Edinburgh International Magic Festival is back with a mind-blowing programme of shows, events and workshops to bring wonder and fun to the festive season.
The only event of its kind in the UK, MagicFest takes place across the city from 17-31 December. It features international stars including Edinburgh’s own Kevin Quantum and Spanish winner of the Magic World Championships, Héctor Mancha.
As ever MagicFest, which has been running since 2010, will be packed with illusions, mind reading, sleight of hand and comedy from world-class performers and home-grown talent for adults, families and children.
Kevin Quantum, magician and festival organiser (pictured with daughter and budding magician Olivia), said: “This year’s MagicFest aims to contribute to the buzz in the city and bring a bit of escapism and wonder into your life. 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.”
Top shows include:
- Kevin Quantum’s Christmas Special: Straight from ★★★★★ sell-out shows at the Fringe, Kevin Quantum presents some of his most amazing illusions in a riotously fun family Christmas show. Kevin is joined by one of Scotland’s top up-and-coming talents Adam Black – The Magic Circle Young Magician of the Year. Each performance features a special guest.
- Hogmanay House: Discover Scotland’s Hogmanay traditions and surprising origins in a joyous theatre show 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 very strange dance with a herring.Featuring singer/songwriter Ainsley Hamill, mind-reader Drew McAdam, storyteller Andy Cannon, magicianLewis 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. And it’s 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 yet fascinating path. In his breath-taking and original show, this internationally-acclaimed magician will take you on a journey to the essence of the accomplished conjurer.
- Billy Reid, Watch Closely: A spellbinding evening of 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. The ★★★★★ show concludes with Reid’s signature Caledonia routine – the most beautiful card trick in the world.
- Magic Gareth, Magic Eye: Kick-ass, eye-bending magic and a whole load of nonsense – plus balloons. Magic Gareth’s brand new rip-roaring family show features 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. Four-time Scottish Children’s Entertainer of the Year, Tricky Ricky will have you laughing your Christmas Socks off.
- 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 funny, 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.
Festival workshops include:
- Magic School: The perfect Christmas gift 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: A fun and interactive session learning to bend, twist and create amazing balloon models with Gareth White (Magic Gareth). WARNING: This will make you the life and soul of parties.
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: MagicFest has developed a new virtual 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.
One of this year’s initiatives is the launch of a mentorship programme. Future Magicians will help six young magicians create their own eight-minute act. These will then be shown at a special public show.
Svetlana McMahon, festival producer, 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.”
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.
“There is really something for all ages and I welcome the return of the Hogmanay House, a unique event that compliments the traditional end-of-the-year events in the city. It’s sure to be a magical festive season.”
Notes for editors
- The festival is supported by The City of Edinburgh Council, Creative Scotland and Kiran’s Trust.
- Virtual Magic School is supported by Baillie Gifford, Kiran’s Trust and through Creative Scotland as part of the Creative Digital Initiative, funded by the Scottish Government.
- For full festival details see www.magicfest.co.uk.
- Online: www.magicfest.co.uk
- Phone: 0131 226 0006
- In person: The Fringe Box Office 180 High Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1QS. Monday-Friday 10.30am-5.30pm.
- Booking lines are open till 20 December, Monday-Friday 10am-6pm. During the holiday, please email [email protected]
- Tickets can be purchased on the day from the festival venues, subject to availability.
- A booking fee of £1.50 per transaction is applied to all online and phone bookings.
Concessions are available for full-time students, senior citizens (65 and over), under 16s (unless a child ticket is available), disabled patrons (companions go free).
If you require a wheelchair access or a complimentary companion ticket, please call our box office to book over the phone on 0131 226 0006.
Group discounts are available for groups of over 10 people. Please phone 0131 226 0006 for more information.
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 70,000 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.
About Creative Scotland
- Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland on behalf of everyone who lives, works or visits here. We enable people and organisations to work in and experience the arts, screen and creative industries in Scotland by helping others to develop great ideas and bring them to life. We distribute funding provided by the Scottish Government and the National Lottery. For further information about Creative Scotland please visit www.creativescotland.com. Follow us @creativescots and www.facebook.com/CreativeScotland.
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. www.kiranstrust.org
For media information contact Matthew Shelley on 07786 704299 or at [email protected].