Interview: Laura London, ‘We have over 12,000 books full of secrets’

Laura London is one of the world’s best female sleight of hand artists specialising in cards and is also fabulous close-up magician with a large and varied repertoire.

At the start of her career Laura concentrated on a wide range of close-up magic while experimenting in mind reading and stage illusions.  Within 6 months of becoming professional, she landed her first TV show called Playing Tricks, a ten-part street magic series featuring Laura as the only female among six magicians. Her other TV credits include ITV1’s ‘The Next Great Magician’ and ‘Penn and Teller’s ‘Fool Us’, ‘The Magic Party’ for BBC NI and ‘Children In Need’.

This year she plays Glastonburt Festival and we caught up with her to find out more.

Q&A with Laura London

How does it feel to be performing at this year’s Glastonbury Festival?
I am so excited to be one of the performers in the Theatre and Circus field this year. It’s without a doubt the best festival in the world and I feel truly honoured to be part of it.
What are your plans for your shows?
I’ve performed close up-magic for 20 years professionally and I’m known for a show called CHEAT, about a female card shark from the 1920’s. I am obsessed with the sleight-of-hand hustlers of the prohibition era, so this year, I’ll be inviting the attendees of Glastonbury to ‘Beat the Dealer’ and win some specially designed Michael Eavis money! …Whilst I will give them a genuine chance of winning, they will also be bamboozled with some magic and only win if I let them!
How does playing to a festival audience compare to a ‘normal’ live show?
I’ve performed at every type of event you can image but of course, as a walkabout act, battling potential muddy fields and people who may have had a drink or two might be a little more challenging… But thankfully, I absolutely LOVE a challenge. It also gives me the opportunity to perform for people who may have never seen close-up magic before.
As well as your shows and being a member of the Inner Magic Circle, you lecture on the international magic lecture circuit – how important is that sharing of magic knowledge to you?
I am the librarian of The Magic Circle and we have over 12,000 books full of secrets and we don’t even have all the literature that has been written! The world of magic is vast, and we have these huge conventions all around the world, with some having as many people as 5000 attendees. These events have lectures, gala and fringe shows as well as intimate workshops. All these share their knowledge on every aspect of our art. I teach card effects from my show CHEAT but I mostly enjoy doing the talks. I believe it’s not just about the magic, it’s about the magician, so presentation and being personable is key. The kind of magic I perform is intimate and close-up so there is literally nowhere to hide.
With my talk on presentation, I hope to encourage magicians to give more meaning to what they do, I also have a talk on ADHD, a condition I was diagnosed with at the age of 6 and how magic helped me overcome the adversity. I love our history, so I also share the story of Mercedes Talma, the first female sleight of hand performer from the 1800’s. I often try to incorporate some history in the performances which I do and that’s what I will be doing this year, I’ll be bringing back an old-style walkabout magic show to the fields of Worthy Farm.
Are there any other acts you’re looking forward to seeing across the weekend?
There are so many acts I can’t wait to see, my good friend Billy Kidd, a brilliant magician, Mat Ricardo, Nina Conti and of course- The Very Best of Tommy Cooper! 
I’m also hoping to catch some of Lana Del Ray, Yousuf / Cat Stevens, Elton John and discovering
bands I haven’t heard of before. That happened last year when I was walking past ‘The Other Stage’ and discovered the incredible St Vincent! 
Glastonbury is a feast for all the senses and I’m mostly looking forward to taking in some of the magical energy that The Farm gift’s to everyone that attends.
Laura London is at Glastonbury Festival 2023