Magic 101

The Different Types of Performance Magic …

Close Up Magic

Close up magic is where your magical entertainer will mix and mingle with your guests performing intimate, one to one miracles. Working with small props like cards, coins, balls, etc. they will work magic right in your audience’s hands. Most effective during cocktails and event arrival, going from table to table during dinner, and strolling amidst your guests during larger cocktail welcome parties and hospitality suites.

They may be attired in business suite, formal dress or character costume such as “Western Gambler” or “Phantom of the Opera” to name a few. Can also be added with other specialty entertainment such as palm and tarot readers, caricaturists, and background special effects/magic decor for larger events.

An important element to consider in selecting a close up artist is that they can “relate” with your audience! Your guests should be able to feel at home with the performer, as if they were one of your own!

Main Platform

Main platform is where a formal show is presented to your entire audience on a small raised stage which is usually constructed out of standard 4′ x 8′ platform risers, hence the name. From a sight point of view, and because of the size of the props used it is most effective with audiences ranging from 50 to 200 in number.

The show typically follows coffee and dessert, although some variations of it can be intermixed with the dinner service. It also works quite effectively with award presentations and MC duties. The most effective types of magic here are audience interactive, comedy magic and magical keynotes!

Grand Illusion

This is the large show with the full cast. The magician with one or two assistants, performing grand illusions just like on TV! The technical term “illusion” in magic is the act of doing magic with large props, animals and people. Making a car appear, turning a dancer into a live tiger, floating someone in thin air, making an award presenter magically appear, these are all illusions.

Because of the size of the magic done, grand illusion visually can appeal to larger sized audiences – 100 – 1,000 – even 10,000 plus. These shows will range in length from 30 to 90 minutes and usually features choreographed and themed illusions intermixed with larger audience participation magic.

As well, because of the ability to work with almost any props, products or people, it is very effective for award shows, product launches and convention/conference entertainment.


This is magic of the mind. Here the magician works with the audience using their thoughts as the props. They read minds, look into the future, mentally move objects and divine information usually only known to the audience themselves. In some variations one magician is blindfolded and the other magician holds audience objects – their origin and significant information is then mentally transmitted from one performer to another. For the right audience this can be very powerful and entertaining!


This is a related magical entertainment form which, for the right audience, cannot be beat. Highly interactive! Audience members are randomly selected and brought on-stage to become the stars of the show. Through the power of suggestion they are induced into a level of higher relaxation where their inhibitions are reduced. In this trance like stage they can perform some of the most hilarious presentations you have ever seen. Hypnotist performance styles vary from the theatrical to comedic.

Comedy Magic

The proliferation of comedy clubs has lead to quite a resurgence of comedy magic. As an alternative to a stand up comic, comedy magic is just what the name implies “a stand up comedy act with magic as the main focus.” Extremely audience interactive, the acts are of two different types.

One is where the act is more of a comedian in presentation. Here the stand up monologue is more prevalent than the actual magic and audience participation used. The other approach is more focused on audience participation. The comedy here is a result of the situation humour that develops with the audience members coming on stage and the magic that results.

Both are more of a casual nature in performance and work well with minimal staging and production elements. However another “newer alternative” to the standard comedy magic is the audience interactive, motivating magic.

Motivating Magic

Motivating Magic is where a specific concept, theme or idea is interwoven within a special presentation which is a combination of keynote and magical show. Performed in a main platform format, it can be highly audience interactive, informative, funny, relevant, entertaining and powerful all at the same time. Specific concepts can range from personal development to business messages. An ideal presentation when a formal speech is too much and only a show is not enough.

These performance styles can also be creatively customized to include presentation pieces for…



Trade Shows

Staff Recognition

Product Launches

Client Appreciation

Special Promotions

Executive Special Effects

Catalogue Introductions

Some advice on Stage Requirements

Most hotel or convention centre standard stages are 4 x 8 feet wide and range in height increments from 6 inches to 3 feet, and they are either smooth topped or carpeted. While different speakers, shows and performers will have there own individual designs and preferences, the never altering concern is always the same, “safety and the best view possible.”

Make sure your presentations are always elevated above your audience – be sure your audience can see what is happening. NOTE: The average eye sight level of someone sitting in a chair is 4 feet from the ground, adjust your stage accordingly. How many times have you been able to hear and NOT see what was happening?

As well make sure the audience is as close as possible to the performance and the presenter!

Imagine a stage at one end of the room, a long wide dance floor and then the audience at the other end. Talk about barriers! Would you try to carry on a very important conversation with someone standing 50 feet away from you? Of course not. We all know no set up is perfect, but if you have a problem or need advice give us a call – it will not cost you anything and our experience could add value to your event!


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