The Magic Circle is well-known not just amongst magicians, but also to the general public. When I’m out performing magic at events, people frequently ask questions about the famous magicians’ society.
“How do you join The Magic Circle?” is a common one, so I’ll answer that in this post, as well as giving you a sneaky peek behind its mysterious doors.
What is the magic circle?
The Magic Circle is a members’ society for magicians. It was founded in 1905 by 23 magicians in a restaurant in Soho and has since grown to become one of the most prestigious magic clubs in the world with around 1500 members. The club is now headquartered at a lovely venue near Euston, which hosts both club nights for members and shows for the public.
There’s also The Young Magicians Clubs for under 18s, which became very popular in the early 2000s due to the release of the first Harry Potter movie.
Many famous magicians including David Copperfield and Dynamo are members, but it’s less well-known that Stephen Fry and Prince Charles are too!
becoming a member: basic requirements
There are a few basic requirements to fulfil before you start dusting off your magic wand and filling in your application form:
- You must be over 18*
- You must be a competent magician (you don’t have to be a working professional, many members are great amateurs!)
- Two existing members who’ve known you for at least 2 years must sign off your application
That’s just the beginning. The next step is an interview at The Magic Circle HQ in Euston.
*Under 18’s should take a look at The Young Magicians Club
The interview is with The Examinations Secretary, and is an informal chat about your interest and experience performing magic. As well as being asked questions, you may be asked to perform a trick or two. It’s mainly to ensure you’re at the right level so that you don’t embarrass yourself too much at the audition!
The examination is in the form of a short performance or audition in front of a bunch of members. This was genuinely the most terrifying 10 minutes I’ve had to endure in my magic career. Imagine performing in front of a bunch of professionals while they watch and critique what you do!
Three members of The Magic Circle council mark your performance on technical ability and entertainment value. If you pass, you’ll be recommended for membership to the council. As long as nobody raises at a concern at that stage, you’re in.
In recent years, they’ve also started an Apprenticeship scheme for magicians who are note quite yet at the grade for full membership, but have the potential to do so. Apprentices benefit from mentorship and support from experienced members in the lead up to taking their examination. Almost like a real-life Hogwarts!
What happens at The Magic Circle?
We sit around and cast spells and discuss incantations of course! Well, sort of. In reality it’s very much like many other members’ societies. There’s a licensed bar where members chat and have a drink, as well as trying to fool each other with their latest card tricks. There’s a theatre where shows, competitions and lectures take place. Finally, there’s a museum, and a library which holds a wonderful selection of over 6000 magic books, many of which are out of print.
There are a bunch of public events through the year at The Club, so if you want to have a look behind the secretive door, book yourself tickets for a show.