The Magic Theatre was conjured into the park for the 1993 season as part of The Land of Make Believe. More than just your typical magic cabaret act, the show told the story of a magic theatre, first built by the 14th Earl, which had fallen into disuse and abandoned in the Victorian era until it was rediscovered in 1993 by Henry Hound. Inside the theatre lived a puppet rabbit and cat, who had been brought to life through the magic of the theatre.
Location: Land of Make Believe
Opening Year: 1993
Closing Year: 1997
When the curtain went up the Magician was yet to turn up for his performance, leaving his assistant to try to pull off the show’s tricks. Unfortunately every trick he tried went wrong, much to the amusement of Henry and his new friends.
Luckily however at every failure the light would go down and two mysterious figures would appear to complete the trick in question leaving the assistant believing he had done the magic himself. Henry, the cat and the rabbit knew the truth though and spent much of the show mocking his talents; that is until the end of the show when the Magician’s Assistant finally manages to perform a trick of his own making the entire cast disappear and then reappear on the balcony at the back of the theatre.
Other tricks in the show included levitation and making people disappear, as well as Henry getting one of the kids out of the audience to have a go with the show’s guillotine, which magically managed to avoid chopping off the volunteer’s head despite slicing up vegetables in the neighbouring hole. The show also featured song and dance routines created by Phil Winston, a respected name in the industry, who had previously worked on other projects such as the Royal Variety Show.
Henry only starred in the show for its first season as the hound departed the park at the end of the 1993 season, but the show continued without him. The show then ran until The Land of Make Believe closed at the end of 1996, before being replaced by the Children’s Fun Factory, a new music show with magical characters and sing-a-long songs.
Despite the Magic Theatre disappearing at the end of the 1996 season, remnants of the show could be seen right though to the end of the 2011 season, with the balcony where the cast would appear at the end of the show surviving until the theatre was converted into a 4D Cinema.