Meet a Teen Filled With Magic

Magician Nicola Gidley
Magician Nicola Gidley

Magician Nicola Gidley of Australia pulls a rabbit out of a hat.

The Melbourne Magic Festival in Australia bedazzles wizarding fans of all ages. This year, the festival was held on July 7 at the Arts Centre Melbourne.

The annual event includes the Junior Championships of Magic, a showcase for Australia’s aspiring magicians under the age of 18. This year’s contestants included Nicola Gidley, 16, who competed in both the stage magic and close-up magic competitions.

For her stage act, Nicola performed a soccer routine: She levitated a soccer ball and somehow caused a whistle to vanish. For the close-up act, Nicola performed mind-bending tricks with Rubik’s Cubes. Her impressive routines earned her third prize in both competitions.



At 16, Nicola already has a flair for awe-inspiring illusion. She entered the world of magic when she was just 12, almost by chance.

After injuring her knee playing cricket, Nicola needed surgery. This left her on crutches for three months. With nothing to do, she found a deck of cards and began to “learn simple tricks off YouTube,” she said. “Then I moved on to bigger and better things, such as tricks with rabbits and doves.”



Nicola’s hard work has been paying off. Just last year, she was awarded a full scholarship to the prestigious Tannen’s Magic Camp in Pennsylvania. The camp is situated in a “Harry Potter-like castle,” Nicola explained, where students participate in classes and workshops run by leading magicians. 

Stepping onstage in front of an audience can be anxiety-provoking, Nicola acknowledged. “But with each show,” she added, “I become more and more confident.”  

When asked for advice for aspiring magicians, Nicola said: “Perform any chance you get. The more experience you have on stage in front of an audience, the better you become as a performer and a magician.”

Photo courtesy of Nicola Gidley