The Edinburgh International Festival of Magic returns with a dazzling program of shows, events and workshops to bring wonder and delight into the festive season.
The only event of its kind in the UK, MagicFest takes place across the city from December 17-31. It features international stars including Edinburgh’s Kevin Quantum and Spain’s World Magic Championship winner Héctor Mancha.
As always, MagicFest, which has been running since 2010, will be filled with illusions, mind readings, tricks and comedy from world-class artists and local talent for adults, families and children.
Kevin Quantum, Magician and Festival Organizer, said: “This year’s MagicFest is all about helping to buzz the town and bring a bit of escapism and wonder into your life. We have a great program for an audience of all ages. Enjoy big laughs, big gasps and accessible prices – tickets are less than half the price of a panto.”
Top shows include:
- Kevin Quantum’s Christmas Special: Straight from the sold-out shows at the Fringe, Kevin Quantum presents some of his most amazing illusions in a fun, family-friendly Christmas show. Kevin is joined by one of Scotland’s top emerging talents, Adam Black – The Magic Circle Young Magician of the Year. Each performance is accompanied by a special guest.
- Hogmanay House: Discover the Scottish traditions of Hogmanay and its surprising origins in a joyful theater show with live music, storytelling, magic and comedy. Hogmanay House plays with the traditions of the past 500 years; black buns, lumps of coal, a first step, tall dark strangers and a very strange dance with a herring. Featuring singer/songwriter Ainsley Hamill, thought 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 National Champion of Spain entertains with card magic, comedy, manipulation, parlor magic, hand shadows and storytelling. And this is the only show where all the tricks are explained.
- Lewis Barlow, The Way of the Magician: Shrouded in secrecy and steeped in mystery, the Way of the Magician is a solitary but fascinating journey. In his breathtaking and original show, this internationally renowned magician will take you on a journey to the essence of the accomplished magician.
- Billy Reid, Watch Closely: A bewitching evening of sleight of hand and storytelling. Cards turn into rainbows, candies appear out of nowhere, and one of the world’s greatest entertainers makes an appearance. The show ends with Reid’s Caledonia routine – the world’s finest card trick.
- Magic Gareth, Magic Eye: Wacky, mind-bending magic and a whole lot of nonsense – plus balloons. Magic Gareth’s all-new harrowing family show features games, gifts, and a whole lot of nonsense.
- Tricky Ricky, Me, My Elf and I: The Trickster returns with a fun and festive new show starring Eddie Knox The Elf In The Box. Mischievous rabbit Sonny the Bunny adds madness and mayhem. Four-time Scottish Children’s Artist of the Year, Tricky Ricky will have you laughing your stockings off.
- Hector Mancha, The Magician is Here – You: Another chance to join the world champion of magic, Hector Mancha, this time for a family show where the public performs magic.
- Once upon a time there was a drop of rain: skydive with kangaroos in Australia, compete in a snowball fight with penguins in Antarctica, race with giraffes in Africa. A fun and joyful course for young and old with sensory games and magic. Developed in partnership with Deaf Action, the shows are accessible to d/Deaf and hard of hearing audiences.
Festival workshops include:
- Magic School: The ideal Christmas gift for young wizards aged 7 to 10. Learn how to do magic and create your own, then join a spellbinding 2.5-hour workshop with magician and headmaster of the magic school Gary James. Presented in partnership with Deaf Action and the Scottish Storytelling Centre.
- Balloon Twisting Workshop with Magic Gareth: A fun and interactive session to learn how to bend, twist and create amazing balloon designs with Gareth White (Magic Gareth). WARNING: This will make you the life and soul of the parties.
The festival outreach program includes:
- Magic School on the Road: This year’s outreach program takes Magic School to seven primary schools in deprived areas of Edinburgh. He gives free magic lessons to children in order to nurture and promote the limitless possibilities of the human imagination. Supported by Kiran’s Trust and Edinburgh City Council.
- Virtual Magic School: MagicFest has developed a new virtual classroom resource, utilizing state-of-the-art “Choose Your Own Adventure” technology, allowing attendees to have an experience as close to a live workshop 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 for all schools that sign up. Supported by Baillie Gifford, Kiran’s Trust and by Creative Scotland as part of the Creative Digital Initiative, funded by the Scottish Government.
One of the initiatives this year is the launch of a mentorship program. Future Magicians will help six young magicians create their own eight-minute act. These will then be showcased in a special public show.
Svetlana McMahon, Festival Producer, said, “We are proud that our festival is becoming more accessible to various age groups, disadvantaged communities and areas, the d/deaf community and disabled audiences. We do this through our collaboration with Deaf Action, our Magic School on the Road programme, our outreach program for school children around Edinburgh and Future Magicians, our development program for student magicians.
“We want to bring fun and magic into people’s lives, whether on stage, in classrooms or anywhere else.”
Councilor Val Walker, Head of Culture and Communities Edinburgh, added: “We are proud to be supporting MagicFest again in December. There is a fantastic range of exciting shows and a series of workshops for aspiring magicians.
“There really is something for all ages and I welcome the return of Maison Hogmanay, a unique event that complements the traditional year-end events in the city. It is sure to be a magical festive season.”