Wizards, secrets and stories: The countdown to MagicFest begins

Wizards, secrets and stories: The countdown to MagicFest begins

Kevin Quantum

Artistic Director and magician Kevin Quantum prepares for another year of magic in the city, with a world-class award under his belt

Spring always signals the beginning of festival season, with an ever-exceptional range of events to enjoy between now and the return of those dark winter months. Edinburgh will inevitably be taken over by the chaos of the Festival in just a few months but before that happens, there's a festival that's well worth checking out in the city, especially if you're keen on letting your imagination run wild.

The Edinburgh International Magic Festival is one of the UK's biggest festivals of magic, having welcomed over 58,000 visitors to the city since its conception in 2010. This year's festival looks to be a particularly special affair, with Artistic Director and magician Kevin Quantum having recently returned from the Adelaide Fringe with the overall Best Magic award in tow, ahead of almost 30 other magic shows at the festival.

On his big win, Quantum commented: 'I'm surprised and delighted to receive this award on the other side of the world at one of the largest and most prestigious festivals in the world. It's a real honour to win Best Magic and see the art of magic given such prominence. Adelaide Fringe is unique in that it recognises "magic" as an individual category in their programme. With 50 magic shows at the Fringe last year, in a quickly expanding section, I would love to see Edinburgh Fringe following their lead and creating a magic category.'

The 2018 festival will kick off with the Wizard World Gathering at Assembly Roxy (Fri 11–Sun 13 May), which features live magic shows, DJs, a fantasy quiz, food and drink and other surprises throughout the night. Other highlights include the return of the Secret Room, which combines close-up magic with tours of some of Edinburgh's historic buildings and dark history; intimate events at the Scottish Storytelling Centre; the popular Magic School; and the spectacular MagicFest Gala at the Lyceum (Fri 18 & Sat 19 May), which closes the festival with a mix of illusion, mind-reading, theatrical pick pocketing, comedy and sleight-of-hand from a selection of the world's best magic and variety acts.

Quantum's Adelaide Fringe accolade, coupled with the exciting programme of innovative and cutting edge magic planned for audiences of all ages, is set to make 2018 a stellar year for MagicFest.

Edinburgh International Magic Festival, various venues, Edinburgh, Fri 11–Sat 19 May.

Edinburgh International Magic Festival

MagicFest presents another programme of close-up conundrums, mindboggling illusions, comic cabaret and other feats of the impossible. The festival features workshops as well as shows and ends with the illustrious Closing Gala, a fast paced performance of illusion, sleight of hand, circus and mind reading. And this year…

Various venues: Edinburgh

Fri 11 May

Times & prices vary / 0131 226 0006

Sat 12 May

Times & prices vary / 0131 226 0006

Sun 13 May

Times & prices vary / 0131 226 0006

…and 6 more dates until 19 May

Magic School

Kids magic workshops led by magician Gary James, who even once managed to make JK Rowling vanish (and then reappear, thankfully). Book in for five days and emerge the other side a fully fledged magician. Choose either a morning or afternoon slot. Booking is essential.

Scottish Storytelling Centre, Edinburgh

Sun 13 May

£20 / 0131 556 9579

Ages 7-10.

  • 10:00 – 12:30
  • 13:30 – 16:00

Magicfest Gala: Fast & Furious

A selection of magic acts.

Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh

Fri 18 May

Prices to be confirmed / 0131 248 4848

  • 19:30 – 21:30

Sat 19 May

£24–£33 (£21–£30; Children £15–£24) / 0131 248 4848

  • 19:30 – 21:30

Prices to be confirmed / 0131 248 4848

  • 14:30 – 16:30

The Secret Room

The untold stories of Riddle’s Court, The Writers’ Museum and Lauriston Castle are brought to life with magic-filled tours. Discover the clandestine corridors and secret chambers of Edinburgh’s historic buildings as magicians animate their dark past and unsolved mysteries. Suitable for ages 10+.

Writers' Museum, Edinburgh

Mon 14 May

£20 (£18; Children £15) / 0131 529 4901

  • 17:30 – 18:30
  • 19:30 – 21:30

Tue 15 May

£20 (£18; Children £15) / 0131 529 4901

  • 17:30 – 18:30
  • 19:30 – 21:30

Wed 16 May

£20 (£18; Children £15) / 0131 529 4901

  • 17:30 – 18:30
  • 19:30 – 21:30

Thu 17 May

£20 (£18; Children £15) / 0131 529 4901

  • 17:30 – 18:30
  • 19:30 – 21:30

Wizard World Gathering

The Assembly Roxy is transformed into the Wizarding World for the opening event of the 9th annual Edinburgh International Magic Festival.

Assembly Roxy, Edinburgh

Fri 11 May

£18 / 0131 623 3030

Part of Edinburgh International Magic Festival.

  • 18:00

Sat 12 May

£18 / 0131 623 3030

Part of Edinburgh International Magic Festival.

  • 18:00

Sun 13 May

£18 / 0131 623 3030

Part of Edinburgh International Magic Festival.

  • 18:00

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