IT’S an event which has up conjured appearances from some of the best in the business – and that’s a trend that looks set to continue as the South Tyneside International Magic Festival returns for the 15th time.

For four days from Thursday to Sunday, March 15 to 18, South Shields theatre The Customs House will be celebrating all things magic as the annual event returns.

It’s festival with two distinct prongs – or should that be wands – as an international audience of professional performers and keen magic enthusiasts from around the globe gather to attend lectures, demonstrations and masterclasses by their peers.

And running side by side with the convention is a whole range of public performances with a truly global line-up.

This year’s line-up includes three Spanish magicians, one from Sweden and a number of British favourites, including the welcome return of Mark James and R Paul Wilson, who both appeared at last year’s convention.

The latter is best known as the front man of the BBC’s The Real Hustle and when he’s not performing advises casinos on dealing with cheating.

Among the other magicians taking part in the gala performances is emerging star James Phelan who will be carrying on in the footsteps of another STIMF regular and his uncle – the late Paul Daniels.

Other acts likely to draw the crowds this year include Jamie Raven, runner-up in tv show Britain’s Got Talent who is now in demand around the globe.

The festival is a successful mix of well-know names and up-and-coming performers who have been earmarked for future greatness.

It has three major events which are open to the public – a family magic show on March 15 and two gala performances – with a different line-up each evening – on March 16 and 17.

Councillor Alan Kerr, Deputy Leader of South Tyneside Council with responsibility for Culture and Leisure, is looking forward to this year’s convention and shows.

“I’m a huge fan of the South Tyneside International Magic Festival, and every year it seems to get better and better,” he said.

“Once again, Steve Gore, our booker, has pulled out all the stops to secure some of the finest magicians from across Europe, and it looks like we are set for a fantastic few days.

“The festival has become a big event for South Tyneside, and we are looking forward to welcoming a host of new visitors in March for what looks set to be a magical weekend for fans and professionals alike.”

  • Tickets for all three public events are available now, priced at £8 for the Family Magic Extravaganza on 15 March and £14 (£13 concessions) for the Friday and Saturday Gala shows. To book, call the box office on 0191-454 1234 or visit the Custom’s House website: