The Magic Circle is a funny subject. A lot of people know it exists, but very few know what it is! It’s a conversation I have with people on an almost daily basis, so I figured I would tell you a little bit more! I’ve used a little help from Wikipedia to give you some of the key information.
What is The Magic Circle?
The Magic Circle was founded in 1905 after a meeting of 23 amateur and professional magicians at London’s Pinoli’s Restaurant. At this founders meeting, chaired by Servais Le Roy, those present decided upon the name of the Society: it was initially felt that the name of the Society should be the Martin Chapender Club, in memory of the performer and founding member who had recently died at the age of twenty-five. However, it was finally agreed that the name “Magic Circle”, which shares the same initials as those of Martin Chapender, would be more appropriate.
The first official meeting was at the Green Man public house in Soho, but meetings were later in a room at St George’s Hall in Langham Place, where David Devant and John Nevil Maskelyne were regularly seen performing.
Devant became the first president of The Magic Circle, and in 1906, Maskelyne edited the first issue of The Magic Circular magazine, a regular feature for members ever since. The Magic Circular claims to be the longest-running regular magic magazine in conjuring history.
The motto of the society is the Latin “indocilis privata loqui”, roughly translated as “not apt to disclose secrets”; members give their word not to willfully disclose magic secrets other than to bona fide students of magic. Anyone breaking this or any other rule may be expelled.
Magicians who wish to join may spend up to two years as an Apprentice before applying for full membership. They need to have known two current members for at least one year and must be at least 18 years old. These two members are then asked to act as sponsors, or referees, on the candidate’s application form and propose them as a suitable candidate for membership. Following the receipt and processing of the application, the candidate is invited to an interview with the examinations secretary, usually at the London headquarters. If the candidate proves suitable and sufficiently knowledgeable a performance exam is scheduled or a thesis may be written. The exam takes place in front of a panel of judges, and candidates must demonstrate their skills to members in a rehearsed act.
So, why is The Magic Circle significant?
This is how I describe it to people in basic terms – The Magic Circle and it’s membership is the magicians equivalent of a Plumber being CORGI registered. It’s a guarantee of excellence and skill within the industry. That means if you come across a member of The Magic Circle, they have met the stringent criteria required to become a member. They have proved a dedication to the art, and have perfected their skills and knowledge. It also means that if you hire a Magic Circle magician for your event, they are of high quality and will be a great and skilled performer.
I’m extremely proud to be a member of The Magic Circle, and have been since the day I joined in 2008!
Until next time!