Updated: Jul 16
As part of our special interview series with the founders of The Leicester Magicians Network, our second interview is with Ian Gamage aka "Magic-Ian".
With over 25 years' experience in performing, Ian is a member of the elite Magic Circle, the world's premier magical society. Ian is also a Merit Cup winner of the Leicester Magic Circle, and a member of Equity.
Ian is also a founding member of the Leicester Magicians Network.
Working in and around Leicestershire, Ian has been a working magician for over twenty years, specialising in close-up magic and children's parties. Ian has worked in a wide range of venues, adapting as necessary to each particular situation.
Ian is able to draw on years of practice, experience, and expertise, which includes being advised by legendary TV magician Paul Daniels. This has all allowed him to hone his skills, both as a magician and as a performer. Ian's particular brand of laid-back, comedy magic puts the audience at ease and is designed to both amaze, amuse and - above all - entertain.
Magic Seats -Thanks Ian for joining us today and having a chat about your career and magic.
As a performer, I know that you specialise in close up magic and children’s parties, how have you adapted to performing and keeping up with ever changing covid guidelines over the last year. It must have been difficult?
Ian Gamage - My last performance (I remember it well!) was on March 7th 2020. As a result, I haven’t yet experienced performing in a ‘post-Covid’ world.
My future performances, however, will undoubtedly be different. I have spent the lock-down redesigning my kid’s show to introduce more space between me and the children who come up to assist, and I feel sure that some form of face covering will still be required, even after the current restrictions - the challenge is to find one which still allows me to communicate properly with the kids!
In terms of close-up, again the challenge has been in altering my routines to minimise (or eliminate) spectators touching props - so ‘take a card’ has become ‘say stop at any card’, and ‘sign your name on the card’ becomes ‘give me any four-digit number to write on the card’.
I now also have a non-contact parlour show available, which I’ve spent the last few months putting together. Any challenge brings with it opportunities, and I think the pandemic has forced performers to challenge the norm and reimagine what we do.
Magic Seats - Sounds like you have been really busy Ian redesigning your shows and putting together a parlour magic show. I will definitely be interested in seeing that!
A specialist are for you is of course your children's parties. You offer lots of options on your website which includes either meeting your pet rabbit Coco or even Ben the naughty puppy puppet. What is your most popular package and what does it include?
Ian Gamage - By far my Gold Package is the most popular. I think this is because the parents know that for 90 mins they can leave the entertainment of the kids to me, and only really have to worry about feeding them! Also, I think they like the mixture of magic, games and the mini-disco, so it gives the kids lots of variety.
I get a lot of requests for bespoke entertainment, and I am always very happy to work with the customer to suit their particular requirements.
Magic Seats - Like yourself, Paul Daniels was also able to vary his style of performance dependent on the occasion and audience. What was it like working with Paul Daniels – how did that come about?
Ian Gamage - I was lucky enough to attend one of Paul’s workshops, where he spent time with groups of magicians coaching them on any aspect of magic: performance, techniques, confidence, even the business side were all covered in great detail.
He was extremely generous with his knowledge and I even got to sit next to him over lunch, so grabbed the opportunity to quiz him on his TV career! Paul is my magical hero, so it was a very special time and helped me a lot.
Magic Seats -The site has a collectables magic section. Do you have any Paul Daniels magic collectable(s) that you are most proud and can share with us?
Ian Gamage - I took Paul’s ‘Adult Magic’ book with me when I met him, which he was good enough to sign and dedicate to me. I’ll always treasure it.
Magic Seats - Wow. That sounds excellent. I have the book but it isn't signed! While you can find lots of signed Paul Daniels photo cards and posters, signed books appear to be harder to come across.
Meeting Paul was obviously a highlight for you and you have many achievements over a 25-year career. Magic Circle member, Merit Cup winner (Leicester Magic Circle) and member of Equity to name just a few. What achievement are you most proud of?
Ian Gamage - Forming the Leicester Magicians Network (LMN) is certainly one of my proudest achievements, and working with Scot, Pete and Adam is a pleasure. The four of us have known each other for a long time and have a great supportive friendship. I think If I had to choose one, it would have to be achieving my member of the Magic Circle status, which is something I’ve dreamed of since being a child.
Magic Seats - I was really pleased for you when I learnt earlier in the year that you had achieved your ambition to become a member of The Magic Circle.
As one of the four founders of the Leicester Magician’s Network (LMN), this is obviously an important achievement for you as well. As there are four founders, can you tell us a little about your unique contribution to the running of the club?
Ian Gamage - We all have designated roles for the purposes of the ‘official’ running of the Network as a club, which requires a published set of rules, accounts, etc. However, we agreed from the outset that the four of us would share the running of the Network on a collaborative basis. I have the position of Treasurer, for example, but it’s very much a team effort.
Magic Seats - Thanks Ian for taking the time to chat with us today. We wish you continued good luck with all aspects of your career.
To book Ian Gamage aka Magic-Ian or learn more about his services, take a look at his website and social sites below:
See below for details about the Leicester Magicians Network:
The Leicester Magicians Network
As part of this series of interviews with the founders of the Leicester Magicians Network, I sat down with them and asked some questions about the club.
Magic Seats - What’s the story behind the Leicester Magicians Network. How did the idea come about to form a new club?
Whilst we all love and respect the traditions of ‘older’ magic societies, they can be sometimes intimidating to new members. The four founding members all shared a similar philosophy and it was something that we are all passionate about, particularly in bringing on the next generation of magicians.
This is why we thought long and hard about our mission statement:
“To Create A Magic Community Where Everyone Who Is Passionate About Magic Is Welcome, Built Around Trust, Friendship and Support, And Aiming to Help All Members to Be the Best They Can Be.”
Magic Seats - With many magic clubs to join, what is different about Leicester Magicians Network. Why join your club?
When founding The Leicester Magicians Network, the philosophy was to create a modern forward-thinking Club that was not constrained by out-dated ideas or principles. Unlike traditional magic clubs we have dispensed with the requirement for an audition in order to join. We do not want in any way want to preclude anyone from joining such as the hobbyist magician. Our desire is to promote a relaxed, friendly environment which allows members of all abilities to share ideas, ask questions without fear, or perform if they feel comfortable.
We also have what we believe to be a unique membership model where for when a small set annual fee is paid, it gives you access to many members evenings, workshops etc which occur average twice a month. On top of that, we of course have Professional Lectures which operate on a pay-as-you-go basis members are able to pick and choose which ones they wish to attend.
Magic Seats - How did you come up with the name of the club?
We had a bit of a brainstorming session and obviously creating a new magic club in the midst of a pandemic was a challenge. With the name we wanted to convey a message of ‘connectivity’ even though none of us could initially meet in person.
For information about the club, events or membership details, please visit the website here.