Stage, Theatre & TV30th November 2014

Gloucestershire Deaf Magician Takes the Stage by Storm in USA

Experienced John Gapp wins more awards at the World Deaf Magician Festival

by Sarah Lawrence

At eighty years of age and fresh from further success at the 15th World Deaf Magicians Festival in Chicago, USA, it is high time that John Gapp, a Deaf Magician from Gloucestershire, was nominated for some form of lifetime achievement award. Bringing smiles to thousands of faces over his extended career, John’s success in Chicago just a few weeks ago show that age is no barrier to this incredible man as his acts continue to impress on the international stage.

The World Deaf Magicians Festival was first held in 1986 in Leipzig, Germany and has been held every two years since. Attracting Deaf magicians from around the world, the festival is both a competition and an opportunity to learn, share good practice and meet old friends.

The Festival in Chicago was held between the 26th October and 2nd November 2014 at the John Hersey High School Auditorium. Providing a platform for young to adult performers, all of the estimated 300 amateur and professional deaf magicians are welcomed with open arms. Competing in a range of categories, the Festival was well supported by Deaf and hearing people locally, as well as the travelling support of friends, families and followers.

A seasoned magician, John has been performing at the Festival for many years, but despite this he remains as enthusiastic about the event as the youngest and newest entrant. Performing his acts in different categories over several days, John still finds ways to impress the judges, showing his acts and brand of magic are still relevant and up to date.

Using the Festival to attend meetings about the future of the competition, John also did a pre-competition performance for a hearing audience in Chicago. However, this 15th Festival also marked the point at which after 15 years of service on the Committee, John decided to step down as President, only to find himself elected as Honorary President by all the countries attending the Festival.

During his highly successful and emotional trip, John achieved first place in the Comedy Magic classification and a third place in Merlin Magic. Despite another strong performance, John missed out narrowly on the Close Up Magic category, but his overall success is quite remarkable. With other winners coming from America, France and Germany, John was the only home grown magician to place in any of the categories.

Showing great appreciation for his brand of magic, John also received a plaque for Outstanding Achievement along with the International Recognition and Lithuania National awards, making his trip to America highly rewarding.

A strong supporter of the World Deaf Magicians Festival, John is worried that participation in magic is becoming more problematic, “It used to be that you learned how to do tricks from books and printed instructions,” explained John, “But it is now all on DVDs and they rarely have subtitles.” Notwithstanding his concerns about the future opportunities for young deaf magicians, John is still keen to attract newcomers to his line of entertainment, “I hope many young Deaf will take up the profession an there are no young Deaf available for the future in Great Britain at the moment.”

But what about the future for John? “I will keep going for as long as I can,” John told me with youthful excitement. “I mainly perform my own shows which I write and organise myself, performing for both Deaf and hearing audiences.” Available for performances across the UK, John’s brand new comedy magic show is available for Conventions, Dinners and Clubs.

Article by Sarah Lawrence

posted in Entertainment / Stage, Theatre & TV

30th November 2014