Magicians are on a mission to help make learning fun in Scottish schools during the run-up to Christmas.

Magic School on the Road is a touring workshop presenting free-of-charge magic lessons to kids who wouldn’t have otherwise been able to attend festival events.

National Lottery Awards for All Scotland and Kiran’s Trust Charity support the Edinburgh MagicFest event, which is now touring seven primaries and secondaries in the capital and Falkirk, in areas of deprivation.

Magic School on the Road takes some of the great activities from highly popular Magic School workshop, that takes place during the Magic Festival, and conjures them up for children in the classroom.

Last week Magic School headmaster Gary James delighted children from Primary 4 A and B at Craigour Park Primary School where he taught them tricks to perform for their family and friends over Christmas and the New Year.

Thanks to cunning sleight of hand the children were also learning to apply mental arithmetic as well as developing skills in critical analysis and performance.

Gary, who has been running the MagicFest (Edinburgh International Magic Festival’s) Magic School for a decade, said: “A lot of the children have never seen a live magic performance before, so it’s a treat for them, and there’s a lot hidden away in there of real educational value.”

The children thoroughly enjoyed the event. Maryam Hassan said: “I would love to be a magician. I have seen a lot of magic tricks on YouTube and was dying to know how to do them – and today I found out.”

Stephen McKechnie, who already has a career in mind, added: “I liked it very much and will show the tricks to my family, especially my little brother Jack. When I grow up I want to be a baker but I will do magic tricks on my day off, which will be a Wednesday.”

MagicFest organisers, Svetlana McMahon and her magician husband Kevin Quantum, piloted Magic School on the Road last year and felt it had real potential. 

Svetlana said: “This year is the 10th annual MagicFest and we wanted to do something really special. Not every child can get along to festival events like Magic School so we thought that we would go on the road and take it to their schools. And while on one level it’s all about having lots of fun – magic is a great way to get kids learning.

“Like other arts it helps children develop confidence, learn to concentrate, apply logic, think critically and use presentational skills. No matter what career they choose, they need all these things.”

Support for Learning teacher, Jenny MacDonald, added: “Magic School on the Road offered Craigour Park Primary an amazing opportunity for the children to not only get to meet a magician and see magic up close and personal, but also to try out some tricks for themselves. 

“This will have been the first time many of our children will have seen a magician in real life and they were enchanted by the experience. We are so grateful for the opportunity to work with the Magic Festival, and for the chance the children were given to learn new skills and perform.  

“They used mental maths skills and gained confidence at speaking in front of an audience. The children were eager to share their tricks with their friends and teachers afterwards and their parents enjoyed watching their performances at home. 

“These workshops may have created a new magician who will come back to Craigour Park Primary and wow us with their tricks in the future!”

Other schools welcoming Magic School on the Road are Niddrie Mill, St. Francis, Granton, Clovenstone and Brunstane primaries, Carrongrange High School for children with special needs.

  • Not going to your school? You can still get tickets for the events over Christmas at

MagicFest events include:

The Opening Night Christmas Gala: An eclectic mix of the weird and the wonderful including Harthill-local-cum-Vegas-headliner Colin Cloud and Magic Circle Young Magician of the Year Adam Black. Enjoy a multitude of breath-taking illusions from top magicians and the most talented newcomers. 

Hogmanay House: A magical “First Foot” adventure at Lauriston Castle – escape the dreich winter weather, join us for a dram or a hot chocolate and make merry as musicians, magicians and storytellers celebrate the magic and origins of Hogmanay. Featuring world-class card magician Lewis Barlow, singer/songwriter Ainsley Hamill, mind reader Drew McAdam, silver-tongued storyteller Jock Ferguson, and more.

You Are Magic: Huge fun for children and families. A magic show conjured up from thin air where the audience become the stars – do you have the skill to saw someone in half and put them back together again? Packed with thrilling illusions, spooky mind reading, stunning sleight of hand, and death-defying escapes. Presented by the Magic Gareth and Michelle Ferguson and written by YouTube star Professor Richard Wiseman.

Kevin Quantum “Anti-Gravity”: Enter a space where the rules of gravity are bent and broken. Impossible illusions and levitations in a ★★★★★ show mixing science, comedy and magic, brought to you by Scotland’s own magician-scientist hybrid Kevin Quantum. Winner of the “Best Magic” award at the Adelaide Fringe 2018.

Comedy Magic Club: Have your mind blown and laugh yourself silly with the funniest, scariest, and freakiest, conjured for your delight in our magic comedy club for ages 16+. Featuring Elliot Bibby, Luke Eaton, Cammy Young, Cammy Gibson, Dan Bastianelli and special guests.

Magic School: Now enrolling young sorcerers aged 7-10 can to learn magic tricks from professional magicians then astound your family and friends. Join a one-off sessions or a four-day course with a show for parents as the grand finale. Led by magician and Magic School headmaster Gary James. 

Tricky Ricky “Christmas Madness”: The four-times winner of Scottish ‘Children’s Entertainer of the Year’ Tricky Ricky takes you on a magical festive journey. Prepare to be amused and amazed in a fast-paced, nutty, comedic and chaotic magic show for kids aged from 1 to 101! 

The Power of Perspective: An Exhibition of photographic Illusions presented by the Rock Trust, illusion expert Professor Richard Wiseman and MagicFest. Enjoy the illusions at the Scottish Storytelling Centre and then see how they were created at the Museum of Edinburgh.

Magic School is presented in partnership with Kiran’s Trust and the Power of Perspective exhibition is kindly supported by Jessops, Kiran’s Trust, Scotmid Coop and University of Hertfordshire.

This year Edinburgh International Magic Festival is moving from its usual summer dates to winter due to the tremendous popularity of the MagicFest Christmas Show which they have run for the past three years. New dates provided a perfect platform for developing a brand new exciting event concept Hogmanay House supported by The City of Edinburgh Council, EventScotland as part of Scotland’s Winter Festivals programme and Hope Scott Trust. 

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Listings details

  • The Opening Night Christmas Gala: Traverse Theatre. Friday 27 December. 4.30pm and 7.30pm. Tickets £20, concessions £18, children £15. PG Ages 8+.
  • Hogmanay House: Lauriston Castle. Thursday 2 to Sunday 5 January. 3.30pm, 5.30pm and 7.30pm. Tickets £20, concessions £18, children £15, families £50. Durations 75 minutes. Ages 7+.
  • You Are Magic: Traverse Theatre. Saturday 28 to Monday 30 December. 2pm and 4.30pm. Tickets £12, concessions £10, families £36. Duration 50 minutes. Ages 5+.
  • Kevin Quantum “Anti-Gravity”: Traverse Theatre. Saturday 28 to Monday 30 December. 7pm. Tickets £14, concessions £12, children £10. Durations 60 minutes. Ages 8+.
  • Comedy Magic Club: Traverse Theatre Bar. Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 December. 8.30pm. Tickets £10, concessions £8. Duration 75 minutes. Ages 16+.
  • Magic School: Scottish Storytelling Centre. Friday 27 to Sunday 30 December. Ages 7-10. 4-day course 10am to 12.30pm, price £80. A one-off workshop 1.30pm – 4pm, price £20. 
  • Tricky Ricky “Christmas Madness”: Scottish Storytelling Centre, Saturday 28 December. 11am & 1pm. All tickets £9. Duration 45 minutes. All ages.
  • The Power of Perspective: See the illusions at the Scottish Storytelling Centre and then discover how they were created at the Museum of Edinburgh. Sunday 22 December to Sunday 26 January. Free entry. All Ages.


  • Online:
  • Phone: 0131 226 0006
  • In person: The Fringe Box Office 180 High Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1QS. Monday to Friday 10.30am – 5.30pm.

About Edinburgh International Magic Festival

  • The festival is a not-for-profit organisation founded and managed by event producer Svetlana McMahon and magician Kevin Quantum.
  • The festival promotes magic as an art form and celebrates the limitless possibilities of human imagination.
  • Since conception in 2010 MagicFest has welcomed over 60,000 visitors and has grown into Europe’s biggest festival of its kind.
  • MagicFest is leading the charge in the newly developing market of magic festivals appearing around the world, and aims to be the world leader in programming and producing innovative and cutting edge magic. 
  • The programme is balanced to reflect the best and most exciting magic from around the world alongside the very best in home grown work, aiming to amaze, inspire, provoke and entertain.
  • The Festival is also producing new work which celebrates Edinburgh’s unique historic environment and cultural heritage in innovative and exciting way.


Twitter: @MagicFest  

Facebook: @edmagicfest 

Instagram: @edmagicfest

About Kiran’s Trust: Kiran Martin died at the age of 18 from a brain tumour in 2008. Kiran was one of these very creative, fun loving and magical people you meet every now and then, and she will never be forgotten. Kiran’s Trust was founded on her birthday, 9th October, in 2009, as way of giving thanks for her life and celebrating the creative arts and sports, which she held dear. The Trust recognises this passion in other young people and provides support to help them advance in further education and participation in these areas.

About National Lottery Awards for All Scotland: National Lottery Awards for All offers funding to support what matters to people and communities. The programme is a partnership between the National Lottery Community Fund Scotland, sportscotland and Creative Scotland. Funding is available for a wide range of projects which involve bringing people together, improving local spaces and places, or enabling more people to fulfil their potential. 

About Scotland’s Winter Festivals: Scotland’s Winter Festivals (SWF) aims to mobilize the people of Scotland and those with an affinity to Scotland to join in the St Andrew’s Day, Hogmanay and Burns celebrations, boosting our key tourism and events sectors and the wider economy, enhancing community engagement and raising Scotland’s international profile.  SWF is a Scottish Government initiative, delivered in collaboration with VisitScotland and EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate, BEMIS Scotland, the Fair Saturday Foundation, the English Speaking Union Scotland and a range of other partners. SWF will welcome thousands of people to funded events celebrating St Andrew’s Day, Hogmanay and Burns right across Scotland; significantly boosting the economy and engaging our diverse communities during the winter months whilst showcasing our unique world class tourism assets to a global audience.

About the Rock Trust: Rock Trust aims to end youth homelessness in Scotland by ensuring that every young person has access to expert youth specific services to assist them to avoid, survive and move on from homelessness. We advise, educate and support young people to enable them to build the personal skills and resources required to make a positive and healthy transition to adulthood. We also work to ensure that the public, policy makers, commissioners and practitioners understand the issues, make decisions and take action which will end youth homelessness.

Jessops: Jessops is a specialist camera retailer offering a wide range of digital cameras and accessories as well as providing high quality printing services. Jessops traces itself back to a chemist’s store in Leicester 130 years ago that was eventually transformed by Frank Jessop into a photography shop and further developed by his son Alan Jessop into cut-price retailer of photographic equipment. The firm had ceased being a family-run business in 1996 after Alan Jessop retired and was sold in a management buyout. In 2013 Jessops was rescued from administration by Dragon’s Den panellist Peter Jones, the company now has 58 outlets including 11 in Sainsbury’s stores.

Professor Richard Wiseman:  Richard Wiseman is a psychologist, author and performer. He had written several best-selling books that have been translated into over 20 languages. Richard also presents talks exploring how to be lucky, the power of sleep, and the psychology of deception and illusion. Richard’s YouTube videos have had over 500 million views and he is one of the most followed psychologists on Twitter. Richard has created two highly successful YouTube Channels. His Quirkology channel contains quirky videos for curious minds and includes illusions, science stunts and bets you will always

Hope Scott Trust: The Hope Scott Trust was set up by the late Mrs Hope Scott to help promote Music and the Visual Arts in Scotland. The Trust allocates a proportion of its resources to help musicians with commissions or grants for musical events and it also helps artists and sculptors (with a particular focus on emerging artists) with grants for exhibitions, catalogues and travel etc. Preference is given to applicants who are Scottish by birth, or live permanently in Scotland.

For media information contact Matthew Shelley on 07786 704299 or Matthew@ScottishFestivalsPR.Org.


“Imagination is more important than knowledge” – Albert Einstein