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Different Types of Magicians

Different types of magicians. It is often easy for us magicians to forget how overwhelming it may be for clients to pick the right type of magician for their event – when there are so many variants of us!

Outlined below are most (although not all) types of magicians, along with a brief synopsis of what they offer – hopefully, this allows you to make an informed decision.

Various disciplines involve: strolling magician, close-up magician, table magician, parlour magician, stage magician, psychological magician, sleight-of-hand magician, illusionist, street magician, comedy magician, tarot card magician, parlour magician, card magician, mind reader, children’s magician, escapologist, pickpocket magician, tech magician, iPad magician, culminating with the modern day virtual magician.

Close Up Magician 

Close up magic magic tricks are performed in close quarters with guests. Often described as a “strolling magician” or “roving magician”, this professional will approach small groups of anywhere between 2 – 8 people to perform short sets.

You may expect to see tricks with cards, coins, rings, phones and people’s minds!

The best close-up magicians should feel like very sociable guests and should not stand out like a sore thumb at your party!

Notable close-up magicians include David Blaine, Gregory Wilson, Fergus Flanagan, and Dynamo.

Table Magician 

A table magician is where a professional magician who performs a short show at each table, interacting with guests between each dish being served.

A great table magician should never perform whilst guests are enjoying their meal, but should instead work in tandem with service to create a magical (apologies for the pun!) atmosphere.

Notable table magicians include Fay Presto and Fergus Flanagan.

Parlor Magician

A parlor magician typically performs a mini-stage show in front of a room of people circa 60 or less.  It is exceptionally well suited to events which require an extra special something to kick off, break up, or even close entertainment at any event with a show that guests will remember for years to come!

My show consists of magic and mind-reading, culminating in incredible moments guests will be excited to share with their friends!

Notable parlor magicians include Steve Cohen, and Fergus Flanagan

Stage Magician

A stage magician performs in front of anywhere from hundreds to thousands of people. A stage show does not necessarily feature “illusions” or people being “sawn in half” – in fact, that couldn’t be further from my vibe!

My stage show – which constantly evolves – has regularly been performed for the world’s biggest corporate companies.

It comprises a fast-paced display of magic and mind reading, culminating with an epic finish which guests will talk about for years to come!

Notable stage magicians include David Copperfield, Lance Burton, and Siegfriend & Roy.

Psychological Magician

A psychological magician performs feats of mind-reading using genuine psychological techniques as well as pseudo-psychological techniques.

This makes it seem like they can read an audience’s mind! This performing style was popularised by the legendary Derren Brown, someone I’ve been fortunate enough to work with for many years.

Notable psychological magicians include the aforementioned Derren Brown, Max Maven, and Fergus Flanagan.

Mind Reader Magician or Mentalist

I think it’s important to say, real mind-reading does not exist – at least I’ve never seen anyone do it. That is not to say a great entertainer won’t make you feel as if they are really reading your mind.

I’ve had scientists, lawyers, and politicians ask “can you really read minds?”.

In a word – “no”.

It is an understandable reaction if you are telling people their pin number, influencing them to make a decision, or even predicting the outcome of the national lottery.

It is worth treading carefully when looking at different types of magicians for your event as some guests can be sensitive to performers pretending they are more than an entertainer!

Notable mentalists include Derren Brown, Fergus Flanagan, the Amazing Dunninger, and Max Maven.

I would also recommend watching “The Mentalist” – an American drama television series starring Simon Baker which ran from 2008 to 2015. It is a lot of fun!

Sleight of Hand Magician 

A sleight-of-hand magician is someone who specialises in dexterity and stunning displays of skill.

This is common with card magicians who give gambling demonstrations and demonstrate routines that are used as “hustles”.

My proverbial arsenal includes tricks such as “chase the ace”, the “cup and ball”, as well as “card tracking” routines which reveal years of studying sleight of hand – also known as wasted youth.

Notable sleight-of-hand magicians include Dan and Dave, Ricky Jay, Derek DelGaudio, and Tony Slydini.

Illusionist

An illusionist typically performs magic with larger props and an entourage of assistants. Of all the different types of magicians, I think this is the one people commonly think of when they hear the word “magician”.

An example of a very common illusion is “sawing the assistant in half” – a trick that is just as popular today as it was during its inception over a century ago.

Other examples include making a helicopter appear, making an assistant levitate, or even making the Statue of Liberty disappear!

Notable illusionists include David Copperfield, Derren Brown, Lance Burton, Young & Strange, and Penn and Teller.

Street Magician 

A street magician garners crowds on the streets and delivers short performances.

However, it has commonly become a term used to describe a specific style of performing that was popularised in the late 90s by American magician, David Blaine. It often centres around performers in casual clothing supposedly creating miracles with everyday items.

It is exactly what got me into magic and although I predominantly perform at corporate events, it is where my style originated. Just check out my showreel to see a street magician in action!

Notable street magicians include David Blaine, Derren Brown, Criss Angel, and Cyril Takayama.

Comedy Magician

This magician uses comedy to enhance their routine.

A great example of this is the late great Tommy Cooper. He was a master of disarming audiences with comedy, only to later sucker punch them with a great moment of magic.

These professionals ideally work best onstage with a captive audience.

Notable magicians with an incredible sense of humour include John Archer, Whit “Pop” Haydn, and Mac King.

Tarot Card Magician 

A tarot card magician uses tarot cards to deliver either silly or serious readings. However, there is an important distinction between a tarot card magician and a tarot card reader.

The first is clearly for entertainment, while the latter is not. It is important to tread carefully when hiring anyone that claims they are using anything beyond scientific explanation.

The popularisation of esoteric tarot began with Antoine Court and Jean-Baptiste Alliette in Paris during the 1780s, using the Tarot of Marseilles.

Card Magician 

It is common to acquire magicians who specialise in card magic. I think this is largely down to the fact that there are so many different types of effects you may achieve with this simple medium.

Whilst I started with cards, and it is an area of magic I love, I think it is important for magicians to offer a variety of tricks to keep audiences engaged.

Not everyone loves card tricks as we do!

Notable card magicians include Dai Vernon, Ed Marlo, S. W. Erdnase, Richard Turner, and John Scarne.

Children’s Magician  

This magician specialises in performing for children’s parties, a highly popular entertainment option in today’s climate.

However, it is not as common service as you might think. It is a misconception that performing magic for children’s shows is easy – it’s not only difficult in terms of getting the material right, but it requires an extreme amount of energy.

I don’t offer a children’s show but I have great recommendations if you would like to reach out.

Notable magicians who specialise in entertaining young audiences include Doug Henning, the Amazing Randi, Mark Wilson, and Richiardi.

Escapologist 

There is a very easy way to tell you what an escapologist does…think Harry Houdini – one of the most famous magicians of all time!

An escapologist will often try to escape under impossible conditions from things such as a straight jacket, ropes, and chains. They may often be hanging upside down, submerged under water or even buried alive!

I, however, do not offer this service. I enjoy my life.

Notable escapologists (excluding the OG – Harry Houdini) include Dorothy Dietrich, Dean Gunnarson, and Jonathan Goodwin.
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Pickpocket 

A pickpocket magician sounds like the type of person you might not want at your event!

We’ve discussed lots of different types of magicians, and whilst not strictly “magic”, a great pickpocket magician can be a lot of fun to have circulate a room. You may expect them to steal watches, wallets, rings, ties and even shirts!

Don’t worry, they do return everything – just make sure you know a bit about the person you are booking!

The most notable pickpocket within the magic industry is Apollo Robbins, who has served as a consultant on major Hollywood productions. He even went as far as to successfully rob President Jimmy Carter’s Secret Service bodyguards during a meeting! The sheer balls on this man are astounding.

iPad Magician 

An iPad magician or tech magician performs a routine which has become increasingly popular in recent years.

This is someone who combines traditional sleight of hand with iPad visuals to create an immersive experience where you are not sure what is real and what is not!

For example, you just might see me pull a business card out of my mobile phone screen!

However if you are looking for a specialist in this type of magic, I recommend my good friend Noel Qualter.

High profile Ipad magicians include Noel Qualter, Simon Pierro, Alexander Yuen, and Rahul Kharbanda.

Virtual Magician | Online Magician | Zoom Magician 

Of all the different types of magicians, this is the most contemporary. Virtual magic was a new medium created in March 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, people quickly realised that magic translates brilliantly to the virtual arena. With more people working remotely, an online magic show via Zoom or other virtual conferring platforms has become immensely popular!

I was fortunate enough for my virtual magic shows to become one of the most established globally. In 2022, I was awarded the Virtual Magician of the Year by The Magic Circle – the highest award going for virtual magicians!

Magicians who have successfully embraced this platform include Fergus Flanagan, Dan White, and Justin Willman.

As you can see, there are 17 different types of magician – much more than most people think! If you need advice on what is best for your event, reach out today via email or phone!