73rd British Ring IBM Convention
23rd - 27th September 2009, Southport
Update 9, June 2009
Bob Hayden, British Ring PRO

The Ali Bongo Micro Magic Marathon. At the Eastbourne 2008 Convention Ali Bongo introduced the idea of a Micro Magic Marathon into the programme. The event proved to be an enormous success. The event will take place again at Southport and will carry the name ‘The Ali Bongo Micro Magic Marathon’ in his honour. It is to take place on Thursday September 24th between 7.30pm and 8.30pm. The number that can compete will be limited to between 15 and 20 depending on the size of the room where it will be held. If you are interested in performing in this great fun event contact the co-ordinator Viv Davies (Mysteeny) either by post at 37, Orchard Park, St Mellons, Cardiff CF3 0AQ, by telephone 029 2079 2789 or by E.mail mysteeny@btinternet.com with your details. The unanimous view of last year’s competitors was that it was just as enjoyable for them as it was for their audiences. So to all of you table hoppers who will be at Southport why not contact Viv straight away.

Over the past two decades Mark Shortland has regularly attended British Ring Convention and his name will always be associated with the scooping of the Tom Harris Cup for Comedy (he did it four times) in the British Shield competition and in 2001 winning the Shield itself. This was also the year he was rewarded with The Ken Dodd Award for the Best New Comedy Act. Mark’s successes in competitions are not confined to his stage appearances. In 2002 he won top prize in the Rings Close-up competition, the Zina Bennett Cup. He will be at Southport in September not as a contestant but with an act that will have all the Shortland mix of prestidigitation, visual gags and audience participation.

What makes Mark so successful? Without doubt it comes from his greatest asset of having a warm infectious personality that immediately engages him with an audience. This when coupled with his ability to produce an individual style of magic and a unique brand of original comedy keeps an audience literally on the edge of their seats.

How did it all start for this comedy magician who grew up in Northampton? As a schoolboy he always had a passion for magic but it was firmly ignited when he saw The Amazing Jonathon perform on British TV in 1992. Although he left college in St Albans with a design degree it was as a canoe instructor that he found employment. But he did not abandon his love of magic and continued to increase and perfect his magical skills by performing for the captive audience where he worked. Eventually this led him to entertain at local schools and parties and by 2001 he convinced himself it was time to ditch his occupation as an instructor and pursue a full time career in entertainment.

Mark now performs locally, nationally and internationally from The Orleans Casino and Hotel in Las Vegas to The World Economic Forum Davos; the Magic Castle in Hollywood to the Grand Opera House in Blackpool. He also works for some of the top cruise lines including Royal Caribbean, Carnival, P & O and The Yachts of Seabourn. Mark has perfected his magical repertoire to meet any requirement. He performs ‘wonders’ in spectator’s hands during reception drinks, unbelievable prestidigitation at the dinner table and hilarious magic after the meal as a stand-up cabaret.

When Jonathon Shotton takes to the stage at Southport he does so as the current holder of the British Ring Shield. Not only did his act win the Shield he was also awarded the Conventioneer’s Trophy for originality. The genesis of the act originated in Jonathon’s mind as it might be performed by Willy Wonka but substituting clocks of varying shapes and sizes for sweets. The idea benefited in its development when Jonathon won a prestigious scholarship to the Jeff Mc bride Magic and Mystery School in Las Vegas for it was there that both his technical and presentation skills were improved, polished and perfected.

Jonathon’s success in the world of magic in such a short period has been nothing less than phenomenal. Magic became a fascination for him when as a 12 year old he watched a performance by his uncle which inspired him to find his way to Davenport’s where after one visit he became immediately hooked. Even the earliest of his routines showed he had a superb aptitude for performing magic that not only had style but sophistication. As soon as he began performing his ‘signature act’ with doves being effortlessly produced, fire manipulated and objects being floated in thin air he was recognized by his peers as a star of the future. So high was the opinion of his work by experienced magicians throughout the country that he was soon being booked to perform at their local functions. More importantly he came to the attention of the organisers of the annual national Convention of the Society of American Magicians. He was requested to travel over to the United States and perform which he did to receive great notices. In 2005 he was one of the five international artistes to appear in The Centenary Magic Circle Christmas Show and was afterwards elected an Associate of the Inner Magic Circle with Silver Star, the youngest magician ever, at that moment in time, to achieve this.

It is Jonathon’s warm and friendly approach and his likeable personality that has helped him to become known and remembered. But what he is dedicated to and what he strives for most of all is perfection in every aspect of his act both of these qualities being abundantly clear to see in any of his performances. If a list is prepared of all current British young magicians to show that Britain has Innovative Magic Talent, the name of Jonathon Shotton would head the list. Watching Jonathon perform should be an inspiration to all fledgling magicians to take their performances to a higher level.

These are just two of the star acts you can see at the British Ring Convention in Southport September 23rd to 27th where you can enjoy four full days of magic with something for everyone whatever your particular taste happens to be.


Bob Hayden, British Ring PRO, June 2009. www.britishring.org.uk




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