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Illusionists For Events

© Andrew Van BurenMany events are ideally suited to using a good illusionist. They provide a talking point that brings your guests together & often breaks the ice with discussion of "how did he do that?". If the audience is still talking about the performer after they have finished performing, which is always the case with a good illusionist, then the audience is still being entertained, which makes great entertainment value for your money.

Most illusionists are purely visual & do not rely on talking, which breaks language barriers, potential of offence & appeals to all age groups, from young to old.
The difference between magician & illusionist. Generally, the magician is a "Close Up Worker" who walks around your guests, performing specifically to the one table at a time, card tricks etc. The Illusionist is bigger scale, working the stage or floor, entertaining the whole room. There are several points to ask & consider when choosing an illusionist.

The first thing you are likely to see is their publicity which can be a very good indicator of the act but also it has been known for the publicity to be better than the act, so I wouldn't recommend booking purely on the strength of a photo. Recommendation can't be beaten. If you hear of an act that has worked for somebody that you know then that is a good point to start. When you contact the illusionist check their credentials. If you find an act that appeals then always talk to them before you book. An agent can advise & book the act but even then it is an idea to talk the technical side with the illusionist.

The title of the act can tell you a lot about its content but also can be misleading. Check the credibility of the often misused term "International Illusionist" Has the illusionist actually worked abroad or is 'international' actually referring to Blackpool? Find out how long the illusionist has actually been working. There is a misconception that being an illusionist simply means pushing swords into a box. This is far from the truth as illusion is one of the hardest styles of performance to do properly. Ask the illusionist where they have worked - theatre, cabaret, cruise ships or television? If they have worked cruise ships (as opposed to ferries) then they should be accomplished, experienced & classy. Have they worked for household name companies or celebrities? Will this particular act fit the venue & be suitable for the guests? Ask if the illusions are themed to be gothic or family entertaining. There are some illusionists that lean towards the macabre, which wouldn't be suitable for a family audience, but then again there are family entertainers that might not be suited to a club audience. Do they work effects that might offend your guests?

Once you have established the illusionist's style, see if they have worked an event similar to yours before. If so, they can bring that experience to your event & even provide advice on how to make the event work from their angle. Do they work on stage or dance floor? If your event is on a stage then is it big enough for the illusionist's props, how much space does the illusionist need to perform? If working the dance floor, can the illusionist work with the audience all around them, including behind? Some can! Discuss space restrictions, this gives the illusionist time to tweak their act with bigger or smaller props. How much storage space does the illusionist need away from the performing area & what kind of access to the performing area do they need? Extras? If you want anything special then discuss it during booking, would you like a product or guest to appear/disappear during the show? Many illusionists can do this & so theme the act closer to your event. Web sites often show the illusionist doing special one offs like this & so looking at their site may give you an idea that would work for you. Finally, give the illusionist plenty of time before the guests arrive to get in & set up. There is nothing worse than an act setting up in front of the guests.

Booking a good illusionist can lift any event to a new high but make sure they are right for you, experienced and that you provide them with sufficient space to do their best for you.

This article was kindly contributed by Illusionist/magician Andrew Van Buren - www.vanburen.org.uk.
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