MAGICIANS, mind-readers and illusionists from around the world are heading to the North East for one of the UK’s most magical events.

This week, some of the biggest names in modern magic will be jetting into South Shields for the 14th annual South Tyneside International Magic Festival.

The festival, organised by South Tyneside Council, features a three-day convention aimed at magic professionals and ardent magic fans as leading magicians share their secrets and tips through a series of lectures, workshops and demonstrations.

It also features three special performances at The Customs House, where the public can get the chance to see some of the convention’s biggest stars in action.

The first show is a Family Magic Extravaganza on Thursday 16 March which promises a fun-filled night for all the family as a host of family entertainers including Simon Hannah, Destiny, Graeme Shaw, Tony Junior, and Steve Lucock with Snotty the rabbit take to the stage.

This will be followed by two International Gala Shows on Friday and Saturday March 17 and 18.

The Friday show will feature performances from Mahdi Gilbert, Asi Wind, Ning: Mind Magic Mistress, Destiny and Amethyst while Saturday’s will include Adam Wilber, Andrew Green, Rob Zabrecky, Steve Gore and Two Men without Assistance. Both will be hosted by compere Mark James.

Councillor Alan Kerr, Deputy Leader of South Tyneside Council with responsibility for Culture and Leisure, said: “Every year the festival and convention get bigger and more popular, and we manage to attract some of the biggest names in magic to South Shields and The Customs House.

“Although the event is predominantly aimed at magic professionals, it’s fantastic that the public can come along and see for themselves exactly who is here and what they can do.

“Some of the acts lined-up for this year’s shows are simply incredible, and I know audiences are going to be dazzled when they see what these magicians, illusionists and incredible entertainers can do.”

There are still some tickets available for all three public performances. Prices are £8 for the Family Magic Extravaganza and £14 for the two Gala Shows. To book, visit www.customshouse.co.uk or call the Box Office on 0191 454 1234

For more information on the South Tyneside International Magic Festival sponsored by Magicbox and supported by BBC Radio Newcastle and The Customs House, visit www.southtyneside.gov.uk/magicfestival .