Magic a spellbinding career

ALL TRICKS: Magician Ben Wright helps people believe in magic again.
ALL TRICKS: Magician Ben Wright helps people believe in magic again. John McCutcheon

I BEGAN doing magic tricks when I was about four.

My dad gave me a magic book when I started, but I think it was my papa who got me interested.

He would always have one or two tricks to show me when he came up to visit from Canberra.

When my big brother bought me a magic kit, which had all sorts of little things in it, it really piqued my interest.

I think I was in about Year 7 when I first started doing shows on stage and I probably started performing professionally when I was in Year 10 at Nambour High.

I’m always picking up magic books. If there was a Hogwarts, like in the Harry Potter movies, that would make it a lot easier.

But you pick up a book and there’s often one or two tricks in there you can learn.

Card tricks are my speciality.

I’ve generally got one or two packs of cards on me at any one time.

If I’m sitting around, if I’m having a coffee, I’m usually fooling around with a pack of cards at the same time.

If there’s one trick I’m known for I guess it’s one I call Cough, Cough.

I get someone to choose a card, say the name, and then stuff it back into the deck. Then I cough up the card.

Sometimes you do have tricks that fail. My favourite trick failed one day when I used cards that were too big.

I ended up turning it into a comedy routine and I don’t think the audience knew anything was wrong.

That’s when the performance side of things comes into it.

You can learn magic tricks but learning the performance side of things is more difficult.

You really need to be doing it all the time to keep on the ball. I guess I’ve always been a performer.

I probably do one or two shows a fortnight. There’s not enough work on the Coast to make a living.

I play guitar and sing and I like acting. I’d like to do all sorts of things.

I work part-time making coffee and I’m studying psychology full-time at university, which is probably complementary to my magic.

A good magician knows how to “read” the audience. I don’t believe you can get a “bad” audience.

It’s about reading your audience, knowing what type of audience you’re performing to.

A person who blames the audience for an unsuccessful show should be blaming themselves.

My favourite place to perform is Woodford Folk Festival.

The audiences there are amazing.

But I really like performing for children as well.

It’s really rewarding. When you can make a child smile and laugh for half an hour, it makes you feel pretty good.

Whenever a child asks if there really is such a thing as magic I always say yes.

I think for kids the world is magic.

I think everything in life is magic, and, as you grow up, it becomes normal.

What I like about doing tricks is that you can make people believe in magic again, even if it is for a short time.

– as told to Janine Hill

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