Looking for a place to take nine 11 year old boys as part of a ‘Mystery Tour’ for my son’s birthday, I checked out the SA History Festival website (here) to see if there were any low cost events that might appeal and would fit into our day of adventure. Well, I found the perfect one!
During May, The Australian Society of Magicians are holding one hour magic sessions in their headquarters in Torrensville. Based in a disused bomb shelter that was built in World War 2, the club is the oldest in Australia and they are opening their doors to welcome you to this piece of Adelaide history, as well as experience some mystery.
Our party of boys were VERY excited when I told them where we were going…
Starting with a bit of history about the building (an intriguing underground bunker that looks like some concrete walls from the road – see above), our host showed us some historical magic tools (see right) and how they worked, and told us how their society came to be.
He then led us into a small room with seating for about 30, with a velvet curtain hiding the ‘stage’. Three performers gave us a small and intimate show, involving most of the audience in some way and our party of kids loved getting a turn at holding something and being part of the act.
The walls of the room were covered in historical magic photos – and as a photographer I loved looking at them and would be keen to return for this alone!
And if you’re lucky, hopefully Phil (pictured right) will pull a rabbit out of a hat for you too. I want to thank him in particular because after contacting him to check if the event was suitable for our group’s age range, and that it was part of a wider tour for a birthday, he sent me some questions for the kids to answer while they were at the site, and made a big deal about the birthday boy during the show.
The rabbit out of the hat would have been enough… but this enthusiasm from the organiser showed how passionate the Society is about their craft.
I really recommend this experience, both for history buffs but also kids and adults interested in magic. It was a simple, intimate presentation… not glossy and polished – but very approachable and interactive.
The setting was truly intriguing and it felt a privilege to visit the site and ponder the time it was built during the war.
Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 of May 2016 are the final days, with 3 sessions each day, so book in if you are interested. Click on the event page here to book tickets. Seats are limited because of the small space, and are only $5 each (plus a small online booking fee) so I think it’s a bargain for unique opportunity.
For more family friendly events happening during the SA History Festival, see our post here.
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