Updated: Jun 18
International Magicians Day: “Britain’s busiest magician” reveals how he brings in 6 figures per year after years of living in a caravan and performing for pints
Ahead of International Magicians Day on 31st January, a top UK magician has revealed how he built his career to bring in 6 figures per year performing all over the country - after years of living in a caravan and performing for pints at nightclubs.
Southampton magician Stephen Simmons (32) performs over 8 shows and events per week to bring in more than £100,000 a year. Dubbed “Britain’s busiest magician” by his contemporaries, Stephen is the entertainer of choice for global companies including Adidas, Apple, Google, Hilton, IBM, Lloyds, Paramount Pictures and Rolls Royce, and has performed at large venues and ceremonies such as the BAFTAs and the British Television Awards.
Stephen has also been featured on TalkTV and various BBC Radio stations - but he explains that it took years of struggling to get to this point in his career after a brutal nightclub attack kickstarted his life as a magician.
“I’d loved magic since I was 7 but gave up in my teens because it wasn’t cool anymore. I was studying film and television studies at Portsmouth University and was constantly overwhelmed by the feeling that I wasn’t doing what I was supposed to with my life, so was drinking heavily pretty regularly.
I was too drunk to even remember why or how it happened, but someone punched me square in the face on a night out and shattered my jaw. While I was in the hospital there was an old man in the bed opposite me playing with a deck of cards and I started performing some simple tricks for him. I’ll never forget that feeling of providing a momentary escape for him - and for myself. It reminded me of what my life was about, and in that moment I decided to drop out of university and pursue a career as a magician no matter the cost”.
Stephen explains that when he first started out as a magician, he would walk for miles every day to different venues trying to book performances - and although he was living on the breadline, he says he’d never been happier.
“I was going to bars and clubs and hustling for change - I was lucky if I earned enough for a pint. I was dirt poor and living in a caravan at the time, but it felt like my life was exciting again. It took about 6 months of earning virtually nothing for me to hone my act, then I started getting the odd £50 residency or private event hire here or there. At the time it felt like I was reaching dizzying heights. It was after about 3 years of the hardest graft of my life that it really started snowballing and I was booking regular weddings and corporate events for the likes of Adidas, Apple, Google, Hilton and Rolls Royce”.
Now initiated into the Magic Circle and performing over 8 events per week performing magic and hypnotism, Stephen, whose pre-show rituals include stretching, vocal warm-ups and quickfire mental maths equations to keep his mind sharp, has been dubbed as one of the busiest magicians in Britain by his contemporaries - performing at over 80 weddings and more than 250 events in 2022. He attributes his success to his “sheer obsession” with the craft.
“After taking my son to school I spend my morning helping clients organise their events. To give the best possible performance, you need the best possible preparation. I’ve probably gone through
tens of thousands of decks of cards and I have an entire room in the house dedicated to props - it’s the only room my son isn’t allowed to go near. ”.
“I’m driving thousands of miles a week and when you’re hypnotising or directing people’s attention
you need to be constantly attuned to their body language and the way an audience is reacting to you. Depending on the way a trick goes or the reaction to it there are lots of different avenues you can go down in your performance. I’ll learn 100 different card tricks so that I can perform one. I’m not performing uncle Bob magic - I want to create spectacular performances and that requires complete dedication to the craft”.
Stephen is available for radio and TV appearances where he can perform magic tricks, mental manipulation and hypnosis, and give psychic predictions for upcoming events.
ABOUT STEPHEN SIMMONS
One of the UK’s most in-demand magicians, Stephen Simmons is the entertainer of choice for companies including Adidas, Apple, Google, Hilton, IBM, Lloyds, Paramount Pictures and Rolls Royce. His sleight-of-hand tricks are polished and different from the norm, but his forte is mental manipulation. From spellbinding hypnotism to astounding mind reading and persuasion, Stephen’s shows get everyone shrieking at the impossible.