Radlett man on a magical African journey

AN AWARD-WINNING magician from Radlett is flying to South Africa this week as part of the 30th anniversary celebrations of a unique educational project.

Jon Allen, 44, of Woodfield Road, has been invited to The College of Magic in Cape Town, South Africa, the only school of its kind. During the two-day event, on Saturday and Sunday, the father of two will deliver lectures and workshops to share his expertise in the magical arts with privileged onlookers.

The College of Magic is a volunteer-run project which helps individuals to develop their self-esteem and confidence through performing arts training. Jon believes, “magic helps to build up your confidence.” He added: “It’s vital to teach them the skills to perform; it’s not just about the tricks.”

The college helps to bring together students from different backgrounds, particularly the marginalised groups in society such as the aged and financially struggling. Founded in 1980, with just 34 students, The College of Magic has gone from strength to strength and today there are more than 160 pupils in attendance.

“I am excited about the project.” commented Jon. “This is something a bit different and it’s a worthwhile cause. I think the impact of what I can do will not be short term. Giving someone confidence lasts for life.”

Jon has been involved in local charity events too; most recently he gave a performance to assist children at the Radlett Reform Synagogue to raise money for a trip to the USA. He said: “I always try to help out with charitable projects.”

Passionate about magic from a young age, Jon’s sessions in South Africa will encourage students to create and improve their own material. And as a well-respected member of the magical community, he is well-qualified to do so – he has been awarded first prizes for close-up magic by both the International Brotherhood of Magicians and The Magic Circle.

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South Africa is a country he has not visited before but he is looking forward to it: “South Africa is somewhere I’ve always wanted to visit.” He added: “It doesn’t matter who you are or where you’re from, magic brings people together.”