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Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Magic act to reappear online

Hunter-based magician Joel Howlett will reappear online after being forced to postpone his April school holiday shows due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Howlett, from JD’s World of Magic, has worked with the team from Lake Mac Libraries to come up with a creative solution for his audiences.

A free series of videos are available to teach aspiring magicians’ simple tricks with household items while in self-isolation.

Though he is disappointed about the need to postpone his events, Howlett wants to help spread some fun and joy during a difficult and stressful time.

“The time off will give me a chance to work on new magic and to spend time with my first child, who is expected to magically appear in three weeks,” he said.

Howlett is also a juggler and speaker and has appeared on The Today Show, Hey Hey It’s Saturday and Mornings With Kerri Anne, while he’s also performed internationally in the United States and New Zealand.

In 2018, he won the City of Newcastle Drama Association (CONDA) award for Best Theatrical Event.

Apart from Howlett’s magic shows, talks from authors and weekly storytime sessions will be produced digitally as part of Lake Macquarie City Council’s shift towards online learning.

Moves are underway for programs to appear via Lake Mac Libraries and the Museum of Art and Culture (MAC) websites, while other services traditionally provided face-to-face will be livestreamed through platforms such as Zoom.

Lake Macquarie City Council’s Manager Arts, Culture and Tourism, Jacqui Hemsley, said it planned to digitise learning content and resources for some time, but the COVID-19 pandemic had sped up the process.

Hemsley added some other artists or local talent already booked for in-person school holiday workshops would instead be engaged to provide online videos or webinars.

“We’re hoping to livestream art classes, for example,” Hemsley said.

“These services are the next-best thing to being there in person.

“People can interact, they can see what’s happening live, and they can feel engaged with their community.”

You can view more videos online by following Lake Mac Arts and Libraries YouTube channel.