Magician Billy Kidd knows all the tricks of the trade
Magician Billy Kidd credits a street magician in her hometown of Bath, England, for teaching her the tricks of her trade.
She had never seen a live performance of a magic show until she met up one day with a man who was entertaining a growing number of passersby with his seemingly simple sleight-of-hand and close-up magic tricks.
“I watched him and was amazed that he could draw a crowd out of nothing and keep them entertained for 45 minutes,” she says. “He was my first hook into the world of magic.”
Kidd — who had worked as an actor since the age of 11, performing in theater, film and television in Canada and the U.K. — was intrigued by the magician’s art and decided to seek his guidance and become a magician herself.
“He told me what books to read, and I started learning my craft,” she says. “Most magicians are self-taught.”
Her own brand
Kidd has since performed her brand of magic on cruise ships, at festivals and corporate events and on several magic-based TV programs, including Discovery Channel’s “Breaking Magic,” Syfy’s “Wizard Wars” and the CW’s “Masters of Illusion.”
She has entertained audiences on five continents and still operates Krowd Keepers Magic Theatre, a small parlor venue she founded five years ago in Bath, where she performs when she’s in town and hires magicians to fill in when she’s not.
Kidd will be in Pittsburgh through June 23, as the first performer in Liberty Magic’s summer lineup of featured magic shows.
She is known for her sleight-of-hand and close-up work and she also is a trained escapologist, although she says she won’t be doing any escapes in her show, “Bridging the Gap,” in Pittsburgh.
“I love all types of magic, but my show in Pittsburgh will be a very different show,” she says. “Without giving away all of the magic, it’s going to be weird and different.”
She doesn’t usually work with an assistant on stage, but she says she will have “a very special assistant” with her at Liberty Magic.
Kidd doesn’t do many tricks she’d call “death-defying,” but like many magicians, she’s had a few missteps along the way, including illusions that didn’t turn out the way she planned.
“One time, I tore off a piece of tissue and it was supposed to go back together — but the magic didn’t work,” she recalls. “I decided to eat it. That’s what magicians do, although I wouldn’t recommend it. I hope my audience was entertained.”
Following Kidd’s engagement, Liberty Magic will host Mark Toland, a mentalist from Chicago, with his show, “Mind Reader,” June 26 to Aug 4; and Philadelphia-based magician Eric Jones’ “Impossible” from Aug. 7-Sept. 8.
“In programming the summer at Liberty Magic, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust aimed to line up magicians that would uphold the high bar set by Eric Jones and Lee Terbosic at the opening of the venue, while simultaneously expanding the types of magic we present,” says Scott Shiller, producer of Liberty Magic and vice president of artistic planning for the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.
“They are the best of the best, and we are particularly excited to add Billy’s internationally infused magic and Mark’s unbelievable mentalism to the Liberty Magic repertoire.”
Liberty Magic has been “elevating the art of magic” since opening in February in a newly renovated theater space on Liberty Avenue, with performances Wednesdays through Sundays.
Candy Williams is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.