‘I pulled a rabbit from the hat by working my magic online’

Ryan Davidson's sold out show The Wonder Room had to be cancelled as the country entered lockdown.

‘I pulled a rabbit from the hat by working my magic online’ Ryan Davidson

With tickets for his one-man tour selling out in just six hours this time last year, 2020 was looking like a big one for Ryan Davidson.

But like so many throughout the country, the Glasgow magician’s plans were brought to a swift halt when lockdown was introduced. 

With no time to waste, he had to think of alternative ways to take his talents to the public and, in a theme that will be familiar to many, he found himself working his magic online.

He wrote and starred in his first virtual show Mirror Mirror in May and has been performing online corporate shows.

The shows have been a success, with Ryan also appearing at the Edinburgh International Magic Festival, which was held online for the first time, but he admits it hasn’t been without difficulties. 

He said: “It was weird being in my studio at home performing for my camera and an iPad screen and you can’t see or hear any reactions. 

“My shows usually thrive off the intimacy and immersive nature of them. This was totally different. It has taken me a long time to adapt and find what works and what doesn’t.”

Despite having no immediate plans to perform before live crowds, he has kept working to improve his one-man show The Wonder Room and has developed an interactive private show “for one screen only”.

He explained: “I wanted to capture that intimacy of my live shows in a virtual format. This is just me and one other household on screen.

“It’s nice and relaxed and because it’s just us, people feel far more comfortable than having another 50-100 people on screen watching when they’re taking part.

“I send a secret package in the post that they open during the show. 

“This builds the excitement, but more importantly it allows them to take part at home. It makes the show more interactive, some of the show happens in their own house, in their own hands. There’s a memento of the show that they can keep too.

“I miss performing for a live audience but I think audiences miss it too. There’s still demand for live entertainment; something that connects people and takes them away from social media or Netflix for an hour.

“People still want to celebrate birthdays and anniversaries, so this kind of show has been very well received when people have booked it.”

He has also spent lockdown planning a new book for magicians that he is hoping to publish early next year.

And despite seeing how lockdown has affected many in the arts, the 35-year-old has found inspiration in the many ways people have worked around it.

He said: “It’s been a difficult time for people in the arts. All of my friends in the entertainment industry have been hit hard and, like many others, have had very little financial support. 

“It’s been inspiring to see so many people think outside the box and adapt their work and their craft to share it with virtual audiences online.

“The most important thing for people is keeping safe and looking after themselves. It’s been tough. If artists like me can break the monotony and offer something a little different to look forward to and take their minds off things, then it keeps us all smiling I suppose.”

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