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Founder Interview 3: Pete Whitmore

As part of our special interview series with the founders of The Leicester Magicians Network (LMN), our third interview is with Pete Whitmore.


Pete is a practicing magician with over 30 years experience. One of the Founding members of the Leicester Magicians Network and a member of The Leicester Magic Circle.


Since this interview was conducting earlier this year, Pete has successfully achieved MMC, as a member of the Magic Circle. Congrats Pete. This interview is an edited version of the one that appeared in the Magic Seats review site.


Pete specialises in close up magic, including mentalism and psychological magic. Experienced in entertaining guests at social events either at tables or gathered in groups. Always giving events a personal touch.


Pete is Midlands based and can be booked via his website (links at end of post). Covering Leicestershire and surrounding areas. All contacts and social details can be found at the end of this article. Mix and Mingle / Close Up / Walk around magic is the perfect addition to any event.


Pete has assisted Scot Jerram in the publication of his book "Scot Free", reading many drafts and enhancing an effect called "Playing Card Bingo".



Q - Thanks for joining us today Pete for a chat. What’s your story, how did you get into magic and who influenced you?


Pete Whitmore - I think my story is pretty much the same as most people in magic, it started with a magic set for Christmas when I was about 7 or 8. I remember fooling my dad with one effect and my dad was pretty clued up on most magic. It was a great feeling I got from knowing I’d fooled him! All my pocket money etc from then on went on buying magic (as it still does today, which my wife will testify to!).


As for influence, I grew up watching Paul Daniels, and then Wayne Dobson on TV, so they were my earliest influences. I drifted in and out of magic over the years, showing family and friends stuff, but that was as far as it went. Then a couple of years ago I just told myself it was time I either did something with my magic, and start gigging and learning the ropes, or carry on as before, kind of like a secret magician. My biggest regret is not joining a club sooner, but at the end of the day it's about confidence, and that's something I lacked for a long time with my magic.



Q - You mention that joining magic clubs helped with building your confidence to perform magic. What advice would you give anyone who needs to gain confidence to perform in public?


Pete Whitmore - For me personally, performing for other Magicians and strangers gave me a massive lift. Friends and family are not the best critiques when you show them something, everything is ‘brilliant’ no matter what you show them!! But having other magicians and total strangers giving feedback and showing astonishment makes you appreciate how good or bad you are, and it’s the quickest way to learn. Doing a few gigs with Ian (Gamage) and Adam (Edgeley) before Covid helped massively, I’d always feared performing in public. But there's nothing to fear but fear itself, just going ahead and doing it, it’s an amazing buzz, it’s addictive! So the best advice I can give anyone is just get out there and do it, perform in front of anyone that wants to see something, enjoy it and have fun. If something goes wrong, it doesn’t matter laugh about it, we’re all human after all! And if you are fortunate enough to get the help, advice and encouragement from mentors then all the better.


Q - What benefits have you personally gained from being a member of magic clubs like Leicester Magic Circle and Leicester Magicians Network? (and now - The Magic Circle)


Pete Whitmore - I have met some amazing people since joining a club, not just as magicians, but genuine friends, and the last 12 months have been a lot easier to get through with having people with the same passions to share ideas with. Before joining a club, it was mostly time spent hidden away or driving the wife and family mad showing them effect after effect. I think the best way to get a mentor is through a club too. I am lucky enough to have Ian and Adam as mentors for performance, these guys have been doing gigs a long time, and took me on my first couple of gigs. It was amazing watching them both just becoming these larger than life characters when they perform.

I also met another great mentor in Scot, my card work has always been pretty limited, but he gave me the confidence to try the moves I’d previously shied away from. He constantly points me in the right direction when I’m working on a new sleight. I have spent many hours jamming with Scot, whether in person or in recent times over zoom, and he never fails to amaze me when he shows me something new he’s working on! One of the reasons for forming the LMN was to get people that share a passion for magic to be able to meet with like minded people. It doesn’t matter if you’re the most confident performer or the quiet type that just enjoys practicing magic for your own pleasure, we want to share our passion with you. If you are just a hobbyist with no desire to perform for the public, or if you are an established performer, we welcome you exactly the same. If you’re confident and comfortable performing in front of others, we’ll encourage and help anyway we can, if you’re not confident or you don’t want to perform in front of others, we respect that too, there’s no pressure at LMN for anyone to perform.


Q - As one of the four founders of the Leicester Magician’s Network, you all carry out individual roles with unique areas of responsibility. Can you tell us a little about your unique contribution to the running of the club?


Pete Whitmore - In fairness, we all pretty much share the responsibilities of running the club, that was pretty much the idea when founding the club, having ‘set’ roles was mainly about ticking boxes. The running of the club, like the membership, is about freedom for anyone who has an interest in magic. Working for the NHS, the last year has pretty much been like a tornado for me, and the guys have been fantastic in supporting me through a difficult year. I’ve probably sat back and done the least to be honest, but the guys have been supportive and understanding of this.


Magic for the NHS

Q - What does the future hold for magic in your opinion and what (if anything) needs to happen to make sure it thrives again?


Pete Whitmore - Firstly as a close up performer, a lot of what we do involves interaction, we borrow things to use, we ask spectators to hold things or choose things. We have to respect that a lot of people are not going to be confident at close contact and handling things for a while, so it's going to be a case of changing a lot of the routines or things we do to accommodate that. For example, when signing a card, some people may not be comfortable handing cards, so asking for a word or symbol we can write so they can recognise the card again later in an effect. I think the greatest gift in magic is the gift of making someone feel special, so personally I’m not comfortable just doing tricks/effects that are all ‘look at me, look what I can do’, so it's finding ways of doing effects where the spectator feels like they're special if possible. As for magic striving again, it will just take time, it's another learning process, until we get out there and perform, I don’t think anyone truly knows how it’s going to go. The only way we can help is by doing what our spectators are comfortable with us doing, we will have to adapt to what they are comfortable with.


Q - What achievement in magic are you particularly proud of and do you have any burning ambitions?


Pete Whitmore - I am proud that I passed my first audition at the Leicester Magic Circle, I am proud of the Leicester Magicians Network, we have a great membership, it feels more like family than a club. As for ambitions, the first is for the LMN to be the best it can be, to watch our members be the best at what they do. I genuinely get great pleasure watching people improve and grow and become better performers, better magicians. Lacking confidence in the past, helping someone gain more confidence and be the best they can is rewarding for me. My only other ambition is to get back out there performing with real people and becoming the best I can be.




To book Pete or learn more about his services, take a look at his website and social sites below.


Website

FaceBook

Leicester Magicians Network


The Leicester Magicians Network


The club is always actively recruiting new members.

For more details if you wish to attend, you can contact here. Should you be interested in joining our club, please visit our “join us” page.

LMN


Email- leicestermagiciansnetwork@gmail.com


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