A WINCHESTER man has found international success as a magician, even appearing on Britain’s Got Talent.

South Wonston resident Mark Shortland has been performing as a professional magician for around 20 years, after falling in love with performing as a child.

He told the Chronicle: “It was a boyhood interest originally – the standard magic set at Christmas. I was a big fan of Paul Daniels in the 80s when I was growing up, and he had a TV show which I watched.

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Hampshire Chronicle: Mark Shortland Mark Shortland (Image: Max Hutton)

“It all went to one side, until I saw a magician called The Amazing Johnathon on a Christmas show in 1992. It was one of those things where I thought ‘Wow, look at him. That’s amazing, I wish I could do that’, so I started to practice.

“Over the last 20 years, I’ve tried to become my own performer and do my own things in my own way.”

During his career, Mark has performed on dozens of cruise liners and has appeared on TV, including on the American TV special Penn and Teller: Merry Fool Us and in the 2020 series of Britain’s Got Talent.

Speaking on his favourite moments, he said: “Two moments stand out immediately. One would be a cruise that I did in 2017, where I met my wife.

“And the other is Britain’s Got Talent. To do that in 2020, and to walk out onto the London Palladium stage and perform as a solo performer in front of a full house and to receive a standing ovation at the end of it was amazing. It’s the thing you aspire to, to be on the Palladium stage, so to have that moment was brilliant.

“And I was initiated into the Grand Order of Water Rats this July – it’s been a long journey, but it was an amazing day.”

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Mark will be bringing his magical talents to Winchester with a new show, Whimsical Winchester at The Nutshell Theatre in Kings Walk.

He explained: “It’s an idea that I’ve had for a long time to put on a local show. Because I’m international in the way that I travel all around the country and around the world on cruise ships, I wanted to become a bit more well-known locally.

“It’s a one-man show, but I’m hoping it will become a more regular performance that I can do every six months or so, and bring in other performers and try to find local talent that I can showcase.

“The one in October will be my one-man show, two 40-minute halves, where I perform my best stuff.”

Whimsical Winchester will be at the Nutshell Theatre on Friday, October 27. Tickets cost £15 and are available on the theatre’s website.