It was a pack of cards and an encounter with a famous comedian and magician that turned the young Steve Wilson from curious teenager into budding child magician. Little did he know then that these experiences would lead to a 25 year relationship with Circusful, formerly Belfast Community Circus School.
“My fondest memory was meeting Tommy Cooper at a magic convention in London. I was a wee nipper of 13 and he was a giant.”
“I bought some cards in Hamleys toy store in London in the 70s and this pack of cards got me into magic,” he explained.
After establishing his career as a professional magician, performing at the likes of the Royal Silver Jubilee Celebrations in London and at children’s parties, Steve moved to Ireland permanently in 2000.
His connections with the Belfast Circus School via fellow Circusful performer, Bucky The Clown, led to Steve creating the building blocks of his original character, “Wonderful World of Mr Wizzy”.
“I wasn’t very academically good so I was always going to be a performer. I did workshops, and some shadowing for the first month to get up to a certain skill level”
“It’s all Bucky’s fault but I’ve never looked back.”
Originally, Mr Wizzy performed as a double act around Ireland showcasing highly visual and entertaining mobile performances.
During his early career, Steve took part in the Special Olympics ceremony held in Dublin where he brushed shoulders with U2, The Corrs and Bon Jovi.
“Back in the day we did the Special Olympics at Croke Park. We were there for three days and Nelson Mandela was there but hadn’t arrived yet so someone was invited to get up on stage to be him for the camera angles. So I went up.
“We did a big finish for 30K people in 7 minutes.” he explained.
When he isn’t performing, Steve enjoys his role as a Circusful trainer where he teaches workshops to enthusiastic participants who have the opportunity to learn new skills, gain confidence, build resilience and make long lasting friendships.
“We’ve got them all wired. It helps to build their self-esteem for school or a whole range of things. Circus breaks down all the barriers. It’s not like rugby at school where if you don’t fit in, you’ll be singled out. It’s not competitive at all”.
Over the years, Mr Wizzy has led classes for disabled people and people who are recovering from strokes, he finds this work the most fulfilling.
“One of the things we have been doing over the years are workshops with disabled people which I love with a passion, I must say. When we come back from the workshops, we can’t believe that we’ve had the privilege to work in this way – it’s very rewarding.”
Steve worked with a woman who had had a stroke a few years ago. “This lady was blind and I used juggling balls with her and she held a juggling ball and burst into tears as her carers had all told her she couldn’t feel anything in her hand.”
Although his colourful career has meant he’s travelled far and wide and performed to a variety of people, Steve believes that Belfast is the perfect place to do what he loves.
“My favourite place to perform is undoubtedly Belfast because we know everybody from the school, so we don’t have to try too hard to get an audience.
“We already know the people in the audience and with the Festival of Fools, we have theatre on our doorsteps here – it’s brilliant.” he said.
Steve continues to move forward with the tight knit Circusful family to connect, empower and inspire the people of Northern Ireland and beyond through high-quality circus tuition and performance.
“It’s a family. It’s the circus family.”To find out how you can get involved with Circusful, visit https://circusful.org