Artist Spotlight: Michael Conway

Michael Conway, a local St. John’s magician, makes jaws drop around the province with his unreal magic shows for all ages


Whether the tricks are big or small, intricate or not, sleight of hand is the true art of any magician. Michael Conway, a local St. John’s magician, makes jaws drop around the province with his unreal magic shows for all ages. From card tricks, to big stage illusions, Conway is sure to impress.

Dollar Store Dreams

The Newfoundland born and raised magician began his journey into magic at the young age of 12 years old.

“I got a book from the dollar store that just taught you some simple little tricks, I showed my family and friends and they seemed to enjoy it,” Conway explained in an interview with The Herald.

“Then I got out of it for a couple of years, and when I was about 15 years old I saw a magician on TV, like a street magician. The reaction I saw, like people were flippin’ out over card tricks and stuff, that kind of sparked the interest again. So, I learned a few card tricks. I was in high school, and it just kind of snowballed. Every week, learning new tricks and it just kinda grew bigger, and hopefully better,” he shared with a laugh.

Conway may have started out with simple, yet impressive card tricks, but he has worked his way up to more complex stage illusions as well. For example, in 2017, Conway performed a straight jacket escape at The Dymond Studded Menagerie of Oddities, which took place at the Velvet Nightclub and Lounge in St. John’s. “Cards were how I really started but I’m kind of a jack of all trades, I do everything from card tricks to big stage illusions.”

“I was an electrician for five years. The economy as it is right now, I got laid off, just over a year ago now. So it’s been full time magic. It lit a fire under me, kinda kicked me into living my dream job,” Conway explained.

“I’d say about 2008 I started doing bigger things. Started stringing together tricks, making routines, putting shows together. I’d go to birthday parties, worked my way up. Kids birthday parties, that’s what you call in the trenches for a performer,” he shared with a laugh. 

“It’s a good way to learn though, because the kids you know, they’re the best critic. If they don’t like something they’ll scream at ya.”

Conway has travelled all over Newfoundland, sometimes bringing along a few people, depending on the size of the show. Within Newfoundland he’s travelled as far as St. Anthony, where he performed at the Iceberg Festival back in June.

“Last February I also did a show out in Grand Falls in their Arts & Culture Centre, so it’s a bigger venue, I’d say it’s about 500 seats, that was fun,” Conway recalls. “We just had a show, the 15 and 16 of December, in the Barbara Barrett Theatre. It was smaller, about 80 seats. It’s nice for a magic show, it’s more intimate. You don’t need a microphone, people can actually see your cards and stuff, it’s nice.”

Conway doesn’t always stick to performing at solo shows, he also takes part in festivals like busker festivals, kids expos, private events, and has even showcased his talent on TV during a YTV Summer Spot in 2016, and an up-close and personal interview with CBC in 2015.

Predicting The Future

Well, Conway is a magician, not a psychic. Even though he can’t actually predict the future, the guy’s got some big plans for the next few years, and beyond.

“Next bigger public show for here will probably be the Busker Festival in August, that’s something I try and do every year. I use to play in summer shows but it was a lot of work and it’s so hard to bring people in when they’re on their summer holidays and the weather is nice, it’s hard to sell seats.”

As for his future plans as a magician, career wise, he has a pretty solid and unique plan already in the works.

“I’d like to live here, but I’d like to travel. My dream job would be to work on a cruise ship,” Conway admits.

“What it is, they’ll sign you up for a contract. The contract can be anywhere from one week to six months but a lot of people make their living as entertainers, you know, just sailing on different ships all around the world. Do a magic show twice a week and just travel and see the world. I’m working towards that right now, working on promo videos and contacts and whatnot. So hopefully it comes around. Everything’s up in the air for me at this point.”

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