Jun 37 min
This week we are lucky to interview Angus Baskerville. A Magic Circle magician who I have had the opportunity to review on Zoom on a couple of occasions. An exciting performer to watch who has a huge career ahead of him.
Angus is based in Warwickshire and travels both within the UK and internationally to perform. Offering a wide variety of services that includes corporate functions, promotional events and stage magic, including cabaret and close up magic performances.
Studying at the famous Davenports in London, Angus then gained membership of his local magic club - Leamington and Warwick Magic Society, in 2015. This was then followed by acceptance into the Magic Circle in February 2020.
Angus has performed at the Edinburgh Festival, the Ventnor Fringe on the Isle of Wight and the Parallel Festival for disabilities at London’s Olympic Park in 2017.
Passionate about magic as a communication tool, Angus has performed at Autism’s Got Talent at London’s Mermaid Theatre 2016 and 2017. He is also an autism advocate for Anna Kennedy OBE which we discuss during our chat.
Magic Seats - Thank you Angus for chatting with us today. We have been looking forward to have the opportunity to speak with you.
I understand that you got into magic at age 17 and that you studied at Davenports. What is your story; that initial spark that got you interested in magic?
Angus Baskerville - Seeing Dynamo on TV is what triggered my interest at first and around the same time as this, my family and I visited some family friends on holiday and they taught me this one specific card trick which I really marvelled at. Once I had learnt it, I was hooked! I went round showing it to loads of people and loved how amazed they all were. My interest grew and grew from that point.
Magic Seats - Certainly Dynamo is responsible for gaining the interest of many in magic.
Has anyone else also inspired you?
Angus Baskerville - Penn & Teller, Chris Cox and Jamie Raven are all the magicians who have inspired me the most. Dynamo and Penn & Teller were my first inspirations and seeing Penn & Teller in particular, live on stage, has been a highlight of mine.
Further down the line, I have grown to really appreciate the talents of Chris Cox and Jamie Raven. It is great now to be rubbing shoulders with these magicians at The Magic Circle at our regular meetings and lectures in London.
Magic Seats - It must be amazing to now be rubbing shoulders with your magical inspirations. I am certainly jealous that you have been able to watch Penn & Teller perform live.
You have supported many charities and you have done some work as an autism advocate for Anna Kennedy OBE. Can you tell us what being an advocate involves and why it is important to you?
Angus Baskerville - In my case, I advocate for autism and have a special place in my heart for AKO (Anna Kennedy Online) - a small charity which has helped me in so many ways. AKO may be a small charity but it does big work. Anna Kennedy herself is a force of nature. She has so much energy and has two adult kids on the autism spectrum. She couldn’t find a school for them so she built one. She and her husband do amazing work supporting families and Anna set up Autism’s Got Talent in 2012. I was lucky enough to be chosen to participate in the 2016 showcase at London’s Mermaid Theatre. This was my first big stage event in front of 300+ people. I will always be grateful to Anna for that opportunity. It is my firm belief that we all have gifts to discover but we need people in our lives who are bothered enough to help us find them when there are extra challenges to contend with.
AKO (Anna Kennedy Online) is important to me because it has helped kick start my magic career in many ways. Ever since I took part in Autism’s Got Talent in 2016, not only have I massively grown in confidence, but it has led to numerous bookings and opportunities since.
I even made my TV debut through AKO and have entertained various actors and celebrities at functions, including the first annual Autism Hero Awards dinner in 2017.
Being on the autism spectrum myself and having faced tough challenges through school, I have benefited from their support and want to support others to have the same chance to find their gifts.
Magic Seats - It is good to hear of the support provided by AKO and the opportunities that it has presented. I guess it feels a long time now since you were able to perform live on stage and at real events.
As the pandemic continues to present challenges what does the future hold for magic as a live art form, and what (if anything) needs to happen to ensure it thrives going forward?
Angus Baskerville - In my opinion, magic will thrive again and is already starting to gain momentum as things open up again. Zoom will be here to stay and has brought opportunities to reach international audiences which haven’t been possible before. However, there is nothing quite like experiencing magic close up and for myself, to feel that connection which isn’t possible on screen. Never before in my lifetime has there been more of a need to get out there and lift people’s spirits and it will be a privilege to be in a position to do that via my passion.
In my case, my Zoom shows have enabled me to reconnect with friends in South Africa where I grew up. As a result, I may well be going out there to do some gigs at some point. This would not have been on the cards without going through this lock down period.
As for the future, I look forward to working with other artists in collaborative shows going forward. I just feel that entertainers need to support each other and get creative in order to thrive in this changing world. Never before has it been more important to lighten people’s lives and lift the spirits as now. I have earned very little over the last year - despite 2020 looking like it was going to be my busiest and best business year yet until Covid came along.
However, I have realised that I am one of the lucky ones. I have a supportive family and have learnt resilience through my tough experiences at school. There are many people whose lock down experience has been particularly traumatic and I decided on my first Zoom show that I would offer an affordable ticket price, to make it accessible to as many people as possible, and if I could bring even a little in to help small charities to support mental health, that perhaps I could be forgiven for the odd technical blip!
Magic Seats - Certainly the ticket price is very reasonable and it is great that you are attracting large audiences. The fact that the shows are also supporting charities close to your heart is fantastic.
What is your most prized magic collectable that you can share with us? Anything rare or special that you can tell us about.
Angus Baskerville - When I got into the Magic Circle, I was bought a special magician’s collapsible table for a close-up and/or stage magic. I have yet to bring this into my stage act, but it will happen.
Magic Seats - Fingers crossed that you will be able to use it soon!
Any particular favourite tricks or style of magic that you will want to perform live?
Angus Baskerville - In terms of favourite tricks which I have become known for, it would have to be my mentalism trick on stage. One of the main ones is where someone chooses any word from the book and I read their mind on the spot.
However, what I feel is most special to me, is that magic in general really helped me overcome a variety of my problems related to autism. I became more sociable and was able to make friends and improve my self worth through learning magic. This is the real magic for me. If my magic can help even one person to feel better, then all the hours of practice are worth it.
I give talks to parents of newly diagnosed children and share with them how magic is my special interest and if they can get teachers to help kids find their passion, and to use that to help them engage in their learning, they will really achieve and their self esteem will grow.
Magic Seats - Certainly it is great to see magic put a smile on faces and support via public speaking is also very worthwhile.
What aspirations do have you for your future career? - any future ambitions such to either create effects to sell or write a book, shows/TV etc.
Angus Baskerville - I am always experimenting to come up with my own effects and I would love to have my own stage tour at some point.
I have a book in process at the moment and if I can use magic as a tool to help kids to learn to communicate better and build friendships and connections, then that will really make me happy. Success is about being able to face life’s inevitable challenges with a smile and about putting smiles on other people’s faces too.
Magic Seats - I will look forward to any future stage show and any published works. Keep us updated about these projects!
Thanks Angus for taking the time to chat with us today. It has been very enlightening.
To learn more about Angus's services, take a look at his website and social sites below.
Also, sites referenced in this article include:
Contacts to book Angus are: