09 February 2024

A peek behind the curtain with Richard Young [2023]*

This is the sixth and last in a series of interviews leading up to the Champions of Magic Worldwide Wonder Tour dates in Western Canada:

Check the Champions of Magic website for updates.


* Regular readers of the blog may know that there's typically an elapsed time of weeks to months between us completing an interview and having it published.  Case in point.  Due in part to our densely packed December content calendar, we've held Richard's interview (which belongs to our 2023 series of Champions cast interviews that started last October) until now, ahead the Western Canada leg of their tour. 

Read our thoughts about their 2023 show in Toronto:

TLDR: So. Much. Fun!

Random thoughts about "Champions of Magic" 


In addition to Champions of Magic you may also know Richard Young through: 

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

A peek behind the curtain with Richard Young

Do you remember the specific moment when you knew you could or wanted to perform magic full time?

September 17th 1995 when I saw David Copperfield’s show in Birmingham in the U.K. My Dad often tells the story that on the drive home that night I asked him if it would be at all possible for me to do something like that as a job when I grew up.
Have you studied anything magic-adjacent (eg. theatre, voice, musical instrument, acting, dance, art, movement, or photography)? 

I haven’t and I really wish I had. If I was to give any younger magician some advice it would be to go and learn all this stuff. It seems like a lot of fun and would have helped me so much over the years.

Richard Young listening to Sam Strange

Richard Young listening to Sam Strange
After seeing a recent Champions performance in Toronto, one of our readers thought they spotted a small but meaningful detail in the show, that you may have included as an homage to David Copperfield.  Is this an intentional 'Easter egg'?

I was thrilled someone spotted it. Absolutely. It’s supposed to showcase that I’m living my childhood dream in his shows following my tribute to him 15 minutes earlier.

The Champions show order changes from time to time, based on the constraints of the venue and the health of the performers.  We imagine that sometimes muscle memory reverts to the show order you do most often.   How do you and the rest of the cast and crew remind yourselves of set deviations?

In 2021 we were developing a lot of new material and the show was changing almost every night. It was stressful and frankly impossible to stay on top of. We have stage prompts printed on the stage floor and other similar techniques. I remember there was one night where I got the show order wrong, it happened to be on a night when there was no sound relay backstage and as I walked towards the stage I saw a scene playing out on the stage I was supposed to be in, without me in it!  


What's your go-to time filler if the crew needs you to stall for more time than "hands"++ provides?

We really do just have ‘hands’ to save some time. Anything needing more than that will be a show stop. We have only had a few of those over the years. Although it’s nice if you can fill a mistake or buy some time without the audiences noticing, a show stop is nothing to be embarrassed about, I’ve seen West End shows in London with show stops and as an audience member you appreciate they are stopping because they want you to see the best possible show rather than some sort of bodge job attempt to wrangle through. If you do hundreds of shows, there’s no way to avoid it. Eventually you’ll need to stop and restart.    

++ To learn more about "hands" have a listen to Episode 127 of Through the Magic of Television with host Alex McAleer, on Magicians' Podcast Network (Apple Podcasts link).

Richard Young, Champion of Magic

Richard Young, Champion of Magic


Do you have any guilty pleasures while on tour?

When we are touring I really miss British chocolate but honestly it’s probably good I can’t access it, keeping weight off while touring I find basically impossible. I don’t watch things, I tend to just find my head is completely immersed in what we are doing.
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? 

I do indeed have a little mascot who travels with me. He’s a stuffed toy raccoon called Rufus, my girlfriend bought him for me when we visited a national park in Tucson, Arizona together. Unfortunately Rufus accidentally forgot to get inside my suitcase when I left a hotel in Los Angeles and despite many phone calls to the hotel after I left, he was not found. I however managed to find him for sale on a website and quickly had him sent to me by FedEx hoping my girlfriend would not notice he wasn’t exactly the same Rufus. She didn’t but eventually my conscious made me tell her the truth that Rufus is in fact now Rufus 2.0. 




Rufus 2.0



Every performer has experienced some level of post-show blues.  Post-tour blues, we expect, are on a whole different level.  Do you have any tips for touring entertainers with respect to re-entering one’s non-touring life, after an extended time away from home?

It’s so so hard. Coming off the road and re-adjusting to a much slower pace of life for me personally takes quite a long time. When we finished after a 9 month solid tour in May 2023 I truly was burnt out and needed a break, but honestly that’s the first time I have ever felt like that. Usually I am sad when we finish and do worry a little about how I’m going to re-adjust. I have however learnt how to take care of myself. I immediately get my head into other work. I don’t take time off, I tend to actually have a lot of new energy I can place into podcasts or some other kind of creativity. The fact is for many of us this is the biggest part of our lives and so although sleep, no airports and less stress is welcome, life does feel a little empty when away from the road. I truly believe 1 years of touring is the equivalent life experiences to about 20 years of life for a normal person in terms to fun, emotional ups and downs and pure experiences.  

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

We're really looking forward to sharing our show with your readers in Western Canada 

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


Learn more about Richard at RichardYoungMagic.com and check out his podcast at the Magicians' Podcast Network (Apple Podcasts link), and learn more about Bob Swadling's "Swadling Magic Changing Card" at Changing Cards.




  Champions of Magic  

Catch Richard in Champions of Magic touring in Western Canada this spring:

    Check the Champions of Magic website for updates.


Read our 2023 interviews with:

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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