Screen Shot 2016-03-14 at 22.55.28Leading magicians from around the world have been wand-ering to the UK for one of the North East’s most spellbinding and unusual events.

The South Tyneside International Magic Festival, organised annually by South Tyneside Council, marked its 13thlandmark year with five days of tricks, illusions and fun for all ages.

Highlights at the event, which coincided with English Tourism Week (March 5 – 13), included a Family Magic Extravaganza, programmed by festival sponsors MagicBox and two International Gala Shows at the Customs House, South Shields.

Performers at these public shows, which sold out for the second successive year, included jovial juggler Steve Rawlings, Swedish star Malin Nilsson, German champion Alana, American artists John Carney and Chad Long, Belgian man of mystery, Rafael and professional ‘cheat’ R Paul Wilson.

A separate three day convention was also held as part of the festival, offering professional performers and magic enthusiasts a chance to perfect their skills and share best practice.

This included lectures by classical conjuror Dr Will Houstoun, children’s entertainer Paul Megram (aka Colonel Custard), magic consultant Peter Clifford, sleight of hand expert Michael Vincent, card aficionado Andi Gladwin and mind reader Ken Nedy.

Councillor Alan Kerr, Deputy Leader of South Tyneside Council, with responsibility for Culture and Leisure, said: “The South Tyneside International Magic Festival is one of our most popular and longest running events.

“This year, with the help of magician John Archer, we were able to put together an amazing line up and attract even more leading performers and visitors from around the globe.

“It may be unlucky for some but I am glad to say the 13th annual South Tyneside International Magic festival was just as spellbinding as ever.”

The South Tyneside International Magic Festival is part of a programme of events designed to attract more tourism to the borough, which boasts an award-winning coastline and a wide array of bars, restaurants and accommodation.

For more information about the event, supported by BBC Newcastle and the Customs House, visitwww.southtyneside.gov.uk/magicfestival and for other opportunities in South Tyneside visitwww.visitsouthtyneside.co.uk