A box became my gateway to wonder…
Little did I know at twenty-one, when I auditioned for a show it would become my future passion and chosen profession. Whilst studying a degree in Drama at Queen’s university in Belfast, I went on work experience with Cahoots N.I., a Belfast based children’s theatre company who specialise in magic – as their artistic director, Paul McEneaney, began his career as a magician!
“Working as a box jumper on that show, I got to see magic literally from inside-out and surprisingly, I still fell head over heels in love! When that show ended and I finished my Degree in Drama all I wanted to become was a professional magician.”Nikola Arkane
Soon after that, I joined The Ulster Society of magicians. After winning a stage competition in 2006 I was elected their first ever female chair from 2012 to 2013. In 2016 I was asked to organise the Irish magic convention, ‘Belfast MagiCon’ on behalf of the club bringing magicians from all over the world including Roberto Giobbi from Switzerland, Canada’s Shane Cobalt, Malin Nilsson from Sweden, America’s John Lenahan and Rafael from Belgium. Many local artists contributed to this wonderful weekend celebrating magic in the city I was born in.
From 2016 – 2018 I helped devise and create “Danny Carmo’s Mathematical Mysteries” a multimedia illusion and magic show with Cahoots N.I. thanks to an American theatre agent buying the show, I toured across theatres in America, twice. Visiting so many cool places including; Florida, Poughkeepsie, Detroit, Vermont, Montana, Colorado, Texas, San Fransisco, California and the magic capital of the world Las Vegas!
When passion becomes a way of life!
In 2018 I decided that I wanted to begin performing close-up magic professionally. Up until that point I was literally petrified of the platform. However, in the summer of that year, I was given the wonderful opportunity to travel to Sweden and participate in Tom Stone’s magic university, a week long magic workshop in performance, misdirection and craft with magicians from all over the world.
I even got to make my first, hand made from scratch, magic wand with the talented Tim Star. This opportunity along with much encouragement from many of my friends and family in the magic world has led me to finally begin pursuing my dream of moving from children’s magic into close up and stage magic professionally.
Springing off this experience, in January 2019 I was booked to perform my first close-up and stage for adults professionally at The Magic Club in Oslo in January, then Chicago Magic Lounge in July and in August with Mystique in Stockholm. In September I competed in and won the International Brotherhood of Magicians British Ring Close Up Competition and took first place in the Ali Bongo Micro Marathon.
After winning these accolades in the field I achieve one of my lifetime goals – I was booked to perform thirty-five shows at the The Magic Castle in Hollywood in the Close-Up Gallery and in the Parlor of Prestidigitation (as FizzWizzPop). Achieving this goal just two years into my close up journey, a goal which many magicians aim towards, I feel humbled and honoured to have been given this opportunity to step up and showcase my magic to the world for Ireland.
An apocalypse won’t stop Arkane!
2020 was to be the year I began travelling the world showcasing my magic however, the COVID-19 pandemic cut all prospects of travelling anywhere outside my bedroom to zero overnight. Quite soon during the March lockdown I realised that I can approach this two ways. I can either do nothing or try my best to improve myself as a person and magician.
Firstly, I began to read and learn with the desire to upgrade my skills thinking that when the world manages to get back to some form of normality I’d be ready to hit the ground running. As a lockdown week progressed into months I knew I had to do something more than this to keep magic alive.
Funded by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland I built a studio theatre in my bedroom to stream magic shows for children and adults around the world. Across the next year I became a regular guest performer at The Chicago Magic Lounges Cocktail hour weekly shows, Washington Magic, Monday Night magic, The Amsterdam Magic show and performing on behalf of the Academy of Magical arts three times in their virtual magic shows for members. These shows allowed me to invent new material and expand my contacts within the industry, allowing people who wouldn’t necessarily ever see me performing, have my magic up on their television screens globally.
You believed in me, now I believe in myself!
The support I have received in the last year from the magic world has been so wonderful. Including speaking in loads of Podcast interviews, being featured in magazines and another lifetime goal happened this month when i was featured on the front cover of the I.B.M’s International magazine – The Linking Ring! I’ve also been asked to perform in both the I.B.M British and International online Gala shows this year and hopefully all being well my first live convention back I will be performing in Sweden’s Magic Weekends in Lund from 1st to 3rd October 2021, fingers crossed!
Blogging helped me find my voice
Alongside performance I wrote a Monday Magic blog every week for just over a full year between 2019-2021 with the goal to improve my writing skills so that one day I would publish my own books. In November 2019 I published Becoming FizzWizzPop! And then in February 2020 I released The Chaos Within lecture notes.
In the last year I have managed to write two new magic books that are about to be released. Firstly an apocolyptic close-up book titled, ‘In Plain Sight’ and thanks to The Arts Council of Northern Ireland funding this second book project ‘Pop!’ will be brought to life. Pop! is a book detailing the magic show I’ve been performing as my kids character FizzWizzPop for the last ten years.
If you know me, you’ll know I never stop and between performing in online shows, getting back to live shows I also in the last week I competed in and won the I.B.M British Ring Picnic, BRAVO online competition with my O.C.D. Cups routine which I’d been working on since my boyfriend bought me a beautiful set of cups at the Session magic convention in January 2020. It feels unbelievably great to work and develop something to the point I’m able to share it with others – I am very grateful for the award and praise!
I guess if I have learnt anything from this last year is to never give up trying to achieve your dreams. Little and often is the way to get stuff done and finally believe in yourself. It may have taken me thirty-five years on this planet to do this but it has been the key to unlocking everything good in life!
“I guess if I have learnt anything from this last year it is this… never give up trying to achieve your dreams.
Little and often is the only way to reach your dreams and to reach them well, you have to believe in yourself!
It may have taken me thirty-five years on this planet to figure this out but it truly has been the key to unlocking everything good in my life.”
Keeping magic alive one day at a time!Nikola Arkane