While I am not a member of The Magic Circle (TMC), I jumped at the opportunity to buy a non members ticket to attend this years 2023 convention event at the Magic Circle headquarters in London.
This was the second annual TMC convention which had an excellent advertised line up and was a sell out for 2023. Member and VIP tickets were also available to buy.
Unlike other conventions, the number of tickets available is quite limited. I suspect as the word gets out that this convention is excellent, it will become increasingly hard to get tickets unless you're quick in future years. I decided to go to this event as an opportunity to meet friends, make new friends, watch lectures, tour the dealer hall and watch the evening Gala Show. A show with TMC acts that you may not be able to get to see otherwise.
Registration and collecting my pass on the day was a smooth process, checking in at the Wesley Hotel. TMC President Megan Swann also greeted attendees on arrival. The lanyard was smart, making an excellent collectable and keep sake. You also get given a goodie bag with the content varying depending on your ticket type. VIP ticket holders were given a very smart Magic Circle umbrella.
The Wesley Hotel is just behind The Magic Circle, allowing the hotel to host a social space with food and drinks to buy and the dealers room in the basement.
The Magic Circle premises then hosted more social space (bar) and the theatre was used for lectures and the evening Gala show.
The two premises connect nicely with an alley way which is just a short walk. An absolute ideal setup..
On arrival, I took a tour around the dealers hall and I was able to make a couple of purchases from Oliver Tabor/Vicky Butterfly (The Glamourists) and Chris Cross. I bought signed lecture notes from Oliver & Vicky and signed Siegfried and Roy memorabilia from Chris Cross.
Convention pass holders had access to the dealers room, however, any TMC member could access the dealers and I believe non members could pay for dealer room access.
The dealers room was quite small with about 22 dealers. However, should the convention grow in future years, it does look like more rooms are available in the hotel basement. As the dealer room was my first visit of the day, it was quite packed at the time.
I did not get much chance to tour the dealers as 5 lectures were planned for the day and I was able to attend them all with Ian Gamage - Magician. However, the agenda was nicely paced, allowing you to gain downtime for breaks and socialising.
Everyone of course has different tastes and interests. The lectures that I most enjoyed were Magic Singh who was interviewed about his social media presence on platforms like Tik Tok, Fay Presto who performed her close up restaurant/table act and lectured and of course, Laura London who gave a snippet of her show "Cheat" as well as lecturing.
All the lectures were very well prepared, and it has to be said that the Magic Circle theatre is an excellent intimate venue. Good sound and views, regardless of where you sit.
I was also able to pick up signed lecture notes from the amazing Fay Presto. A nice collectable that I am looking forward to studying.
Throughout the day, the Wesley Hotel was available for food and drink. While other food options were nearby, the weather restricted your movement. While the Wesley Hotel was convenient and the food quality was good, I have to say that the portion sizes are tiny. The burger and chips were like a "Fun Size" version and were very small. Perhaps if more food options can be provided in future, this would help.
Throughout out day, you could attend tours of TMC. I was lucky to get on a really informative tour hosted by the TMC Vice President Katherine Rhodes. It lasted around 45 minutes and you got to see the Devant room and the museum. Many highlights and you also get shown items such as the cups and balls that King Charles used to pass his audition and Sooty.
At the end of the day, a special opportunity for VIP pass holders was a drinks reception hosted by the President Megan Swann. Good to see that VIP pass holders were gaining extra value.
This show was excellent and very funny. Unfortunately due to my train times, I had to miss the last headline act Mind 2 Mind who I understand were excellent. All the acts were of course amazing and Harry was a great opener but I also have to mention Terry Herbert - what an honour to see him perform live.
An extra special moment for me was getting called onto the stage to help Troy. As a magic fan, I have been waiting for that day I got to go on stage and I loved it.
While I know that many helped put on this convention day, I have to say how welcoming all the members of TMC are. The organisers were Lee Hathaway and Michael J Fitch (pictured below). It was also good to catch up briefly with Wayne Trice who was busy organising and looking after the technical side of the event. Thank you to all at TMC who put on this amazing day.
Overall, the convention ticket is really good value and I definitely want to go again next year. As a magic fan and show reviewer, I really had an excellent time.
My only feedback would be if the agenda and timings can be released earlier and an expanded food offered at the hotel. Otherwise, a perfect offering.
If you missed this convention, do think about booking in future. The organisers take a less is more approach with the lectures, as thankfully no clashes and all the talks are high quality. The lectures also being the perfect length of time coming in at around 40 minutes.
A very memorable day and Gala show that I will never forget.
See you next year TMC Convention! Thank you very much.