It was a pack of cards and an encounter with a famous comedian and magician that turned the young Steve Wilson from curious teenager into budding child magician. Little did he know then that these experiences would lead to a 25 year relationship with Circusful, formerly Belfast Community Circus School.
“My fondest memory was meeting Tommy Cooper at a magic convention in London. I was a wee nipper of 13 and he was a giant.”
“I bought some cards in Hamleys toy store in London in the 70s and this pack of cards got me into magic,” he explained.
After establishing his career as a professional magician, performing at the likes of the Royal Silver Jubilee Celebrations in London and at children’s parties, Steve moved to Ireland permanently in 2000.
His connections with the Belfast Circus School via fellow Circusful performer, Bucky The Clown, led to Steve creating the building blocks of his original character, “Wonderful World of Mr Wizzy”.
“I wasn’t very academically good so I was always going to be a performer. I did workshops, and some shadowing for the first month to get up to a certain skill level”
“It’s all Bucky’s fault but I’ve never looked back.”
Originally, Mr Wizzy performed as a double act around Ireland showcasing highly visual and entertaining mobile performances.
During his early career, Steve took part in the Special Olympics ceremony held in Dublin where he brushed shoulders with U2, The Corrs and Bon Jovi.
“Back in the day we did the Special Olympics at Croke Park. We were there for three days and Nelson Mandela was there but hadn’t arrived yet so someone was invited to get up on stage to be him for the camera angles. So I went up.
“We did a big finish for 30K people in 7 minutes.” he explained.
When he isn’t performing, Steve enjoys his role as a Circusful trainer where he teaches workshops to enthusiastic participants who have the opportunity to learn new skills, gain confidence, build resilience and make long lasting friendships.
“We’ve got them all wired. It helps to build their self-esteem for school or a whole range of things. Circus breaks down all the barriers. It’s not like rugby at school where if you don’t fit in, you’ll be singled out. It’s not competitive at all”.
Over the years, Mr Wizzy has led classes for disabled people and people who are recovering from strokes, he finds this work the most fulfilling.
“One of the things we have been doing over the years are workshops with disabled people which I love with a passion, I must say. When we come back from the workshops, we can’t believe that we’ve had the privilege to work in this way – it’s very rewarding.”
Steve worked with a woman who had had a stroke a few years ago. “This lady was blind and I used juggling balls with her and she held a juggling ball and burst into tears as her carers had all told her she couldn’t feel anything in her hand.”
Although his colourful career has meant he’s travelled far and wide and performed to a variety of people, Steve believes that Belfast is the perfect place to do what he loves.
“My favourite place to perform is undoubtedly Belfast because we know everybody from the school, so we don’t have to try too hard to get an audience.
“We already know the people in the audience and with the Festival of Fools, we have theatre on our doorsteps here – it’s brilliant.” he said.
Steve continues to move forward with the tight knit Circusful family to connect, empower and inspire the people of Northern Ireland and beyond through high-quality circus tuition and performance.
“It’s a family. It’s the circus family.”To find out how you can get involved with Circusful, visit https://circusful.org
Belfast Woman Set To Star In RTE’s Super Garden Show Tonight
Belfast woman Mary Anne Farenden, 29, is set to appear in episode three of RTE’s popular horticulture show ‘Super Garden’ tonight Thursday May 5.
The architect graduate, artist and singer joins four other budding designers from across Ireland who are battling it out to secure a coveted garden spot at Ireland’s leading garden festival, Bord Bia’s ‘Bloom’.
This year’s series sees the designers transform Riverside in Kells, a new social housing development built by Meath County Council where they will each be given an identical plot in the estate as their blank canvas to create a spectacular show garden for the residents.
The self-employed creative described how her love for design started at a young age despite growing up in a household of engineers: “I would say I have been artistic since I can remember. I loved making little spaces and one thing my mum always said was I would make little nests.
“I think with most of the family being engineers, they need to solve problems and you can’t help but absorb it but I knew from an early age I wasn’t a mathematical person.
“When I finally got the house I’m in now I had a little yard and it was like the Garden of Eden. It was concrete with an oil tank but it was outside space. I enjoyed trying to create the perfect little haven in the middle of an alleyway.”
Mary Anne currently is a small business owner of Mary Anne Designs and Chalkboard Art Belfast creating bespoke illustrations for restaurants throughout Belfast.
In terms of design, Mary Anne takes inspiration from a broad range of gardens including cottage, fairy woodland and zen gardens and loves to create her own unique blend of them all.
With only five weeks and a budget of €15,000 to bring her idea to life, Mary Anne described how ‘blood, sweat and tears’ went into making the show garden for the Devine family who have three young children and two dogs.
“It was extremely hard work and 100% blood sweat and tears went into it. Most days I was there from 9 to 11 at night just working right up until the very last moment” she explained.
Tonight’s episode showcases Mary Anne’s ‘Enchanted Playland’ design which combines natural woodland and suburbia.
Packed full of unique touches from a willow lined gravel path leads to a log playhouse surrounded by toadstools, Mary Anne hopes to win over the family with her fairy inspired design.
Under the canopy of trees, Mary Anne has included a tyre climbing frame, swing and slide to please the young children.
The adults also haven’t been forgotten with Mary Anne creating a timber decking that leads directly from the house to a picnic bench and table under a wooden pergola with a protective Perspex roof perfect for summer socialising.
However, not only does Mary Anne have to win over the residents, her designs have to capture the attention of Super Garden’s acclaimed judges, Gary Graham, Monica Alvarez and Brian Burke who each have years of horticulture experience worldwide.
Tune in tonight at 8:30pm on RTE to see if Mary Anne can pull off a Bloom worthy garden and impress the nation.
DJ Duo Promise Pure Cheese and A Cracker Night at Camembert
DJ Duo Bill “The Thrill” Buchanan and Marty “The Party” McNally are set to debut their new touring club night Camembert at 1889 Sports & Social Club on Saturday 29th January.
The DJs have described their playlists as an eccentric mix of “good old sing-alongs, dance like no ones watching anthems, and a few head turners thrown in for good measure.”
Speaking of their new night Bill said:
“We’ve both been in this game for a few years and we both agreed we wanted to create a night that was all about fun, we don’t believe in ‘being sexy’ on the dancefloor. We want an environment that just makes you want to let your hair down and give it all you’ve got”
“We’re going to be dropping crazy versions of Boney M, Journey, Girls Aloud, Whigfield and everything in between as we progress through the night. If we’re not encouraging the crowd to sing at the top of their voice, we’ll be encouraging them to bust a move.”
When asked how they wanted people to feel after attending Camembert, Marty had this to say:
“We want people to go home with big smiles and the next day wake up sore. Sore throat, sore arms, sore legs. Not from a hangover but because they gave it everything on the dance floor!“
Danny Leitch, Bar Manager of 1889 Sports & Social Club has voiced his excitement at hosting the Camembert Launch Night:
“Here at the 1889 Sports & Social Club we love putting on great entertainment and when the boys approached me with the idea of Camembert I just knew it was going to be way too much fun to pass up working with them on the launch event.“
Camembert is set to kick off it’s continual touring around Northern Ireland after it’s opening night, promising Pure Cheese and Cracker Nights across the country starting with 1889 Sports & Social Club on Saturday 29th January.