an exam soon to become an Associate Member of the Inner Magic Circle too, which is the highest place you can get in The Magic Circle through an exam.
Since joining The Magic Circle I have found it to be a wonderful place filled with supportive magicians and made some very special friends too. We meet up on a Monday (although I can not always make it every Monday.) And we have lectures from some of the brightest minds in magic who explain to us their own secrets so that we can go forward and improve our own art.
I am very privelidged that I myself was asked to lecture on my own brand of zany and fun magic for families in January of 2022, and was the first lecture to be both an in person lecture in The Magic Circle’s theatre and to be streamed across the world to all of The Magic Circle’s international members too.
The Magic Circle is also a place that I have been able to take my own magical creations to, and get professional criticism to improve them and make them extra special, so that when I show them to audiences theyare the best they can possibly be.
But I think possibly the most important and brilliant thing about The Magic Circle is the support network it has. I have made friends through The Magic Circle which I know I will have for life, during the 2020 pandemic I was able to speak to these people and put the world to rights, and at times even enjoy their company (when we were allowed). When I have been down or upset I have been able to chat to other performers who work in the real world, and able to discuss our plans for the future and what we were doing to get through the situation.
I don’t think my life would be the same without The Magic Circle, and I am so proud to be a member of what I believe is the Greatest Magic Club in the World.