Small Show :: School Arts Festival

Sep 1, 2007
Leicester, UK
Hey guys,

So in two weeks time my old school is having an Arts Festival for 2 weeks and myself and a friend have been asked to perform some magic for the students during the first week.

We will have our own room which we can decorate and set out almost as we like and we will be taking groups of about 15-18 students for half an hour before they swap with another group to do plate-spinning. Myself and my friend will split the half hour between us so he performs for 15 minutes and I perform for the other 15.

The students themselves range from 12/13-15/16 and will be accompanied by a teacher as well.

With that in mind, I thought I'd come to you guys and get some ideas of what to perform for the students, we will have a table and cloth so sit-down or stand-up magic is fine. :) I have a few ideas in mind but I wanna see what you guys come up with.

Many thanks,
- Sean
Aug 31, 2007
Long Island/New York
The Snap Deal works wonders as well as any other trick by Lennart. Sounds like a nice venue.

That's not a great idea. It takes a long time to perfect the snap deal and we don't know if he has anything by Lennart Green.

You can do pretty much anything with that audience.
Predictions, card magic, (borrow)money magic, rope, depending how many kids cups and balls is possible.
I'm not sure what material you own, so I can't really name specific effects.

If you're looking to purchase and some how learn in time for the show (good luck), I'd go with Max Maven's "Nothing" dvd.
Psychokinetic silverware and Psi Series by Banachek as well.

You really don't have anything to limit with your crowd.
Hope I helped and if I didn't, then my post was a waste of time.
Thanks a lot jerk! :p
Oct 17, 2007
Aussie NSW
Have you seen the L&L crowd?

Is it being set out like that?

People Love Sam The Bellhop
Rope Routines
Stuff Borrowing Objects.

Try some of that lovely stuff that i know you know.

You know what your doing man i'm sure you will have no problem entertaining with whatever tricks you choose:D

Jan 28, 2009
Belgium, Antwerp


what I would do is let the kids lauch whit there teacher, I would do this whit a 10 card poker deal or a do as I do routine like crossed.

but don't do it to much cous He/she may start to feel bad or the kids might feel left out.

or you could do nest of boxes by tommy wonder whit the teachers watch (if you know how to) if you don't, its on tommy wonders visions of wonder vol 3.

Apr 27, 2008
Raffy turtle,

I'd go for something along the lines of a book test, or some other easy going mentalism - predictions. Try, maybe, having someone sit on top of a huge card, then pass the deck along the room, try forcing that prediction.


Duhm duhm duh!

You could add a cards across, a lá Bill Malone - where you have someone sit under ten cards, someone else sits over ten cards, then someone names a number and that number of cards goes from one person to the other ;)

I have a few methods I've thought up if you'd like to hear them - but as mini magician said, L&L is a definitive go-to source ;)

Jun 22, 2009
Do a Matrix routine and a card color change routine those effects will smack the kids in the face.
Sep 1, 2007
Leicester, UK
Actually some good suggestions here, much better than what I was expecting to be honest. I don't suppose many more replies will come, but I will give it until tomorrow to see if anymore suggestions are made; then I will explain. :)

For those of you who have suggested things, please, I would love to hear the kind of patter you would use.

- Sean
Mar 6, 2008
A Land Down Under
I would try to do something that has, even very loosely an underlying theme of education. That way you can keep the teachers happy as well.

15 minutes is perfect to do a memory demonstration, and that way you can play it off as a genuine skill rather than a simple magic trick.
May 13, 2008
St Albans, UK
That's not a great idea. It takes a long time to perfect the snap deal and we don't know if he has anything by Lennart Green.

So what? I'm just throwing it out there.

Also you could perform some sort of Marlo/Earl gambling demo thing, plenty of patter ideas online but it depends if you wanna go down that route.
Sep 1, 2007
Leicester, UK
Well, this sure has not gotten quite the response I would've liked to see, it's always nice to see what other peoples thinking is. Ah well, the response garnered was intriguing none the less :D Thanks guys for responding.

The truth is I have actually already done the shows, why did I say I hadn't, well I didn't want it to seem like a challenge to see whether you could come up with a 'better' routine. But also for another reason, to see how many would suggest learning new material with such a short timeframe to get to comfortable performance standard.

I really enjoyed what some of you guys suggested, and if I could go back and do it again (hopefully the school will put the arts festival on again and I'll be invited back, but let's not hope for too much) then I would certainly consider what some of you suggested.


However, here is the following of what I actually did. The school was a Catholic school and a gambling demonstration was out of the question unfortunately!

Being as I only had 15 minutes, I planned a 3 effect mentalism routine consisting of:

Prior Commitment - Simon Aronson
Radar Deck - Richard Osterlind
Diplopia (variant) - Paul Vigil

I had timed these in my own time at home and it came to around 15 minutes, slightly over in fact, which was fine. I was a happy bunny... However, I learned something very quickly after the first show, there simply was not enough time to do these effects justice and have fun at the same time. I just hadn't accounted for the by-play with the spectators, little mis-haps here and there...

How did I adapt this for the next shows? Simple, I just did one effect per show with a preface that would lead nicely into what I do in magic. I won't explain my patter/running for all, but rather my favourite. :)


After my friend had finished his routine of being a student Sleight of Hand, he introduced me as the student of Sleight of Mind.

I started by having everyone stand up to try a group experiment, including the teacher; there's nothing like group participation. I proceeded to write something secret on a small whiteboard and then took them through a process wherein by they would construct a playing card in their mind, bit by bit.

(A lot of you will recognise this as a psychological force - though, I'd prefer to call it a psychological nudge-in-the-right-direction)

Once everyone had constructed a playing card, I started whittling down the group, narrowing down the parameters of the card I'd written down on the whiteboard, a red card... a card above five...

Usually there would be about 3-5 people left standing, in some cases only 1 and in some cases unfortunately none at all (but this was fine). I revealed the card as the 7 of Hearts. If the 'force' hit, then obviously reactions would be very well received and all was well and leaded into my passion for influence. If the force didn't hit, it was the case that people picked up on different bits of the card, a lot would have thought of 7 and most will have got the heart. The trouble with this I found was how to turn that from something which is possible through chance and turn it into an effect that gives me some credibility... How, by briefly explaining the 'force' and running back through what I did. Now, not only does this give me credibility, but it raises interest into what else I can do, they want to see more, if that makes sense.

So, then I moved into Aronson's incredible effect Prior Commitment, those of you who know and perform it will know how awesome this effect is. Briefly:

- I would be genuinely blindfolded
- 2 Spectators would cut into the deck and show the cards they cut to
- They replace the cuts and make sure the deck is square
- Only then am I allowed to see
- I spread the deck to reveal 2 face-up jokers! What a climax, right?!
- I remove the jokers and attempt to get impressions of where their cards are in the deck i.e. where they cut to.

I count down to the 2 positions, 18 and 43 isolating the cards at those positions and recap the impossible conditions for me to know where their cards could be. They name their cards and I reveal their freely chosen cards at those positions, an absolute miracle :D

But... And I remind them, my true interest is influence... So I reveal that all along I'd hoped they'd cut those cards at 18 and 43, how can I prove this... By showing that on the back of the Jokers, one for each spectator are written in permanent pen 18 and 43. This visual interrupt to an already impressive effect is a nice addition that leads to a nice 2-climax effect.

How were they influenced? I explain to them that from the very moment they walked into the room they were influenced, I ask one of the spectators to look to a calendar on the wall, there is a large black mark in one of the dates the 18th and the other spectator and the whole audience to look at the classroom's white board where the date is 43rd of June; madness.


All this, leads to a comfortable round of applause for both myself and my friend and also sometimes left time for them to ask questions about our magic. A lot of the questions were how long we'd been doing it and many of them came back at lunchtime to see if we would perform some more magic for them. A successful week in my opinion. :)

If any of you guys have any questions, suggestions or hatred about how I've disgraced the art somehow, feel free to post.

I leave you with a picture of myself performing Prior Commitment and you can see the kind of backdrop we had, pertaining to the 'Art'/Background of magic, something a little different which, I feel made the whole thing more intriguing.

Click Me to see Sean looking ridiculous

Thanks for reading such a long-winded post!

- Sean
Aug 31, 2007
Long Island/New York
Very clever Sean.
I don't know why, but every time I think of someone doing a show at school or any stage, Mentalism (Mental magic, whatever you'd like to call it) just doesn't come to mind. For some reason I just think about the visual magic.

I think you did a great job routining with those 3 effects. How did the radar deck and Diplopia work out for you?
I wanna hear more.

In the beginning of your show, if you feel like your effects are taking a little longer than you'd expect and you have a set time limit, cut the middle effect/s out and go onto your finale. No shame in that. It will just give you more time on your finale to really play it up.;)

Nice job though Sean, and make sure you write about the rest of your performance. Did anything go wrong except for the whole time thing?
I love performance stories, the bad and the good!
Keep up the good work.
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