The Magician's Apprentice - a performance on the cultural history of magic

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Add this event to your calendar 2019-04-21 01:29:10 2019-04-21 01:29:10 Title Description Location Senate House Library Europe/London public

The Magician’s Apprentice is an intimate and enchanting performance, it takes the audience into the secret world of the magician, mixing romance with legend, fact with fiction, exploring the cultural history of magic, and the mysterious images on tarot cards. Storyteller, Sally Pomme Clayton, casts a shimmer of stories, with a song on her mandolin, and a spotted handkerchief, as she shifts from humour to horror, romance to rumour, searching for real magic.

Magician's Apprentice

With a top hat from a junk shop and mail-order wand, Sally Pomme conjurers stories of failed magicians, spells that go wrong, dangerous magic that brings the dead back to life, and reveals the most powerful magician of all – a woman. From fragments of myth to antique jokes, from dazzling fairytales to snippets of cultural history, Sally Pomme searches for spells. In this slight-of-hand world objects talk, girls become doves, the magician goes mad, and you can enter another world! Join this fairytale quest to discover what is real and what illusion, who is the apprentice and who the teacher – in a search for real magic.

The magician opens her suitcase to discover smoke and mirrors, hats and rabbits, magic mice and tarot cards. What is fake and what is real? Meet The King of Jinns and arch magician ‘Elena the Wise’ whose spells have made her mad. Sally Pomme explores folklore that depicts two types of apprentice – foolish and rebellious, and tells the oldest version of the sorcerer’s apprentice – from Ancient Egypt. She asks why magicians are usually male and apprentices female? Then turns magic on its head with stories of powerful female magicians from India and Russia. 

Alongside the performance will be Hocus Pocus: Exploring Women’s Presence in The World of Magic - a small display of new items recently bought for the library as part of a project to develop and diversify our magic collection, specifically focusing on female magicians and women practising magic. Read more about the project in this recent blog post.

Sally Pomme Clayton
Sally Pomme Clayton - Photo by Gursen Houssein

“A richly evoked, magical story of many layers. Transported to so many times and places. A true magician of words.”
Bakehouse Theatre

“Mistress of Magic, Speaker of Spells. A storming show from a queen of the spoken word at the height of her powers. A mixing and mingling of worlds, of eras and time-scales, of history and fantasy, with consummate ease and the lightest of touches. A subtle meditation on where the real magic truly lies.” Storyteller, Jamie Crawford

Find out more about Sally Pomme Clayton via her website:

Event details

The Magician's Apprentice

6-8pm, Wednesday 8 May 2019

Chancellor's Hall, Senate House, University of London, Malet Street, London. WC1E 7HU

Full price: £10

Concessions: £5 (available to students, OAPs & SHL Members - please book via this link for Concession rate - ID will be required on the day)

*Includes free welcome drink*

Audience – Adults (16+)
Length – 2 x 45 mins performances with a 15 mins interval


This performance is part of Senate House Library's #StagingMagic exhibition

Open Mon-Thurs from 9am-8.45pm

Friday 9am-6.15pm & Saturday 9.45am-5.15pm

Event details

  • 8 May 2019 17:00
  • Sally Pomme Clayton, Storyteller
  • Chancellor's Hall, First Floor, Senate House
  • £10 full price / £5 concessions
  • Part of the Staging Magic exhibition
  • Senate House Library Event


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