Putting on big events often involves juggling a lot of moving pieces; timing everything, coordinating guests and staff, ensuring food arrives promptly, and of course, the evening's entertainment.
When it comes to considering the kind of entertainment you want at your event, there are all kinds of options available to you. However, biases aside, I will still always consider having a magician one of the smartest decisions you can make. And since you're here, allow me to explain why!
What is a Gala Dinner?
Now, for the most part, I'm sure you know what a "Gala" event is. In case you don't, it is a social occasion with entertainment. More often than not, that entertainment is centred around an award ceremony or presentation.
They can be a big charity event, with an auction, or an annual corporate function for the staff, they can take many different forms. The key factors though are a large number of people, a big lavish meal, a central theme and some entertainment, usually finishing the night with a dance floor! Sounds like a good time to me!
Why have a Magician at yours?
We know what kind of event we're talking about now, so why have some perform Magic at yours?
• Break the ice/talking points
One of the best things a close-up or roving magician naturally does while performing is bringing people together. These sort of events often throw people together who don't know each other, and when a performer does what they do best right in front of you, have you collaborate with other nearby guests, it can give you all a reason to come together. As a group, you get to experience the impossible first hand, which creates a shared experience for everyone to bond over.
Not only that, but while everyone is meeting one another, a magician creates a talking point, "did you see this trick?" "How do you think they did that?" Before you know it, everyone at the event has a common ground to start a conversation over.
• Raise the energy
I've said it before, and I will most likely keep saying it in the future, but a Magician's primary job is to entertain. We often just use "Magic" as the art that we hang our hat on. And the best way to tell if a magician has been successful in their performance is to look at the state of the audience. A significant indicator of doing our job right is for people to start laughing, cheering, gasping, whooping and hollering like there is no tomorrow.
This kind of outpouring of energy can be very contagious, lifting people's spirits and raising their curiosity. After all, everyone suffers from "F.O.M.O." when there are other guests at the same party having an incredible time, and we aren't involved yet.
All that noise and intrigue will transmute into movement, causing guests to seek out "their share" of the fun, and most likely creating their own in the process. This can create a feedback loop where everyone gets swept up in the moment, an ideal occurrence at any event.
• Fill gaps in the proceedings.
Every event has down moments, maybe it is waiting for the next course to come out, or the last one to be cleared. Even during the initial drinks reception, as guests arrive, there is time where they are left to fend for themselves. After the main "event" there is often another lull as people wait for someone else to be the first one on the dance floor.
All of these are prime opportunities to distract your guests from the passage of time by having a magician entertain them. We can work alongside you to entertain anyone who seems not to be involved, drawing them back in. Even left to our own devices, we will seek out any opportunity to perform to those who may appear less than engaged.
• MC the event
Perhaps a mix-and-mingle magician isn't what you're looking for, well, magicians are, for the most part, decent orators. So being a Master of Ceremonies for your event is no great challenge and something we love doing. Being the centre of attention comes naturally to us, and having a performer act as the mouthpiece of your event means you know you have a professional at the helm. Ready for anything, and if armed with a bit of insider knowledge about the guests and some well-known anecdotes to share with the room, can result in a truly unforgettable MC who will only steal the show when they're meant to!
• Define transitions
Having a magician do a stand-up cabaret, or stage act can be a brilliant way of communicating to everyone that a transition is occurring. If you need your guests to move into the dining hall, using the justification of "tonight's entertainment is about to start" is a great way to get the ball rolling.
Performing after the ceremonies allows everyone a moment to catch their breath, relax and enjoy a show before the magician introduces the next part of the evening. Before the service as well, the magician can raise the energy of the room, get everyone paying attention to them, and then hand over to the MC or host of the evening.
• Photo Opportunities
Magic has a funny way of bringing the child out in all of us, creating that sense of wonder within us that most of us have forgotten exists. And that feeling is a difficult one to hide, which is why you can guarantee if your photographer follows the magician around, you will get nothing but photos of people smiling, laughing and having a great time. You couldn't wish for a better means of showing off a successful event!
When should they perform?
Since we know now about all the fantastic things a magical performer can do at your shindig, the next thing to worry about is when they should perform!
• Drinks Reception
When your guests arrive, having a bit of Magic as they enjoy their welcoming drinks can help set them up for a night of good times and laughter. Start things off with a bang and all that. The bonus of having them perform at this slot in your evening is that as more guests arrive, they will be greeted by the sound of people already enjoying themselves, an ideal start to the evening.
• During Dinner
Many gala events have multiple courses, usually three, and when you have hundreds, if not thousands of people in the same room to be fed at the same time, there is some downtime between each dish. What better way than to keep them distracted than by having a bit of table magic? Magicians are adept at working around wait staff, ensuring that no part of the service is interrupted.
An added bonus is that if a table knows that a magician is going to perform for them, they are less likely to get up and wander about, making a mess of your carefully designed seating plan.
• Throughout the evening as an entertainer and MC
Having your magician act as the focal point for your evening can help all things blend well together, leading the troupe from one room to the next, pulling everyone's attention to where it needs to be when it needs to be there.
Magicians specialise in controlling attention, that is the basis for misdirection after all, and they can use that hard-earned skill to ensure that the entire room is ready and willing to give that attention to your evening's host or spokesperson.
Being an MC can be tough work, but when a bit of Magic is thrown into the mix, it has a beautiful way of piquing curiosity in even the most disinterested party goers.
• As the main event
Every grand event like yours needs a central focal point around which the rest of the evening is built. While the awards ceremony or presentation is, of course, key, the large scale entertainment will set the tone for everything else. It will also be one of the main memories that your guests take away with them, and seeing the impossible has a way of sticking in people's minds for years to come.
What can you expect to pay?
If you've made it this far, you are clearly interested in having a magician at your big gala event, and this is the one final hurdle that we have to cross. But every event is unique, and the cost of the magician you hire will, or should, reflect that. Depending on what you want from your magician, if how much they will charge. I prefer to discuss this with the client to ensure that we are both on the same page in understanding all those little details, but to get a quick quote; you will need the following information first.
• Required info
Location of the event
Start and Finish time of the performance
Number of performances
Scale of performances
Number of guests
• Additional extras
As I said, with the above information, you will be able to get a quick quote for a rough idea of what the final costs will be. However, there are some extras that you can have tacked on if your budget will allow. For example, your magician may be able to offer "leave-behinds" or magic effects that are customised specifically to your event. Even making jokes about people in the audience and possibly going so far as to do Magic that works seamlessly with your theme, charity or company.
So get in touch today, we may just be able to do something genuinely extraordinary together!