25 November 2023

A peek behind the curtain with Sam Strange [2023]

This is the fourth in a series of interviews leading up to the Champions of Magic Worldwide Wonder Tour Canadian dates in:

Additional rumoured locations include cities in BC and NS!  Check the Champions of Magic website for updates.

Read our thoughts about their 2022 show:

TLDR: So. Much. Fun!

Random thoughts about "Champions of Magic" 


You may also know Sam Strange from:

We're delighted to interview Sam ahead of his Canadian Champions of Magic Worldwide Wonder Tour dates!

A peek behind the curtain with Sam Strange

Have you studied any magic-adjacent disciplines? 

It really highlights the scam that being a magician can be sometimes. So many magicians, including myself, hide behind the tricks/illusions when there is little talent outside of that. When I was in my 20s I did learn to partner dance (modern jive) and you could argue that gave me some coordination. However, I think honesty that would be very generous to say that it helped inform my balletic movements during the final Las Vegas parody sequence.


In retrospect are there skills or knowledge that you wish you had prior to pursuing magic full time? 

Certainly there are a host of skills that would have been so helpful. Being good at video editing and photoshop would be so useful. It would mean you could produce online content quickly and easily without the cost of using a professional. 

Sam performing 'red light, green light'

Red light, green light!
Do you remember the specific moment when you knew you could or wanted to perform magic full time?

I do remember actually with some clarity.

When I started to ‘gig’ (a few kids parties and events for friends), I was about 18 years old. Simultaneously I joined the ’Thames Valley Magicians Guild’ and would go to the weekly meetings there. After a few weeks I was kindly asked to cover a residency at a restaurant in Oxford, England. I did that on Friday and Saturday evenings. At that point there was a simple and clear connection between my magic passion and an income, of sorts. I knew at that point I wanted to be a professional magician.

What is your most memorable performance misadventure? 

There are so many to mention, which is both a sign of experience and flight time, but also unprofessionalism. (Richard) Young and I did the Edinburgh (Fringe) festival for 4 consecutive years and at that point new material is being worked in and lessons are being learned!

Lesson 1. Never leave the Master Prediction Tube inside the actual box. Especially when hanging that box (and ultimately the show’s finale) in full view of the audience.
Lesson 2. Always remember the key to a locked box with a spectator's watch inside.
Lesson 3. Never commit wholeheartedly to the gender of an audience member.
Lesson 4. Never perform magic on a stage at Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto, on New Year’s Eve in 2019, in the wind and rain. Ever.
Lesson 5. Never perform an under-rehearsed Table of Death.

All of the above had no outs. 

One of the most haunting experiences might not sound at all a problem, but knocked my confidence for years afterwards. I remember going out on stage for the show opening and having a complete mind blank. I genuinely didn’t know what I should say or how to start saying my script. Fortunately being in a double act means that essentially you have a script advisor standing next to you. But the fact that can happen means it might happen again and standing on a stage with nothing to say or nowhere to go, is a lonely and embarrassing experience.  

What sets Champions of Magic apart from other touring ensemble magic shows?

Although Champions of Magic does contain 5 magicians each performing in their own style, from their own discipline of magic, the show does feel very cohesive. It shouldn’t feel like a Magic Convention line up but without the MC. We perform together onstage throughout the show and because of that it hopefully feels like you’re watching a team of magicians, rather than segmented acts. That unifying aspect makes the show memorable, rather than the individuals within it. Coupled with the humour and no ability to take ourselves seriously, means it should be distinctive enough from the show's competitors.  

Paper money falling around Sam

That's a lot of money


Do you have any guilty pleasures while on tour?
At every venue we go to there is a well stocked fridge and Coke (both Zero and full fat) is always on offer and display. When it’s always there, I will most likely choose it over the bottled water. It’s not a vice I suppose, but I know it’s probably not good for you in large quantities and I do love it.
One imagines that it’s sometimes hard to leave the comforts of your home for a lengthy tour.  Do you bring a special something from home with you? 

Leaving home for longer tours is an emotional challenge for sure. However, that challenge comes with the territory and it’s not like I’m down a mine shaft for weeks on end or on the front line in Afghanistan. I’m not sure if there is a front line in Afghanistan anymore, but you get the sentiment.

I do carry a couple of photos of my family, which feels very old fashioned and probably crazy considering I have my iPhone’s camera roll with me at all times. I’m sure that if I printed out all of the iPhone images of my kids and put them into a flicker book, you’d essentially get a live stream since birth.



Is there anything else you’d like to share with the readers of Canada’s Magic?

We STILL have a large quantity of shot glasses available on the merchandise stand. You would think dropping the price to $15 would have helped shift them, but it did very little for sales overall. It’s the worst business idea we have ever had. Please can your readers buy them when attending a show? After a lot of trial and error (and critically the right room humidity) the Young & Strange logo CAN be scratched off with a box cutter.

The shot glasses are versatile and I’ve provided some ideas for their use below:

- Candle holders.
- A Crockery Smash stall at a local fundraising event.
- A Glass Walking routine you are working on.
- A lecture for a business studies group on 'Loss Leaders'.

Get your very own Young and Strange shot glasses at their merch table

Young and Strange "One More!" shot glasses
📸 : Kidlet, Kitchener, 2022

Thank you Sam, for making the time to answer our questions!


Learn more about Sam at SamStrangeMagic.co.uk and follow Young & Strange on Facebook, and Instagram. 


  Champions of Magic  

Catch Sam in Champions of Magic touring across Canada in 2023 - 2024:

Additional rumoured locations include cities in BC and NS!  Check the Champions of Magic website for updates.


Read our 2023 interviews with:

Read our 2022 interviews with the cast:

Learn more about Champions of Magic at ChampionsOfMagic.co.uk and follow them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter

Champions of Magic Worldwide Wonders Tour




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