Edinburgh International Magic Festival

24 Jun — 6 Jul 2015 at Edinburgh's Summerhall, United Kingdom

11 MAY 2015

The sixth Edinburgh International Magic Festival transforms into a world of dreams – a hub for magic, illusion and wonder. Audiences are invited to embrace the adventure as some of the world’s most accomplished magicians take over Edinburgh’s Summerhall this summer from 26 June - 4 July 2015.

  • MagicFest held at Summerhall for the first time, launching a brand new festival hub

  • Magic and Variety Gala Show moves to Festival Theatre, home of the Great Lafayette

  • New MagicFest Opening Night Party with live show tasters

  • New adult magic classes for first time this year

  • New late night ‘witching hour’ shows for adults only

This year Summerhall, Edinburgh's 'Art Laboratory', is the new MagicFest hub creating an irresistible world of wonder and adventure with live shows, exhibitions, food, drink and doughnuts all at one magical campus.

Kevin McMahon, Artist Director of Edinburgh International Magic Festival, said: "We've dreamed of having MagicFest on one site since we started the festival back in 2010, so it's incredibly exciting to takeover Summerhall for 8 days and pack it full of magic. Imagine entering a portal, and winding up somewhere where the normal rules don't apply. It's kinda like that but with drink and doughnuts."

Start your magical adventure at the MagicFest Opening Night Party on 26 June with dancing, spontaneous close up performances, tasters from the live shows, music, food, drink, wily wizards and epic adventures until the wee witching hours.

For the first time the Magic and Variety Gala Show moves to the Festival Theatre to close the festival on 4 July. A venue directly associated with the Great Lafayette, the Gala Show sees Cirque du Soleil stars performing alongside international illusionists for a night of magic, sleight-of hand, circus and mind-reading.

On the night, Rafael performs a wacky, surreal, gothic take on the fictional nightmare figure that is Dracula; blink and you'll miss four-time World Champions of Quick Change Illusion Sos & Victoria with their modern take on the art of Transformation; Cirque du Soleil star Xavier Mortimer has a reflection that isn't just confined to the mirror; Taiwan’s Mike Chao performs one of the most striking manipulation magic acts in the world; Men In Coats take you to their world of cartoon madness on a conveyer belt of nonsense; Scotland’s Colin Cloud returns with a brand new show predicting your behaviour; ‘Magic Circle Stage Magician of the Year’ John Archer, recently hired by Derren Brown for his Dad's birthday, returns to wrap up the Magic and Variety Gala Show. MagicFest Artistic Director Kevin McMahon will also present the 4th Great Lafayette Award during the evening.

For those looking for a sense of adventure, Tower of Illusion transforms the beautiful world of Camera Obscura into a realm of unnatural creatures and treacherous mysteries. Lord of the Rings meets the Crystal Maze for this unique treasure hunt. Returning to Lauriston Castle after two years of sell out shows, The Secret Room travels back in time to explore clandestine laboratories and hidden passages as three of Scotland’s finest magicians animate the castle’s intriguing past with stories, performances and illusions.

At Summerhall, this year’s festival will feature four main theatres, a magic shop, interactive illusions, a ceilidh as well as events in the Summerhall courtyard. Krispy Kreme have this year become Principal Venue Sponsor, supporting the events taking place on site. The festival has been awarded a 'New Arts Sponsorship Grant', funded by the Scottish Government, and delivered by Arts & Business Scotland to further develop the relationship with Krispy Kreme.

Damian Austin, UK Retail Sales Manager, Krispy Kreme, said: “Every day our store teams create magic moments for our customers, and no matter what age you are, magic has that wonderful way of drawing you in and leaving you amazed at what you have just experienced. We are really excited to be sponsoring the MagicFest again this year.”

Carl Watt, New Arts Sponsorship Grants Manager said: "Arts & Business Scotland is delighted to be supporting the Edinburgh International Magic Festival through the New Arts Sponsorship grant scheme. Edinburgh is renowned worldwide for having a wonderful portfolio of festivals and MagicFest plays its part through this annual international magical celebration. We wish them and their partnership with Krispy Kreme every success this year."

Italian photographer Barbara Scerbo brings her breath-taking 'Illusion' Exhibition from Rome to Summerhall, making striking use of mirrors to disturb and fascinate the imagination. 10 by Mark Elsdon is an entirely new kind of immersive live performance, 10 magic tricks in 10 minutes with 10 words for just 10 people at a time.

MagicFest hosts a number of one-off special events and lectures this year. Scotland's best close-up magicians choose magic to match your meal, giving you a real appetite for illusion at Magic à la carte. Kevin McMahon’s Quantum Magic is state-of-the-art magic fused with incredible science; you’ll understanding Quantum Physics in four minutes, have your thoughts projected into reality and witness an impossible levitation just inches away.

Professor Richard Wiseman explores the new science of sleep and dreaming. Find out how to get the perfect night’s sleep, decode your dreams and bring more magic into your life with The Magic of Sleep and Dreaming.

Feature length documentary Our Magic by R Paul Wilson (BBC 'The Real Hustle') reveals the art of magic as seen by thirty of the most respected performers and creators of magic. Followed by a Q&A with Paul, audiences can ask about the real secrets in magic and find out why mystery is important and wonder is essential. For those who want to learn more about the art of magic, R Paul Wilson’s How Magic Works is a lecture for everyone, and teaches how to perform incredible effects and to recognise magic as an essential part of life.

This year’s festival offers world-class mentalism and theatrical magic from some of the world’s best illusionists. Finland’s Robert Jägerhorn’s Waiting for Hitchcock is a charming, light and playful hour, bubbling with mimicry of silent movies, chaplinesque slapstick, excitement and magical disappearances. A MagicFest first, Flemish circus company Cirque Cirqulaire’s Working Class doesn't just demonstrate magic illusions, but interweaves them beautifully into a poetic story. This is a compelling, wordless performance in which the impossible is seemingly obvious.

Witness jaw-dropping escapology, Derren Brown-style mind-reading feats and fabulously dexterous close-up magic from a master of his craft Ali Cooks’ The Art of Astonishment. Described as the closest thing in the word to a real life Sherlock Holmes, Scotland’s Colin Cloud is potentially the most dangerous man in the world! He will deduce everything about you and, quite literally, get away with murder in Kills.

Micromagic, close-up magic or sleight of hand is still the most performed style of magic in the world. ‘Magic Circle Close-up Magician of the Year’ and consultant on Wolf Hall and Hugo, Dr Houstoun pulls back the curtain on some of the most incredible magicians of days gone by in A Compendium of Curious Characters and Exquisite Marvels too Strange to be Believed. Discover unbelievable sleight of hand illusions and con games with the world expert R Paul Wilson in Intimate Miracles, an immersive, engaging and personal way to experience magic in the company of a true master.

MagicFest’s new late night events promise to entertain, intrigue and have you squirming in your seat. Creating a moment of magic takes practice and effort and Edinburgh’s Ricky McLeod’s Trixology for adults uncovers the secrets behind several killer magic effects. Luke Eaton’s The Late Night Horror Magic Show invites you on a tour of the dark side with his menagerie of misfits; it’s bizarre, disgusting and totally insane!

Magic School was created six years ago to teach and inspire children to perform incredible magic for their family and friends. This year Kiran’s Trust, who support Young People in the Arts, Music, Writing and Sports, are thrilled to be championing the magic workshops for children. Magic School’s wizardry workshops offer 7-10 year olds the choice of either a 2.5 hour workshop or a 5-day course with fun show for parents. Street Magic Master Class led by ‘Magic Circle Close up Magician of the Year’ Will Houstoun, gives 11-15 year olds the chance to learn some mind-blowing techniques and the secrets behind sleight-of-hand. Admission to Magic School is selective, Squibs need not apply!

Time travelling Victorian magic duo Morgan & West unload another boxful of bafflement and impossibility in Morgan & West’s Utterly Spiffing Spectacular Show For Kids (and Childish Grown-Ups)! Witness a mountain of mysterious magic, a hatful of hyper-reality, and of course a truck full of tricks and tea. Why not fight a dragon, solve mysteries and thwart peril at every turn in Magic Quest. Testing memory, agility, sixth sense and card throwing skills with six devious challenges, teams of five will need to work together to prevail in a fast moving, magical 'Crystal Maze' environment. MagicFest Top Hat Ceilidh celebrate the life of Aberdeenshire magician, and inventor of the 'Rabbit from the Hat' trick, John Henry Anderson. Spin, stomp, twist, snap your fingers, vanish, reappear and saw your partner in half until the witching hour!

MagicFest has championed and supported up-and-coming talent in the world of magic since launching in 2010. The War of the Wizards Under 18’s and Open War of the Wizards competitions are hotly contested and continue to promote and reward a new generation of magicians to perform jaw dropping magic.

Sam Gough, General Manager of Summerhall said: “Summerhall are buzzed that MagicFest has chosen us are their hub and centre of magic this summer. We are excited by the prospect of the festival and look forward to welcoming audiences and magicians to the venue. We hope this will lead to a long term partnership with the team behind the festival.”

Edinburgh International Magic Festival runs from 26 June - 4 July 2015. Full details of the 2015 programme can be found at www.magicfest.co.uk.