This week I have been lucky to have the opportunity to chat to Louise Andrée. An all round entertainer who has a wide skill set which includes dancing, acting and magic, along with many other talents.
Most recently seen performing online for the Motherwell Theatre as the Cheshire Cat who also performs magic. We had the opportunity to discuss her career as a professional magician in depth.
Louise specialises in close up magic as well as stage magic and illusions and is a member of the Magic Circle. Proud to still also work as a ‘box jumper’ she has worked with some of the world's most renowned magicians and has appeared on TV screens and stages internationally as well as in London’s West end Show ‘Impossible’, of which she also joined the UK and international tours.
She has appeared and disappeared on TV shows such as BBC’s The Magicians, Now You See It & Breaking Magic. Louise loves to combine her experience & skills as both ‘magician’ and ‘assistant’ to shake up the traditional stereotypes of magic performance whilst sprinkling her unique brand of mystique and wonder to any event.
Also a member of the female magical super group "Chicks n Tricks" and supporter of children's charity "Spread a Smile".
This interview is very informative and it was a pleasure working with Louise on this article. I think you will enjoy this!
Magic Seats - Thank you for joining us for a chat today Louise. It is most appreciated that you are spending time with us and talking through your career to date.
Your many achievements that I am aware of include being part of the first female group of magicians - “Chicks n Tricks”, carrying out charity work for “Spread a Smile” and being one of a small but growing number of successful women in The Magic Circle. What achievement(s) career wise are you most proud of?
Louise Andrée - Firstly, thanks so much for asking me to take part and for all that you do with Magic Seats! It’s such a great resource for us Magicians and a great way to keep up with what’s going on in our community.
I feel so incredibly lucky to have had some amazing opportunities in my career. A massive career highlight for me was working on ‘Impossible’ in London’s West End– I think most British performers have the West End on their bucket list. I was also lucky enough to do the UK and International tour as well, so got to go to some amazing places such as Singapore, Beirut, Dubai and The Philippines and also perform at the Edinburgh Playhouse with my entire family in the audience which had been a dream of mine since I was a little girl.
As you mentioned, working with Spread A Smile has also been a huge highlight - to me that’s what magic is really about- connecting with others and using entertainment to bring good to the world and make others smile.
Magic Seats - Really glad that you enjoy the site. Thank you.
The ‘Impossible’ tour sounds amazing and I wish that I had been able to see it. I had no idea that you travelled so extensively with the show internationally- that must have been amazing.
You got into magic in 2011 and were performing to audiences professionally in 2012 as part of "Chicks n Tricks". Though you were already in entertainment as a dancer, box jumper etc, how did you manage to progress as a Magician so fast. What is the secret of your success?
Louise Andrée - I was lucky enough to learn so much from the many magicians and consultants on ‘The Magicians’ in 2011- my first ever job in magic. I was booked as a dancer, essentially, and was only supposed to be involved in one trick on one episode- the Slicer Illusion performed by Barry and Stuart with celebrity guest David Haye. But because the celebrity guests on the show couldn’t always make camera rehearsals etc, I would stand in. So I got to learn lots of illusions and watch world class magicians day in day out. I was then kept on as an on-camera assistant for the remaining episodes.
Jonathan Goodwin, Barry & Stuart, Pete Firman, Jason Latimer, Scott Penrose, R Paul Wilson & Danny Hunt were some of the magicians and consultants I got to work with on my very first job- I now realise these are Magic Royalty! At the time, I had no idea, which is probably a good thing as I’d have been so nervous! I also got to watch acts such as Hans Klok, Juliana Chen and Aaron Crow perform as the guest performers on the live shows which was mind blowing for me and made me realise I wanted to pursue magic further.
When I joined Chicks N Tricks, I was so lucky to be mentored in close up and illusions by Jamie Allan and also Adam Heppenstall. Jamie introduced us to fellow magicians such as David Penn and also really encouraged us to work towards joining the Magic Circle one day. He had a belief in us that we didn’t always have in ourselves.
Jonathan Goodwin has always been a massive support and given me many opportunities in my career which have led to even more opportunities.
I do sometimes have severe imposter syndrome and it's taken me a long time to feel comfortable even calling myself a magician, because I feel like I sort of became a magician by accident and was obviously quite a late bloomer to the magic world! But I’ve always made sure I worked really hard and learned as much as I can from others along the way.
I definitely think my background in dancing and acting has helped me in magic as so many of the skills are transferable. Where I might’ve had to play catch up where magic technique is concerned, I was already confident performing and practically grew up on stage, so I had already earned my stripes as a performer and was able to apply this to magic. My acting and presenting experience meant I was confident approaching groups and holding my own, improvising if things went wrong and being able to adapt to my audience. I do feel like I’m still constantly learning though!
Magic Seats - I think it is only natural to feel that you are still learning but you have already achieved so much. Having Adam and Jamie as mentors must have been amazing and I am aware of their work. I have also been lucky to see Jonathan perform. All amazing artists.
2018 was a big year for you in particular, achieving your Magic Circle membership and becoming part of the Spread a Smile team of magicians who provide entertainment and magic to children in hospital. During lockdown, of course it has had to be virtual and also via their Smile TV, providing recorded performances to entertain. Why is this charity so important to you and how have you/the charity been able to make a difference?
Louise Andrée - Spread A Smile is so special to me. It’s a charity who, despite growing massively in the 8 years they’ve been going, have kept a real, personable family feel to everything they do.
It can be quite easy as a performer, especially as a magician, often working alone, to become self-focused or to sweat the small stuff! With Spread A Smile, I swap my sequins for a hospital apron and have been donning face masks way before Covid-19 arrived. The ego is left firmly at the door! I might be performing a trick to a child who is having chemotherapy or distracting a teenager who’s having an IV line fitted, sometimes it’s performing a mini show to a family on the ward and helping to create lasting memories. It’s a cliché but it really does put things into perspective and I’m always totally blown away by the strength and resilience that the children and their families show.
I say it a lot but I really do feel that this is what real magic is- connection. It gives what we do a sense of purpose. During the Pandemic it’s been amazing being able to continue to make these children and their families smile during what has been such a challenging time- because of the 1 visitor rule in many hospitals, the kids may only get to see one parent and not their siblings or extended family, so we often entertain over Zoom to the patient in hospital but also bring their families in on different screens from home– it’s a great way to connect the families and spread smiles with a little bit of magic.
Magic Seats - It is fantastic that the work Spread A Smile carry out has continued successfully over the last 12 months with the challenges Covid has presented.
Lock-down has of course proved very challenging for all. You have been able to continue to work and were recently seen in the Motherwell Concert Hall and Theatre pantomime Alice in Wonderland as the Cheshire Cat. This was filmed during lock-down. As well as your charity work, what else have you been up to in the last year while unable to perform in front of live audiences?
Louise Andrée - I was so lucky to be involved in Alice in Wonderland over Easter but also ‘Lost In Pantoland’ a choose your own adventure style digital panto over Christmas with the same company (Starbright Entertainments). The Producer and Director Phil Norton is also a magician and so its lovely to get to work with him and to get to do magic in the shows.
I also teach dance and fitness, so have adapted that to Zoom as well as leading workshops for schools/Performing Arts Academies and hosting the odd birthday party! Sometimes being a Jack of All Trades, Master on none has its benefits! Ha!
I run and practice yoga most days of the week which has kept me sane as well as walking, walking and more walking which has kept me entertained outdoors and out of trouble!
Magic Seats - It must be handy having so many talents that you can diversify. Good that you have been able to continue to walk, dance and practice yoga. Using Zoom for fitness classes and hosting/parties/magic sounds amazing. Hopefully life will begin to return to normal soon.
You previously advised when you tell people that you're a magician, nine out of ten assume you're the assistant. In my opinion, female magicians are leading the way with unique and original acts. You are all contributing in different ways doing new things not seen before. Do you think attitudes are beginning to change towards female magicians?
Louise Andrée - It’s funny because, like you say, people do always assume I am the assistant , which is partly my own fault as I am still proud to work as an assistant for other magicians as well as being ‘out front’ as a magician in my own right. But I do like to blur the lines between what is traditionally seen as being ‘The Magician’ and what is ‘The Assistant’. I’m happy doing both! Assistant shouldn’t be a dirty word, but then again, it shouldn’t be assumed that a female is ‘just the assistant’- it’s a complex subject that I could probably chat about all day!
The more we see Female Magicians on TV shows and in the line ups of the big Magic shows, as members of the Magic Circle or Society of American Magicians or even better- on council or as Presidents of big magic clubs, the more it becomes the norm to see female magicians and it makes a more even playing field. I’m fortunate to know many talented female magicians and a real highlight for me was performing at The Magic Circle for International Womens Day in 2018 alongside some fellow female members.
I’ve had nothing but support and encouragement from fellow female magicians, which is lovely. I definitely think attitudes are beginning to change– 30 years ago, the Magic Circle allowed female members to join for the first time- now we have brilliant women as Secretary and for the first time ever, President.
Magic Seats - Certainly, there are some amazing female magicians and it is great to see so many of you having so much success.
With all your years now performing magic, do you have any special magic collectables that you are proud to own and that you can tell us about?
Louise Andrée - Like probably every single magician I know, I definitely have far too many boxes, bags and suitcases full of magic, some that has probably sat unlooked at since Blackpool about four conventions ago!
I don’t really have any collectibles (unless you count my limited-edition Magic Barbie!) but when I finally move out of the City and have the storage space, I have my eye on lots of illusions. I would love to know what you collect?! A few magic friends collect Tenyo Magic and lots have vintage magic poster collections- when I move I will probably start to collect magic posters old and new for my workshop/office space.
Magic Seats - I think we can count Magic Barbie - why not! I'm sure that I can hazard a guess at which one of your friends collects Tenyo as I have seen them show some of their pieces online!
I like signed items and have various signed posters, photos, books, playing cards and I also like the odd signed magic set! While I have some of my signed collectables on display, many of the posters are stored flat in an A3 folder that I treasure. Some favourite posters are signed Paul Daniels and Debbie McGee ones and my Mandy Muden signed photo!
I really appreciate your time today and have to ask that good old question... any future plans that you can share?
Louise Andrée - Annoyingly I have nothing solid that I can share at the moment but potential for some exciting Summer work- fingers crossed! Magic Seats will be the first to know, though if it happens- promise!
I am hopefully getting married in September- third time lucky as we’ve postponed twice due to Covid- so I’m really looking forward to that and hopefully creating some more work opportunities back home in Scotland.
Magic Seats - That's great to learn that you have some exciting Summer work - and it will be great to know once official!
Good luck with the wedding and thank you so much for your time again today. It has been enjoyable.
If you would like to know more about Louise Andrée, take a look at these links for her official website and social sites.
The Spotlight casting agency page is also worth looking at, as Louise has achieved a huge portfolio of work and it gives you a complete run down of her career to date.
Louise is London based and available for bookings worldwide.