MagicFest Launched

Apr 23 2015 | By More

Festival expands, awakes in wonder at Summerhall

The Edinburgh International Magic Festival 2015 will run for a week from Friday 26 June to Saturday 4 July and has moved its centre of operations to Summerhall.

Now entering its sixth year, the loose theme for this year is “Awake in Wonder” as it expands with a core half dozen events running daily, Saturday 27 to Friday 3, at the Summerhall Hub.

Awake in Wonder! Kevin McMahon thinks MagicFest 2015 into existence

Awake in Wonder! Kevin McMahon thinks MagicFest 2015 into existence

Innovations for this year include adult magic classes and late-night adult-only performances. There will be an opening party – with live tasters of the main shows – at Summerhall, while the big gala show moves to the Festival Theatre and to the end of the festival.

Kevin McMahon, Artist Director of Edinburgh International Magic Festival, said: “We’ve dreamed of having MagicFest on one site since we started the festival back in 2010, so it’s incredibly exciting to take over Summerhall for 8 days and pack it full of magic. Imagine entering a portal, and winding up somewhere where the normal rules don’t apply. It’s kinda like that but with drink and doughnuts.”

MagicFest keeps two of its most popular out-of-the-way venues. Lauriston Castle is home to The Secret Room, which travels back in time to explore clandestine laboratories and hidden passages as three Scottish magicians animate the castle’s intriguing past with stories, performances and illusions. Meanwhile, the Camera Obscura is transformed into a realm of unnatural creatures and treacherous mysteries in Tower of Illusion.

MagicFest will be using four of Summerhall’s theatres where there will also be a magic shop, an exhibition of interactive illusions and a ceilidh, as well as events in the Summerhall courtyard. The festival has secured new arts sponsorship grant from Arts & Business, bringing Krispy Kreme on board as principal venue sponsor and doubling their money.


Click on the name of an event to go to its page on the MagicFest website:

Opening and Closing…

Opening Night Party
Fri 26 June: 8pm
Summerhall, 1 Summerhall, EH9 1PL.
Tasters from the live shows, music, food, drink, wily wizards and epic adventures until the wee witching hours…

Grand Finale Magic and Variety Gala Show
King’s Theatre, 2 Leven Street EH3 9LQ
Sat 4 July: 7pm
Seems they have saved the biggest, best and most glittering event for last, with Cirque du Soleil stars joining international illusionists for a night of magic, sleight-of hand, circus and mind-reading. Performers include Rafael; four-time World Champions of Quick Change Illusion Sos & Victoria; Cirque du Soleil star Xavier Mortimer; Taiwan’s manipulation magician Mike Chao; cartoon madness from Men In Coats; Scotland’s Colin Cloud; ‘Magic Circle Stage Magician of the Year’ John Archer; and the presentation of the 4th Great Lafayette Award.

McMahon's MagicFest 2015 thoughts begin to wake into wonderment.

McMahon’s MagicFest 2015 – thoughts begin to wake into wonderment.

Off-Hub events:

Tower of Illusion
Camera Obscura, Outlook Tower, 549 Castlehill, Edinburgh, EH1 2ND
Mon 29, Tue 30 June: 9.15pm
The peaceful world of Camera Obscura has become overrun with unnatural creatures and the call has been made for champions to battle evil and return tranquillity to this once beautiful land. So rally up a team of five or come alone and join your fellow brave warriors as you work together to defy illusion, solve riddles, challenge mystery and confront the unknown in a unique treasure hunt.

The Secret Room     
Lauriston Castle, 2a Cramond Rd South, Davidson’s Mains, EH4 5QD
Wed 1 July: 5.30pm, 7.30pm.
A world of clandestine laboratories, hidden passages and secret rooms… Three of the finest Scottish magicians animate the castle’s intriguing past with stories, performances and illusions related to the history of Lauriston and her owners.

One-off events at Summerhall

Magic à la carte
Sat 27 June 7pm – Dissection Room
Delicious illusions with an astonishing meal as Scotland’s best close-up magicians present a menu of arcane and wonderful magic, where the performance is matched to the course over dinner.

Our Magic (PG)
Sun 28 June 1pm – Red Theatre
Feature-length documentary film that reveals the art of magic as seen by thirty of the most respected performers and creators of magic. Followed by a short Q&A with director R Paul Wilson.

R Paul Wilson: How Magic Works
Sun 28 June 4pm – Red Theatre
A magic lecture for the general public that teaches how to perform incredible effects and recognise magic as an essential part of life. How Magic Works reveals what magic really is and how it can be found almost anywhere.

Richard Wiseman: The Magic of Sleep and Dreaming
Tue 30 June 7.30pm – Dissection Room
For centuries the power of dreaming has inspired artists, writers, performers and magicians. Psychologist Professor Richard Wiseman explores the new science of sleep and dreaming, describing experiments into sleep-learning, exploring the world’s largest archive of dream reports, and uncovers the power of the sleeping mind.

Kevin McMahon: Quantum Magic
Wed 1 July 7.30pm – Dissection Room
State-of-the-art magic fused with incredible science, from the scientist-turned-magician who was tutored by Penn and Teller. McMahon explores the exotic space where science and magic meet. Understand Quantum Physics in four minutes, have your thoughts projected into reality and witness an impossible levitation from just inches away.

Top Hat Ceilidh
Thurs 2 July 8pm to midnight – Dissection Room
Celebrate the life of Aberdeenshire magician and inventor of the ‘Rabbit from the Hat’ trick John Henry Anderson at the MagicFest ceilidh. Spin, stomp, twist, snap your fingers, vanish, reappear, heel, toe, saw your partner in half. Free top hat for everyone who attends.

A handbook of marks and monographs of pottery and porcelain

A handbook of marks and monographs of pottery and porcelain

Multi-date events at Summerhall

Robert Jägerhorn: Waiting for Hitchcock: A dramatic unpredictable magic performance
Sat 27 June – Fri 3 July: 6.45pm – Red Theatre
A charming, light and playful hour, bubbling with mimicry of silent movies, chaplinesque slapstick, excitement and magical disappearances.

Cirque-Cirqulaire: Working Class
Sat 27 June – Fri 3 July: 8.45pm – Red Theatre
Flemish circus company, Cirque Cirqulaire, founded by Benjamin Rummens, interweave magical illusions into a poetic story, representing a new magic movement – Magie Nouvelle. A compelling, wordless performance in which the impossible is seemingly obvious.

Ali Cook: The Art of Astonishment
Sat 27 June – Fri 3 July: 7pm – Old Lab Theatre
Breathtaking new trickery from a master of his craft. Escapology, jaw-dropping Derren Brown-style mind-reading feats, fabulously dexterous close-up magic, gruesome gross-out pranks and magic tricks the like of which you’ve never seen before.

Colin Cloud: Kills
Sat 27 June – Fri 3 July 8.30pm – Old Lab Theatre
Colin Cloud will deduce everything about you. Everything. Following a complete sell out run at the 2014 Edinburgh Festival, Cloud returns with a brand new show in which he’ll predict your behaviour, turn someone into an actual genius and, quite literally, get away with murder.

Dr Houstoun’s Conjuring: A Compendium of Curious Characters and Exquisite Marvels too Strange to be Believed
Sat 27 June – Fri 3 July: 6.30pm – Anatomy Theatre
A disappearing elephant. Conversations with the dead. A magician without hands. In Conjuring you will see effects that created legends and hear stories that make you question what is real. Can you trust your judgement or will these past masters continue to dazzle and deceive?

R Paul Wilson: Intimate Miracles
Sat 27 June – Fri 3 July 8pm – Anatomy Theatre
Paul Wilson has spent a lifetime collecting secrets and mastering incredible feats of conjuring. This one-hour show takes the audience on a tour of Paul’s favourite effects, experiments and impossible acts.

Mark Elsdon: 10
Sat 27 June – Sun 28 June: 12.00pm & 5.00pm
Blocks of 10 shows over 2h 30mins starting every 15mins around Summerhall
An entirely new kind of immersive live performance. Elsdon’s self-imposed restriction means that he performs 10 magic tricks in 10 minutes for just 10 people at a time. Oh, and he is only allowed to say 10 words per trick.

Ricky McLeod Trixology
Sat 27/Sun 28 June, Wed 1 -Fri 3 July: 7.30pm- Library Gallery
Learn stunning magic from a professional magician in a friendly environment.

Luke Eaton: The Late Night Horror Magic Show
Sat 27/Sun 28 June, Wed 1 -Fri 3 July: 9.30pm – Anatomy Theatre
Luke Eaton is a maniac with a unique style of bizarre, stomach churning magic that will have you squirming in your seat or jumping out of it.

Morgan & West’s Utterly Spiffing Spectacular Show For Kids (and Childish Grown-Ups)!
Tue 30 June – Thur 2 July: 4pm – Red Theatre
Time travelling Victorian magic duo Morgan & West unload another boxful of bafflement and impossibility.

The imagining is complete. Let magicfest commence

The imagining is complete. Let magicfest commence

Magic schooling, quests and wars of wizardry

Magic School One-off Magic School Workshop
Sat 27 June – Sun 28 June 10.00am OR 1.30pm – Yellow Room
What would it be like to perform real magic? Have a quick go. Maximum of 20 children in each class so book early.

Magic School 5-Day Magic School
Mon 29 June – Fri 3 July 10.00am OR 1.30pm – Yellow Room
What would it be like to perform real magic? Take your time learning some tips. Maximum of 20 children in each class so book early to avoid disappointment.

Street Magic Master Class   
Mon 29 June – Wed 1 July 11am – Anatomy Theatre
Have you been inspired by TV street magicians Dynamo or Troy? Bring a packed lunch, a pack of cards, and bags of enthusiasm and this will provide the magic. Those with good card handling skills are recommended to attend the Advanced class on Wednesday.

Magic Quest
Sat 27 June: 2pm; Sun 28 June: 10.30am & 2pm
Fight a dragon, solve mysteries and thwart peril at every turn. Test your memory, agility, sixth sense and card throwing skills with six devious challenges, working in teams of five to prevail in a fast moving, magical ‘crystal maze’ environment. The family version of the popular Tower of Illusion event.

War of the Wizards Under 18’s
Sun 28 June 10.00am – Anatomy Theatre
Open War of the Wizards
Sun 28 June 1pm – Anatomy Theatre
MagicFest competitions let you see and support the top up-and-coming talent in the world of magic. The two competitions, Under 18’s and Open, will be judged by a panel of professional magicians and non-magicians. Thinking about entering? Visit

Full details of all events on the MagicFest website:


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