Richard Leigh is an illusionist, magical inventor, producer, artist, sculptor, scenic painter and theatrical prop builder. His long and dedicated career has combined his interest in magic, theatre and art
Born in 1965. Real name Richard Day. Family home town of Stowmarket in Suffolk. Interests as a child were always connected to the theatre. It was a book on stage lighting that gave Richard his first insight into stage illusion techniques.
Richard left school at 16 and worked in a timber merchant in his home town. During this 2 year period Richard created two themed magic acts. One with a Circus theme and the other with an enchanting fantasy woodland theme. The majority of these early props and illusions are still in working order and are used in performance to this day.
Richard turned professional in 1985 with an illusion act called ‘Richard Leigh and Sheryl’ and worked extensively in the cabaret fraternity for the next fifteen years. From cruise ships to theme parks, from hotel floor shows to holiday centre cabaret shows, from end of the pier summer shows to pantomime.
In 1990 Richard was the first European Magician to present his full evening magic and illusion show in Egypt, at the Shepheard Hotel in Cairo.
In 2000 Richard had moved to London where he was to produce magic and illusion shows for the West End, Off West End and London Fringe Theatre. One such show, ‘The Illusion show’
‘The Illusion Show’ had its debut at The Westminster Theatre in Victoria, London in 2001. Sadly, it was to be the very last show at this venue before the theatre closed down. Destroyed by fire.
2002. As one door closes….. ‘The Magic Cavern’ – London’s most intimate and atmospheric theatre of magic, opened it’s doors for the first time in September 2002. It is now London’s long running magic show. The show celebrated its 1000th performance on the 4th May 2014. The show is currently booking to 30th JULY 2017.
In 2004 Richard opened a magic and illusion show at The Jermyn Street Theatre in the West End under the title of ‘Late Night Magic’
Late Night Magic ran for 12 years, with the final performance on the 15th July 2016.
One of the highlights of shows created within the ‘Late Night Magic’ project at the Jermyn Street Theatre was a collaboration with Jay Fortune. A very dark magic show indeed. ‘Magick and Mayhem’
In 2005 Richard produced one of his strangest shows and by far one of his personal favourites. The Twilight Ballrooms featuring Malcolm Marvelle Master of Mystery and the lovely Rita!
Written and directed by Anthony Pearson. In 2006, Richard Leigh and Anthony Pearson took the Malcolm Marvelle Master of Mystery and the lovely Rita show up to Edinburgh for the Festival.
Click here for a short film of that hectic week created by Anthony Pearson.
In 2007 Richard produced ‘The Side Show of Wonders’ A magic and illusion show set in the fairgrounds of yesteryear. All Sideshows exhibits and live performances are created through magic and illusion.
In 2008 magical artist and writer Jay Fortune started a concept called ‘Magic Moments’. An opportunity for magicians everywhere to present magic anywhere, raising money for their chosen charity and creating awareness for magic as a theatrical art. A designated date per year is an open invitation to get involved. Richard is proud to have supported this project since the start. For full details visit the sponsored ‘Magic Moments’ page hosted by our friends at www.magicweek.co.uk.
In 2009 Richard produced a show to schedule perfectly into the busy Halloween season entitled ‘The Spooky Magic Theatre’
In 2010 Richard produced a show in miniature called ‘Card Symphony’ – a close up magic show staged around a toy theatre and orchestra. Beautiful card magic set to a classical score.
This show had its debut at the Barons Court Theatre. In 2011 the same show was re-produced and re-branded under the new title of ‘The Magic Symphony’ which played at the especially created magic theatre within the Davenports Magic Shop on the Strand in London. This show ran for one and a half years.
Currently Richard is creating two new magical productions. Both one man shows. ‘Cave 13 – The Superstitious Magic Show’
And new for the summer season 2017, ‘The Fairground Magic Show’
Most of the above mentioned magic and illusion shows form the structure of each years schedule of magic theatre shows presented by Richard Leigh.
When Richard moved to London in 2000 he pursued his other theatrical love which is for stage lighting. He joined the lighting department of ‘The Lion King’ at The Lyceum Theatre, London and spent the next three years there. Each year Richard works on 350 West End performances and presents over 150 live magic shows. Richard has always felt very content and lucky to balance and work in the two areas of theatre that has always been a passion for him since childhood. In 2005 Richard moved from ‘The Lion King’ to join the lighting department of ‘Mamma Mia! at The Prince of Wales Theatre. He spent the next seven years on this show including the move to The Novello Theatre in September 2012.
In February 2013 Richard moved from ‘Mamma Mia! to join the lighting department on ‘The Book of Mormon’ back at The Prince of Wales Theatre. In April 2014 Richard joined the new production of “Miss Saigon” (an all time personal favourite show) at The Prince Edwards Theatre for its entire run. Followed by ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. Richard is currently working back at the Prince Edward Theatre on the very magical production of ‘Disney’s Aladdin’
In between all of the above Richard spends his time in his workshop down in Suffolk. A peaceful balance to London life. Richard designs and makes all props and scenic elements for all his magic productions which include highly decoractive hand painted artwork and sculptural designs which have become a trade mark of his unusual, creative and highly original work. As well as every single prop, all posters and web artwork is hand painted by Richard.
Current projects are expanding the illusions, set and magical content within all working shows. Ambitions are simple. To continue to house all of the above productions in a ‘theatre of magic’ scenario.
Other interests are travelling, theme parks, classical music, zoos and safaris, clubbing and drinking tea!