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AN armada of Spanish magicians will sail into South Shields this spring as part of a European line-up for the 15th South Tyneside International Magic Festival.

Three magic stars from Spain will join one from Sweden and a number of high profile British acts in two public gala performances at The Customs House in March.

The annual event, which is based around a three day convention for magic professionals and the most ardent of fans, also features the two gala shows which gives the public the chance to see some of the big names in action.

This year, booker Steve Gore and South Tyneside Council have lined up a selection of illusionists, card tricksters, mentalists and close up magicians who will appear in the gala shows.

On Friday 16 March, 2015 Britain’s Got Talent runner-up Jamie Raven will lead a star-studded show, which will also feature magician and pianist Henri White, close-up performer and illusionist Andrew Green and Spanish favourite Javi Benitez.

The following day, magical prankster and nephew of the late Paul Daniels, James Phelan, will be wowing the audiences alongside Woody Aragon and Juan Luis Rubiales, who also both hail from Spain.

The Saturday show will also feature Swedish master of misdirection Tom Stone, local mind reader Kennedy and an exciting performance from Genetics, the family act formed by – and starring – Steve Gore himself.

Once again, both shows will be hosted by the hilarious Mark James, a top comedy magician who is now also a coveted compere thanks to his industry knowledge and very quick wit.

The annual festival is run by South Tyneside Council, in partnership with The Customs House and Magicbox and supported by BBC Radio Newcastle.

Councillor Alan Kerr, Deputy Leader of South Tyneside Council with responsibility for Culture and Leisure, is a big fan of the gala shows.

“While the main body of the festival is the convention side, I love the fact that the organisers arrange these gala shows because it gives the public the chance to see what it’s all about,” he said.

“Every year I’m left gobsmacked by some of the magic we see here on the stage. These magicians are just incredible, and to be able to get a glimpse at what they do is wonderful.

“I would urge anyone who hasn’t been to one of these shows before to come along this year. It’s always a fantastic night and you will come away scratching your head but also very impressed.”

The gala shows will start at 8pm on Friday and Saturday March 16 and 17, and tickets are available now, priced at £14 (£13 concessions).

To book, call the box office on 0191 454 1234 and for more information about the event plus the full line up, visit: www.southtyneside.gov.uk/magicfestival

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