The MMF is run by the Australian Institute of Magic (AIM) and they host a juniors program that encourages young people under the age of 18 to develop their skills in the magical arts, and to learn from magical mentors. During the MMF, the AIM Juniors in the program have the chance to perform a short magic piece in front of a public audience. In the past I haven’t come along to this, however magic will be a dying art if young people don’t take it up and continue to learn the skills so I decided to attend this year.
The AIM Juniors show was hosted by magician Josh Staley (who has 3 shows on during this year’s magic festival). Josh opened the show with a short magic piece before introducing the first of three juniors to perform their short pieces of magic. The audience was treated to magic with rope, interesting looking props and even some predictions. One thing stood out to me when watching all the juniors – they all had impressive stage presence. They all moved around the stage with ease, and were relaxed when talking with or obtaining help from audience members. The youngest junior presenting magic was 11 years old, and I felt they had performance and stage technique well beyond their years (at 11 years old I would have been mortified to help out a magician on stage let alone hold stage time by myself!).
A particular highlight was the current Australian Junior Champion of Stage Magic – Prue Spencer – treating the audience to a set of rope magic. Prue is total delight to watch, so if you ever get the chance to see her magic then do go along and see her! Her snappy comedy lines makes her magic routines even more entertaining, and I always have a wide smile on my face when I watch her performances. Prue is definitely a young magician to keep your eyes on – she’ll be going places in the future!
It’s so important to nurture art forms (especially magic) in young people, so I applaud both the AIM and Josh Staley for their efforts in mentoring young magicians and ensuring they have the stage time that they clearly deserve.