Magical launch for exhibition

A new family-friendly exhibition going on show this coming weekend will delve into the spell-binding world of magic and illusion.

Opening at Weston Park, Sheffield, on Saturday, April 28, Magic Worlds will invite visitors to explore the fantastical realms of witches, wizards and fairies and celebrate the conjuring feats of the finest stage magicians.

Created by the V&A Museum of Childhood, Magic Worlds will bring together over 200 objects to explore the origins and history of magic and celebrate some of our best-loved magical stories. Designed around the themes of fantasy, illusion and enchantment, the exhibition will feature a huge range of costumes, tricks, vintage toys, paintings, ceramics, illustrations, posters, puppets and games.

For hundreds of years, stories of magic and fantasy worlds have captured our imagination. From traditional fairy tales, made famous by writers such as Hans Christian Andersen and the Brothers Grimm, to the worldwide phenomenon of Harry Potter, young and old alike have delighted in being transported to the far off realms of Narnia, Never Never Land and Middle Earth. In the real world, audiences have always been in awe of magicians, delighting in their conjuring skills and grand scale illusions.

Visitors to Magic Worlds will find displays based on their favourite fantasy tales, including Snow White, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan and The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. Objects on show will include replicas of Harry Potter’s broomstick from the film series and the One Ring from The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy, as well as vintage Cinderella and Prince Charming mechanical dancing dolls and puppets of characters from A Midsummer Night’s Dream dating from the 1940s.

Magic Worlds will examine the enduring appeal of the illusionist with a host of stage magic paraphernalia. Visitors will see a range of props including a ‘Zig Zag Girl’, used to seemingly divide a magician’s assistant into thirds, children’s conjuring sets, and posters alongside a variety of optical toys and tricks.

The exhibition will also explore the fantastical world of fairies and magical creatures. The displays will include examples of the Cottingley Fairy photographs which confounded the public in the early 20th century, a 1920s fairy costume, and a host of paintings, illustrations and ceramics drawn from the V&A collections.

Teresa Whittaker, Senior Exhibition Curator at Museums Sheffield said: “‘Even in the 21st century we continue to be amazed by the seemingly impossible feats of conjurors and illusionists, while the success of Harry Potter shows that magic remains at the heart of many of our favourite stories. Magic Worlds is a real celebration of our fascination with all things magical and we’re delighted to be working with the V&A Museum of Childhood once again to share the exhibition with visitors to Weston Park.’

Magic Worlds will open with a grand launch day at Weston Park on Saturday, April 28. On the day there’ll be appearances from ‘Harry Potter’ and ‘Hagrid’, comedy and magic from award-winning magician Steve Faulkner, as well as lots of activities.

Magic Worlds will continue until January 6, 2013. Entry to the exhibition is free.