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Edinburgh International Magic Festival Announces Biggest Ever Programme



Caption: Kevin Quantum launches MagicFest 2017 Credit: Colin Hattersley - High res images here

MagicFest Announces Biggest Programme to Date with Levitations Theme and New Events that will Bring Edinburgh’s Historic Venues and their Untold Secrets to Life

Building upon the success of last year, MagicFest has announced their biggest festival to date for their 8th year programme, inviting Edinburgh and magic fans from afar to ‘let their imagination fly’ 30th June – 8th July.

MagicFest is celebrating the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology 2017 by partnering with Scottish Historic Buildings Trust, Edinburgh Museums & Galleries and Edinburgh World Heritage to expand their sell-out show ‘The Secret Room’ from four to twenty shows, bringing three of Edinburgh’s unique historical venues and their untold mysteries and dark pasts to life with captivating magic tours.

Another new event for this year includes the UK debut of ‘From the Dark’, a show originally designed for the blind, which invites sighted and non-sighted audiences to experience the world’s only illusion show performed in complete darkness. Highlights of this year’s programme include:

  • MagicFair at Summerhall returns after sell-out launch last year with family events and late night sessions

  • New ‘From the Dark’ show invites the audience to experience illusions while blindfolded in complete darkness – a show originally developed for the visually impaired

  • After four sell-out years ‘The Secret Room’ expands to Riddle’s Court, The Writers’ Museum and Lauriston Castle, bringing their untold mysteries and dark pasts to life through the wonder of magic

  • A ‘Levitations’ themed Gala Show brings MagicFest 2017 to a grand finale at Festival Theatre with international acts and gravity defying performances

  • Solo shows from Morgan & West, R Paul Wilson, David Stone, Dave Alnwick and Luke Eaton

Kevin Quantum commented… ‘I’m delighted to see more Scottish performers than ever before on the line-up for 2017, many of whom, in the Secret Room performance, are creating new work inspired by Edinburgh, her history and past residents and celebrating the year of History, Heritage and Archaeology. From overseas I’m hugely excited to announce the arrival of Chilean Juan Esteban Varela. Magicians have a real talent for problem solving, making the impossible possible. Magic is fundamentally a visual art form but Juan’s “magic show in the dark” is truly ground-breaking, allowing us to reach an audience who have never experienced magic before, it’s really heart-warming.’

MagicFair: 30th June – 2nd July | Summerhall | From £8 | Under 5s free Morning all ages | Afternoon 7+ | Lates 16+

After a sell-out launch last year, MagicFair returns to Summerhall with over 80 live magic shows and 20 of the greatest illusionists from around the world. Best described as a Magic Theme Park, the three-day event offers all ages a spellbinding day out across Morning, Afternoon and Lates sessions. One-ticket-in gives festivalgoers entry to up to seven 20-minute shows, where they will experience live magic in intimate groups of 10 or 120 seat theatres, plus drop-in events and courtyard fun. Whichever sessions visitors choose they are promised a thrilling ride on the MagicFair rollercoaster.

Under 5s go free to family-orientated morning sessions (10-2pm). Kids can enjoy Mini Magic School workshops, wand-crafting, Brilliant Beasts and six different magic shows including Morgan & West, Tricky Ricky and Monkey Magic with Gary Dunn. Alchemy themed Afternoon sessions (2-6pm) boast Mind Wizards, Fake Magic, Tech Tricks and Laboratory Experiment shows and the chance to get hands-on and learn magic tricks with the pros in new drop-in workshops. As the sun goes down, things take a darker turn for the Lates sessions (7.30-11.30pm) with horror magic, mind-control and daredevil stunts, plus street food, music and pop-up bars in the courtyard for revellers to party with into the wee witching hours.

Magic and Variety Gala Show: 8th July | Festival Theatre | From £24 | Age 5+

This year’s ‘Levitations’ themed Gala Show brings MagicFest to a grand finale at the spectacular Festival Theatre. This two-and-a-half-hour enchantment sees the greatest illusionists and circus acts from around the world defy the laws of gravity and perform visually stunning and dreamlike flights of fancy as they float, fly and soar through the air.

Highlights include French performers Cubic Act and their floating box - which Penn and Teller described as ‘ the best big illusion stage act we’ve ever seen!’ - the master of mystery and suspense Aaron Crow - who captures the audience without uttering a single word - black art illusionists Les Chapeux Blancs, and World Magic Champion Marko Karvo with his dazzling bird act – it has to be seen to be believed!

Secret Room: 3rd – 7th July | Lauriston Castle, Riddle’s Court and The Writers’ Museum £18/£16 conc/£12 child | Age 10+

Following a four-year sell-out run at Lauriston Castle, the hugely popular ‘Secret Room’ expands across the city this summer, bringing the colourful history and untold stories of Edinburgh’s hidden gems to life with magic-filled tours. New venues include Riddle’s Court and The Writers’ Museum, where magicians will take groups of secret-seekers on a magical adventure as they animate the dark past and unsolved mysteries of each with captivating magic. The growth of Secret Room from four to twenty shows comes from a partnership between MagicFest and the Scottish Historic Buildings Trust, Edinburgh Museums and Galleries and Edinburgh World Heritage allowing more people than ever before to experience magic in an innovative way while exploring the historic architecture and cultural heritage of Edinburgh.

From the Dark: 2nd July | Assembly Roxy | £16/14 conc | Age 11+

Juan Esteban Varela invites the curious to experience illusions and the feeling of astonishment while blindfolded in complete darkness, at the UK’s debut of ‘From The Dark.’ Originally designed for the blind after 10 years of research, From the Dark has been adapted so both non-sighted and sighted people can experience this one-of-a-kind show, redefining the definition of disappearance.

Once blindfolded and guided to their seat, the audience are subjected to sensory-stimulation to activate their imagination and emotion and force their judgement to work against them to create deceptions of the mind. This is magic as never ‘seen’ before.

Magic School & Workshops: 4th – 7th July | Quaker Meeting House | £90/18| 7-10

Magic School offers budding young wizards the chance to graduate from the world’s most mysterious school and follow in the footsteps of 1000s of previous students, who are putting their magic skills to good use around the world. Under the supervision of Headmaster Gary James, students will learn, create and perform their own magic tricks during a 5-day course or one-off workshop, with each day focussing on a different area of magic and performance, from levitation to vanishing card tricks, with a graduation ceremony on the final day.

Special Performances and One-Off Events:

David Stone: 1st - 2nd July | Summerhall | £12/£10 conc/£8 child | Age 12+

David Stone is an award-winning crazy French magician specialising in comedy and misdirection. Spectators will be dumbfounded as they watch him multiply objects with the touch of his hand, make champagne bottles appear from thin air and produce glass after glass of water from his sleeve, while somehow stealing the audiences’ jewellery and making it reappear somewhere very unexpected.

Paul Wilson: 1st – 2nd July | Summerhall | £20/18 conc | Age 14+

Internationally acclaimed master of deception and star of BBC’s ‘The Real Hustle’, Paul Wilson, delivers 60 minutes of suspense, mystery and surprise as he shares his most cherished secrets, scams and fantasies with mindreading, conjuring, cons and manipulation.

Morgan & West: 1st - 2nd July | Summerhall | £12/£10 conc/£8 child | Age 7+

Time-travelling duo Morgan & West promise to leave no future unseen and no timeline unaltered as they celebrate their 10th anniversary with a show brimming with baffling magic, their favourite tricks, unparalleled powers and a totally genuine ability to travel through time.

Dave Alnwick: 1st - 2nd July | Summerhall | £12/£10 conc/£8 child | Age 12+

This ‘Ginger Ninja Wizard’ attempts to brainwash his audience with a devastatingly dangerous combination of brilliant mentalism and genius sleight-of-hand stunts. Fresh from two national tours and six consecutive sell-out years at the Edinburgh Fringe, cult magician Dave Alnwick entices his audience into a world of mind trickery and astonishment, meticulously delivered with sublime control and contagious enthusiasm.

Luke Eaton: 1st - 2nd July | Summerhall | £12/£10 conc | Age 14+

A maniac in the disguise of a magician. Those who enjoy horror dare to enter Luke Eaton’s The Horrible Magic Show as he delivers a stomach-churning repertoire of bizarre, disgusting and totally insane magic that will have audience members squirming in their seat or jumping out of it.

- ENDS -

For further information, images and interviews, please contact Gary Anderson at

0131 557 9223/ 07564 444002

Notes to Editors


High res images are available to download here


Online -

By Phone - 0131 226 0006

In person - Fringe Box Office, 180 High Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1QS

There are NO additional booking fees for MagicFest tickets 2017

MagicFair VIP tickets include reserved seating and speedy boarding into theaters, option to pre-book 6 shows (instead of 3), a VIP goody bag with over £30 of special magic gifts, a MagicFest t-shirt and signed post, and an exclusive live show with legendary magician R Paul Wilson.

Social media:

Twitter @magicfest

Facebook @edmagicfest

Instagram @edmagicfest

Sponsors and supporters:

Major Sponsor: Central Car Auctions | Graphic Design Sponsor: Form by Thought | Accommodation Sponsor: G&V Hotels | Charity Sponsor: Kiran’s Trust | Funding Partners: New Arts Sponsorship Grant administered by Arts & Business Scotland, Edinburgh World Heritage | Event Partners: Edinburgh Museums & Galleries, Scottish Historic Building Trust, Summerhall | Media Partner: Families | Supply Partners: Out of Hand, NL Productions

About Edinburgh International Magic Festival:

The Edinburgh International Magic Festival is a not-for-profit organisation founded and managed by husband and wife Kevin and Svetlana McMahon. Since conception in 2010, MagicFest has welcomed over 46,000 visitors and has grown to be the UK’s biggest festival of innovative and cutting-edge magic, has consulted for the National Theatre of Scotland and has broken a Guinness World Record. MagicFest is leading the charge in the newly developing market of Magic Festivals appearing around the world, and aims to be the world leader in programming and producing innovative and cutting edge magic.

Kiran’s Trust

Kiran Martin died at the age of 18 from a brain tumour in 2008. Kiran was one of these very creative, fun loving and magical people you meet every now and then, and she will never be forgotten. Kiran’s Trust was founded on her birthday, 9th October, in 2009, as way of giving thanks for her life and celebrating the creative arts and sports, which she held dear. The Trust recognises this passion in other young people and provides support to help them advance in further education and participation in these areas.

About Arts & Business Scotland Arts & Business Scotland (A&BS) is the national charity dedicated to encouraging new and sustainable arts and business relationships. A&BS helps strengthen communities by developing creative and effective partnerships between business and the arts. The New Arts Sponsorship grants – funded by the Scottish Government and delivered by Arts & Business Scotland – aim to build private sector sponsorship of the arts. The grants provide match funding for new arts sponsors, doubling their sponsorship benefits. The New Arts Sponsorship grants scheme was launched in 2006, funded by the Scottish Government, run by A&BS and administered in partnership with Creative Scotland. Since 2006 over £2.5 million has been invested into the arts by A&BS through the New Arts Sponsorship Grants scheme. This figure has been more than doubled by the participating business sponsors making available over £6 million for arts activity throughout Scotland. Altogether more than 450 new or returning business sponsors have been attracted to the cultural sector under the scheme.

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