South Tyneside International Magic Festival: Magicians cast a spell over borough for week-long event

Coun Alan Kerr, left, joins magicians Alana, Kennedy, and John Archer at the South Tyneside International Magic Festival at the Customs House
Coun Alan Kerr, left, joins magicians Alana, Kennedy, and John Archer at the South Tyneside International Magic Festival at the Customs House

A festival which brought magicians from around the world to South Shields is just the trick.

The South Tyneside International Magic Festival is now in its 13th year, and once again performers have travelled from around the globe, from as far as Sweden, the US and Germany.

Hundreds of performers flocked to the Customs House, in Mill Dam, this week to attend lectures, learn from each other, share ideas, and perform for the public.

The event is organised by South Tyneside Council with a helping hand from sponsors Magic Box and North East magician John Archer.

John, who was the first person to fool famous magicians Penn and Teller on their ITV contest, said: “We just kicked off the convention side of things yesterday, although the festival has been running all week.

“It’s looking like it’s going to be a great success and everyone has turned up, which is the main thing.

Organiser of the South Tyneside International Magic Festival held at the Customs House, John Archer

Organiser of the South Tyneside International Magic Festival held at the Customs House, John Archer

“When you’re booking acts from all over the world to come and perform you worry that they might miss their plane or train and not get here in time, but thankfully everyone has.

“It’s a bit of a test when you start ringing up these magicians to ask them to come along. You’re ringing up magicians in Las Vegas asking them to come put on a show in South Shields, but they were all up for it.”

American artists Chad Long and John Carney, Swedish champion Malin Nilsson, German award-winner Alana and Belgian man of mystery, Rafael, were among the magic community’s big names that made the journey.

John added: “This is the 13th year now and it’s growing and growing. It’s always well attended by magicians and the public who come along to see the shows.

“It’s great to see it becoming more and more popular” JOHN ARCHER

John Archer

“We’re going to get through the next couple of days before we start thinking about next year, but it won’t be long until we start making plans.

“I’ve been involved right from the start in some way, and helping to organise and book magicians for the last couple of years, and it’s great to see it becoming more and more popular.

“I’m performing in the gala shows as well, which is always one of the perks of organising, because you can make sure you’re name’s on the bill.”

Coun Alan Kerr, deputy leader of South Tyneside Council, with responsibility for culture and leisure, said: “The South Tyneside International Magic Festival is one of the most popular events in our calendar and annually attracts performers and visitors from around the globe.

Magician Graeme Shaw with a Paul Daniels magic set at the South Tyneside International Magic Festival at the Customs House

Magician Graeme Shaw with a Paul Daniels magic set at the South Tyneside International Magic Festival at the Customs House

“This year, with the help of magician John Archer, we have put together an eclectic and extraordinary line-up and we cannot wait for our stars to cast a spell over South Tyneside once again.”

The final show of the festival is on tonight.

The Magic Gala Show features performers from around the globe and starts at 8pm.

Tickets cost £14 with a £13 concession. To book, go to www.customshouse.co.uk or call 0191 454 1234.