Paul lectures to leading magic historians at Hackney Empire

Paul has a long association with the beautiful Hackney Empire Theatre, appearing there in his ‘Zodiac Brothers’ act shortly after it re-opened in 1987. In September 2011 he presented a lecture about the magicians who had appeared at the theatre  to a group of the world’s leading magic historians including John Gaughan, Mike Caveney and Bill Kalush. The lecture covered performers from the theatre’s first performances in 1901 right through to the present day. From Houdini, Chung Ling Soo, David Berglas up to Simon Drake’s Secret Cabaret and beyond.  Afterwards he took the distinguished group on a guided tour around the amazing building.  Paul’s 1997 book ‘Hocus Pocus’ is set largely around the theatre.

Paul Kieve shows a group of magic enthusiasts around the Hackney Empire

Paul Kieve shows a group of magic enthusiasts around the Hackney Empire (photo by Reiner Walter)


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Haywood touring art show featuring posters from Paul Kieve collection.

‘Magic Show’ presented by the Haywood Gallery, London, has completed its tour around the UK. Paul loaned several unique posters from his private collection and presented an associated lecture.

My Favourite Londoner: David Devant

Article written by Paul Kieve for Time Out magazine, October 2007.

David DevantAs a designer of stage magical effects there is something constantly inspiring about the great magicians who appeared during the heyday of variety, treading the boards in places like The Hackney Empire, just down the road from where I live. The inventiveness and creativity of these past masters never ceases to amaze me, and the magician I most wished I’d seen performing is David Devant. (more…)


Alive At Both Ends: sawing a woman in half

This article on the origins of the “sawing a woman in half” illusion was written by Paul Kieve for Cabinet Arts magazine.

Francis White, sawing a woman in half

Francis White, sawing a woman in half

Known for his mischievous sense of humor, Francis White was president of The Magic Circle in London from 1958 until his death 31 years later. Magicians historically possess an eager eye for publicity, but what drove an otherwise dignified man to balance his daughter on what at first appears to be an ironing board and hover a tree saw over her belly on her wedding day is anyone’s guess. Perhaps The Magic Circle had a particularly convincing press officer at the time or, more likely, White and his daughter together imagined (correctly) that it was a unique opportunity to capture this comical, unlikely image.

If White had attempted to complete the act in such a way, it would most certainly have been “for the last time” (as the press caption notes) because he appears to be attempting the act without any kind of special apparatus. (more…)