Magicana is a performing arts organization dedicated to the exploration of magic as a performing art.
It produces shows, stages conferences and workshops, publishes books and a quarterly journal, and mounts online exhibitions related to magicians, past and present, and their craft. Most of all, it shares wonder.
I founded Magicana in 2001, along with Patrick Watson and Daniel Zuckerbrot, creating perhaps the world’s first independent magic-related performing arts organization that produces work primarily for the public. I was inspired originally by organizations like the Shaw Festival and the Stratford Festival, and thought that, given our background in business, law, magic, collecting, producing and publishing, we could get this organization off the ground.
Magicana is a not-for-profit organization and a registered charity. It is funded primarily by donations and gifts from private foundations, and from revenue from productions and publications. I serve as its Artistic Director on a pro bono basis. My job is to envision and curate the types of projects that Magicana, and its fulltime staff, produce. I am also on hand to work with the staff, the board of directors, and the donors to make it all possible.
I am particularly proud of Magicana’s community outreach programs: My Magic Hands and Senior Sorcery. My Magic Hands is an 8-week program for disadvantaged children, and those in hospitals, designed to build self-esteem, self-confidence, physical dexterity and creativity, all through the guise of learning and performing magic tricks. Funded originally by the Ontario Trillium Foundation, the program – now in it’s 10th year – continues because of the generous funding of the Slaight Family Foundation.
The notion for Senior Sorcery, bringing magic shows to immobile seniors in retirement homes was inspired by the community work of my late friend, the actor, comedian and troubadour, Tom Kneebone. Magic, I thought, was the perfect vehicle to bring the young and the old together, creating an intergenerational opportunity where ideas and energy could be exchanged freely.
Magicana does good work.