What is the MAGIC CIRCLE & should the magician you hire for YOUR wedding be a member?
The purpose of this blog, like all of my blogs, is to attempt to answer the questions of the people who book me. This is one of the questions that I am occasionally asked so I wanted to provide a slightly more detailed response to direct people to, if they are interested. I genuinely try to be as objective as possible in all of my blogs because I care that the information is accurate and helpful to my potential customers. I believe that it is important to be truthful so offer my opinions on these issues but they are MY opinions, so I guess a small amount of bias is inevitable.
I wish to make absolutely clear at the outset that I believe the Magic Circle do a great job of promoting magic, that it is, in my opinion, ‘THE’ premier magic organisation in the world and that there definitely are members who are incredible magicians. I have many friends and colleagues that are members but I am not a member currently, through my own choice (more on why later).
So what is the Magic Circle?
The Magic Circle in London simply has to be considered the most prestigious of its type in the world. Founded in 1905, the club boats 1500 members worldwide! In 2019, its purpose built headquarters are based in Euston (London) and its amazing history is just a few clicks away on its own website (I urge you to take a look) and the internet in general.
“Indocilis Privata Loqui" is the Latin that appears on the organisations badge . The Latin is roughly translated to mean “not apt to disclose secrets” which (despite the existence of YouTube and various other forms of online publishing) is fundamental to the existence of the magic I know and love. With this firmly in mind, do not expect this blog to contain secrets of any kind! It will however contain my opinions on a number of key questions you should definitely consider when hiring a magician in Cardiff, or magicians in South Wales, Bristol, Bath, London or New York!
The Magic Circle has a wonderful library, is a great venue for events and offers magicians the opportunity to watch lectures from other magicians. It is a place where magicians can socialise, work on ideas and get support from their peers. Magic Circle members also get (I believe) a monthly publication. I am certain there will be other things the organisation provide that I have not noted here so please do not consider this in any way an exhaustive description/list.
What is the joining process?
In the interests of accuracy, the joining process can be seen on the Magic Circle website by clicking here.
The process of joining the Magic Circle is, in fairness, far more robust than joining most magic clubs/societies. It has a number of steps to try and ensure that any potential members are both suitable and have the knowledge/skills to be a member . The stages are
1) Apply - with recommendations from other magicians that are members
3) Audition or Thesis submission
Levels of Magic Circle Membership
When considering if someone should book a magician that is a Magic Circle member. It is of paramount importance that you realise there are different levels of membership and that these levels are an indicator of how skilled/knowledgeable the magician is. (How good an indicator it is and its relevance to whether you should book them as your wedding entertainment is discussed later in this blog)
Based upon a variety of factors, including skill and ability, a magician can achieve different levels of membership. An outline of these can be seen by clicking here but it is not completely accurate, I believe there are some subsections to the membership levels i.e Member of the Inner Circle silver star, Gold star etc
It would seem reasonable to assume that the higher the level/membership of the magician, the better they are right?! The answer is not a definitive yes, I am not even sure this is the case because there is a lot more to being 'better' than technical ability.
In my experience, magicians who are members of the 'Inner Magic Circle' often publicise this but if you see a magician claiming to be a member, you should definitely ask them what kind of member they are or simply check it out by clicking here. This database shows all of the current members and their level of membership.
Magic Circle membership
Starting/Initial membership - M.M.C Member of the Magic Circle
Highest level achievable by examination -A.I.M.C - Associate Member of the Inner Magic Circle
- Associate Member of the Inner Magic Circle Silver Star
Member of the Inner Magic Circle M.I.M.C. The pinnacle of membership. This level is limited to only 300 members worldwide. The only way to attain this levelis by invitation of the President. Those performers who the president considers to be of exceptional ability will be awarded this level “with Gold Star”. M.I.M.C. can also be attained through other means such as services to magic or to The Magic Circle itself but these people do not receive the “Gold Star” addition.
M.I.M.C - Member of the Inner Magic Circle
- Member of the Inner Magic Circle Gold Star
Does the Magic Circle itself guarantee quality?
This question is specifically about whether the Magic Circle guarantee the quality of its members when booked as a wedding magician in Bridgend, corporate magician in Bath etc. I personally believe that it is a fair question to ask because I have seen many magicians advertising that;-
a) people should both book them because they are Magic Circle members
b) People should only book Magic Circle members
When i started writing this blog, I genuinely did not know the answer to this question, despite spending some time researching the Magic Circle, so I decided to ask! I wrote to them on three separate occasions for their views and they did not respond. This could, in fairness, be due to a number of reasons. They could have issues with their email/form submission online, want to take more time to respond fully (if this is the case it would be helpful if they let me know) or it may be because they actually do not guarantee quality and if this is the case, maybe their members should not be making these claims.
Performing an audition v performing for uncle Fred at your wedding
Performing for other magicians at an audition is very different to performing at wedding! I have experience of both and they are worlds apart!
It is true that at magic auditions the magician has usually been practising (always a good idea) to ensure they are technically proficient but magic, particularly at weddings is about far more that technical ability. Lets briefly examine the differences....
The magic audition
When you audition to join a magic club/organisation/society you are getting judged by other magicians. These magicians are usually supportive, encouraging, helpful and want you to succeed. You have their full attention! The key thing about an audition for most magic clubs (including the Magic Circle) is that they are judging whether you are GOOD ENOUGH/MEET THE MINIMUM STANDARD to join them. I would suggest this is not the criteria you should adopt when organising your wedding!!
The wedding Magician
Wedding magic is about how the wedding magician interacts with your guests (of all ages), how professional the magician is and the manner in which the magician presents the performance; this is the experience YOUR wedding guests will remember.
A good wedding magician will understand that your wedding guests attention has to be earned and accepts that not everyone will want them to succeed (we all have those family members that can be awkward right?). For professional wedding magicians, this is not a problem! Speaking from experience, I actually enjoy performing for the more challenging of guests and it is those that usually leave me the best reviews.
Magic Circle Members do not HAVE TO PERFORM MAGIC to become a member!
If you take a closer look at the interview section of the Magic Circle's website, you will see that magicians DO NOT HAVE TO PERFORM MAGIC TO GAIN ENTRY! If they are more interested in the theoretical aspect of magic they can submit a thesis on a subject and gain entry that way. I personally love the theory of magic but would urge caution if you are booking a magician for your wedding under these condition's. I am certain your in-laws would rather witness some magic than have a conversation about the finer points of magical theory.
SO IN SUMMARY......
Let us look at the question the blog asks, which is whether or not the magician you hire should be in the Magic Circle. The following points to remember are;-
1) The Magic Circle do not seem to guarantee the quality of its members in relation to their ability to perform at YOUR wedding or event.
2) You DO NOT actually have to perform magic to get into/become a member of the Magic Circle
3) There is a massive difference between performing at an audition for magicians and at a wedding for non-magicians
At the conclusion of this blog I believe there is only one answer to the proposed question of 'should you hire a Magic Circle magician for your wedding' and that is NEVER ......... if that is the only reason you are booking them! You should be booking a magician based on a number of factors which include how good their magic is, the type pf person they are, whether they seem professional etc etc;
Please do not get me wrong, I have consistently stated in this blog that many Magic Circle members are excellent magicians (in my opinion) but anyone saying or advertising that you should book Magic Circle magicians has a lot to answer for , which hopefully this blog shows!
Why I am not a member at the moment and is it just 'sour grapes'?
Absolutely not, although I suspect many may say it is. For me, at the moment, being a Magic Circle member is neither important, necessary or even something I want to do/achieve. I do admit that this may change in the future.
What I do offer?
I believe I offer a mixture of magic and mind reading that is unique to me, meaning you will not see other people perform the things I do, in the way that I do it. If you have ideas or questions, please feel free to contact me