As with other occupations and hobbies, joining an organization that promotes your interest is a great advantage.
You get the opportunity to network with people who share your interests and improve your skills.
With magic, the premier organization is The Magic Circle in the UK and the Society of American Magicians in the USA.
Both groups have international members.
In this article, we will take a detailed look at the Magic Circle.
To summarize how you can join the magic circle, you need to go through the following steps:
- Demonstration Of Skills
- Demonstration Of Knowledge
Table of Contents
What Is The Magic Circle?
The Magic Circle is a prestigious organization for Magicians. It is not a mass membership organization and as you can see from the previous section, it is not just a matter of paying a fee and joining. Potential members have to prove their abilities first before they can join.
This is very different from the main rival, “The Society of American Magicians” where you simply pay your fees and as long as a branch or six individual members do not object, you are in.
So, you can see the Magic Circle is a much more exclusive organization with just 1500 members, among which is Prince Charles.
Members of the Magic Circle are entitled to use the designation M.M.C. after their name.
Membership of the Magic Circle is open to “Competent Magicians” (Amateur or professional) from around the world.
Membership depends on providing support from two existing members who have known you for at least one year.
To join you must attend an interview, demonstrate your skills, and demonstrate a knowledge of the field of magic you wish to enter.
If you get through the interview, you will be invited to arrange a date for your examination (audition), which is based on both your magic and performance skills.
Let’s look at the application process in more detail.
Who Can Join?
Any competent amateur or professional magician from around the world may join
Conditions Of Joining
To join, applicants must be supported by two existing members of the Magic Circle who have both known you for at least one year.
So if you suddenly decided to join the Magic Circle today, unless you are lucky enough to be personally known by two members, then you are going to have to get to know some magicians who are members and indulge in some networking.
A good way to get to know members is to locate a local Magic Club, where there are probably Magic Circle Members.
You first need to go along to an interview with either the Examinations Secretary or his Assistant.
At this interview, you will talk about your experience and the types of magic that you perform.
You will also be asked to demonstrate some of your performance, just to check that you are not wasting your time going to the examination.
Typically, this interview takes place at the Magic Circle HQ in London. However, you may be able to take it online.
After your exam, you will get the opportunity to explore the club and even watch some magic.
If they approve your application you will get an invite to take your examination for admission into the Magic Circle.
The Admission Exam
The exam is in the form of an audition for those that want to perform.
If you have a more academic interest in magic then you have the option of submitting a thesis instead of the audition.
If you go down the audition route then the examiner is going to be studying both your magic ability and your performance skills.
Should you pass the exam your application then goes to the ruling council of the Magic Circle who completes the process by ratifying your membership.
You can see that it is not an easy process and it takes time to complete.
However, this is what gives members of the Magic Circle value. It is not just handed out to anyone who pays the membership.
You have to earn it.
The Inner Magic Circle
Membership, once achieved is not the end and by studying for a further examination it is possible to become an Associate of the Inner Magic Circle, and these individuals may ad A.I.M.C. after their name.
To reach full membership of the Inner Magic Circle, members must be nominated by the Societies President.
This honor is limited to a maximum of 300 people, who can use the designation M.I.M.C. after their name.
The Cost of Joining the Magic Circle
To join the Magic Circle is not cheap.
For a start, there is an initial joining fee of £100 or £50 for youth.
Then on top of that, you need to pay an annual membership fee which will cost between £85 and £200.
The price is different for those living in London, Outside of London, or Overseas.
There are also three age ranges 18-27 years old, 27 to 65 years old, and over 65 years old.
Benefits of Joining the Magic Circle
So, what are the benefits of the membership that you receive after paying your subscription?
Well, first off, you get to use the clubhouse as a member.
The facilities are all there for members to take advantage of it.
The headquarters has club rooms with a bar and refreshments, where you can meet up with other members.
Then, of course, there is the world-famous magic library, where there are over 6,000 books for loan or to refer to.
There is a famous magic museum where you can view posters and magical memorabilia.
Members can also access the Devant room where the latest tricks can be demonstrated and finally, The Magic Circle Theater where performers and lecturers can inspire fellow magicians.
The theater has its own professional technicians and is the perfect venue for magic shows.
Every month all members get a copy of the full-color monthly magic magazine “The Magic Circular” (catchy name).
Even if you cannot come to the Magic Circle HQ, every Monday night lectures are streamed online by top magicians and lots of other educational material is available.
All members get to have a free email address “firstname.lastname@example.org”.
One added perk is that all members are allowed to use M.M.C. after their names.
Other designations are available once you progress.
Finally, we have exclusive website content for members only, private Facebook groups for members.
This is where live streaming takes place, making it an essential destination for magicians.
The Apprentice Scheme
Earlier I explained that you cannot go from zero to a member of the Magic Circle very quickly.
It takes time and study to become proficient enough to pass the entrance exam.
You have to demonstrate that you have the potential to pass the exam in the next two years and if you are over 18, you can enroll as an apprentice.
During their time as an apprentice receive mentorship.
And obviously access to the members you will need to sponsor you for full membership.
You will still need one sponsor to become an apprentice UNLESS you can show enough reasons why you should be allowed without a sponsor.
Fees and your annual subscription is going to be exactly the same as for a full member of the Magic Circle.
Additionally, while members can invite guests to the club for club nights, apprentices are not given this privilege.
Nor can apprentices avail themselves of reciprocal access to the Magic Castle in the USA or describe themselves as members of the Magic Circle.
The Young Magicians Club
Are you a magic fan and under the age of 18 then there is an initiative offered by the Magic Circle, called the “Young Magicians Club?”
Membership of the Young Magicians Club costs £30 per year.
Open to all young people aged between ten and eighteen who want to learn Magic the right way.
The club has a bi-monthly magazine, called “Secrets” which helps young people on their way to becoming competent magicians.
They offer regular hands-on workshops at the London HQ. It is a great way of starting off your magic career.
One young man called Dominic Wood went down this process and now has his own TV show.
What You Get As Part Of Your Membership:
- Membership ID card, certificate, and badge
- Free Magic Trick
- Bi-Monthly Magazine
- Access to a team of magicians to help and advise you
- Admission to practical workshops where members can get to know professionals
- Books, pamphlets, and tricks
- Reduced membership to the Magic Circle when you become 18.
Since membership of the Magic Circle is a lot to do with enhancing your reputation as someone who is a serious magician, winning an award is also going to be of interest, and the Magic Circle has a range of awards that it offers.
- The David Devant Award
- The Maskelyne Award
- The Gold Medal
- The Silver Wand
- The Carlton Award
- JNM Prize
- The Cecil Lyle Award
- The Magic Circle Close-up Magician of the Year
- The Magic Circle Stage Magician of the Year
- The Magic Circle Young Magician of the Year
- The Terry Herbert Award
The History of the Magic Circle
The Magic Circle was launched in 1905 following a London meeting of 23 Magicians, both amateurs and professionals.
The meeting took place in Pindi’s restaurant.
A Magician called Servais Le Roy (a Belgian).
At this meeting, they chose the name “The Magic Circle”.
Originally they had planned to call the club the Martin Charpender Club, named after a recently deceased magician.
The first meeting took place at a venue in Soho, the Green Man Public House, but later relocated to St Georges Hall in Langham Place.
This was an old theater build in 1867. A suave and witty magician called David Devant was the first President of the Magic Circle (They named the Devant Room at the current HQ after him).
The Magic Circular was launched at this time and it has become the longest-running magic magazine in the world.
Like most private clubs, originally the Magic Circle was male-only.
They only started allowing women in 199 which was just seven years before the Magic Circle HQ in Euston was purchased.
The HQ is not open for off-the-cuff visits, appointments are necessary or ticket purchased for one of the public performances.
The Magic Circle is just a two minutes stroll from Euston Square Station or a five minutes jaunt from Warren Street.
The Magic Circle is located at: The Centre for the Magic Arts, 12 Stephenson Way, Euston, London, NW1 2HD
Alternative Groups Magicians
The Magic Circle is not the only group for magicians in the world.
Let’s briefly check the other two groups that you can join as well.
The Society of American Magicians
The Society of American Magicians is very similar to the Magic Circle.
It is the oldest Magician’s organization in the world.
It was created in New York in 1902, just three years before the Magic Circle.
It has members both in the USA and World-wide.
Houdini, Blackstone, David Copperfield, and Lance Burton are/were all members of the Association.
Houdini was one of the earlier members, joining in 1903. In 1917 Houdini was elected National President of SAM, a position he held until his death.
The standard annual membership fee is $79. (Website)
Academy of Magical Arts
Another American Magical Organization, this time in Hollywood is to be found at “The Magic Castle”, which is often described as a country club for magic.
The club enforced a strict dress code and very careful about who is admitted.
The organization opened the magic Castle in 1963 and entry is for members and guests only.
The Academy was formed in 1952 and like its counterpart in London, Members have to audition to gain membership.
The organization had deemed that it would collapse prior to the opening of the clubhouse, with just 50 members, but it has had a resurgence and now boasts 5,000 members worldwide.
Learn Magic Tricks!
Before joining the Magic Circle, you need to know how to perform various magic tricks.
If you have a hard time finding the right online resources, I put together lists of the best YouTube channels and websites where you can learn magic:
I have tried to cover as much about the Magic Circle as I can.
The Magic Circle is a wondrous place to visit on one of its open evenings and some of the shows performed there are examples of the best magic shows you will see anywhere.
In conjunction with its two North American Rivals, the Magic Circle has done much to promote the art of Magic globally.