What are the largest and smallest audiences you've performed for?

Ask a Magician, a series of blog posts answering your questions! - Issue XVI

This weeks reader question comes from Jen, who asks:

What are the largest and smallest audiences you've performed for?

I think this is a great question, and while at first it looks like it might be quite a simple question to answer there are a few different ways I could answer it.


Let's start with the smallest audiences.

As you may know with close up magic, I mingle with guests meeting them in their friendship and family groups. Often this involves performing to two or three people, and yes even on occasions performing to just one person. So that could be the answer to the question of the smallest audience, only one person. Check out the video of me performing my 'pizza trick' just one person below.

However, with close up magic, the performance is usually just a few minutes. A better question, might be what is the smallest group I've been booked to entertain? The answer to that question is quite simple, four people. I was booked for a party at the clients home, and performed two sessions of twenty five minutes to the group. I call this my friends and family magic show, and over the years it's been polished into a really professional show that brings the theatre of magic into your home.

One of the benefits of performing for such a small group is that I can give more personal attention to each individual, and that was certainly the case at the event I mentioned above. At the end, I overheard one of the guests say, "where did you find him?"

One final (wildcard) answer that I would like to give for this comes from my stand up comedy. At the time of writing, I've only just started doing this, and so sometimes I am turning up to midweek events where entry is free for the audience. If the event isn't well promoted the audience can be quite small. At one event only one audience member turned up, but I thought I would give it a go anyway, and I did give it my all. The host for the night was there too, so I guess that makes two people the smallest number I have ever done a show for.


Well now for the largest audiences.

I often get booked for large events with 300 + guests, but if I were to attempt to perform close up magic to all of these guests it would take me all day. The general rule is that a close up magician can perform for about 50 guests per hour, so I would need six hours. Instead, the way I often resolve this situation is by organising multiple magicians to perform alongside me. For 300 guests, that might mean one or two other performers, but in the past I've done an event with seven close up magicians performing.

I have hosted an event for 300 guests and that seemed like a lot of people as there were all spread out on large banquet tables, but they were not the largest audience I have ever performed for. Instead we have to look towards stage magic. Unlike most magicians, I am also an accomplished stage magician. In fact, this is a type of magic that I love performing. To date, the largest audience I have performed for on stage was over 1000, when I performed at a variety night in a local theatre.

cabaret magician performing a magic show with a guest on stage

Recommended blog post: Are you able to do a stage show?

Just like with my answer for the smallest audiences, I would also like to throw in a wildcard answer, and let you decide whether you think, 'it counts' or not. I have twice performed magic on television. The first time was for a television series I was commissioned for and ran on local television. I suspect the viewing figures were small, but it was repeated for several years. The second occasion was when I was performing at Trent Bridge for Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club. The team from Sky Sports were there and asked my colleague and I to perform a short trick (15 seconds each) to the camera. It was transmitted on the big screens at the ground, so that's 17,500 people, plus however many millions were watching at home! My only regret is I have never seen that footage.

nottingham magician ed sumner


You know, another common question that I often get from people outside of performing is, do you ever get nervous? Some people even comment that they could never do the job that I do. The truth is that these days, I rarely get nervous. I've been performing magic for a long time, and I'm confident when talking to and presenting for both small groups and large audiences.

The only time I tend to get a little nervous is when an event is brand new to me, but you know what? I've also learnt plenty of techniques to turn those nerves into positive energy, so it actually results in a better show!

Suggested podcast episode: 004 - Can you learn confidence?

It's actually pretty crazy to think that over the course of my magic career so far, I've probably performed to well over 50,000 people, and will probably double that over the next 10 years or so.

I would love you to be next! If you're looking for a magician for your event, then you can read more about me and my approach to magic here, or get in touch with me here. I look forward to hearing from you.

Sue Phelan
Sue Phelan
Ed was absolutely phenomenal at my friend's 50th birthday! Fantastic magician x
Michelle Talbot
Michelle Talbot
Very, very impressive 😁
Amanda Bryant
Amanda Bryant
He was very professional before the event and everyone was thoroughly entertained by his close magic and the larger scale audience participation tricks.
Rach Ryan
Rach Ryan
We invited Ed to join us at our wedding reception to entertain our guests during / after the meal. Lots of guests were chatting about his tricks the next day. We loved the one he did for us and have absolutely no idea how he managed it! Ed is relaxed but professional, friendly and fun. Thank you for sprinkling some magic on our day Rach & Mick
Laura Darrant
Laura Darrant
Super personable and an amazing magician. Book him for your works events.
kerry smith
kerry smith
Ed was fabulous, what a fantastic magic show this was the perfect entertainment for my 50th Birthday and left us scratching our heads on how he did some of the tricks as we couldn’t work it out, and we were really impressed, and still talking about it later into the night and after my birthday too. I would definitely recommend and book Ed again and he was very professional, fabulous magic tricks and great communication and early to the event to prepare. I won’t mention what tricks he did as I won’t spoil the surprise but we all loved it. Thanks Ed 🤩🥰👍
Fern Dennis
Fern Dennis
I saw Ed last weekend he was booked for a family wedding. Nearly a week later and I’m still speechless, he was amazing best magician I’ve ever seen! He caters to all age groups, so entertaining.
Le pe
Le pe
Excellent entertainment
Doggo (Aɴʏᴀ ᴛʜᴇ ʟᴏsᴛ ᴘʀɪɴᴄᴇss)
Doggo (Aɴʏᴀ ᴛʜᴇ ʟᴏsᴛ ᴘʀɪɴᴄᴇss)
Really friendly magician 👍🏾

Got a question to contribute? I would love to hear it! Leave a comment, or click here to email me.

large empty theatre

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