Featured Act Friday: Pete Hathway Street Magic

January 28, 2011


Happy Friday! In the second of our now apparently regular feature; Featured Act Friday (or FAF as all the cool kids are calling it), we'd like to introduce you to one of London's most sought after magicians; Pete Hathway. An award winning Street Magician and 'man who is 6ft 7', Pete has made a name for himself by wowing the likes of Kiefer Sutherland, Mark Ronson, Babyshambles, The Mighty Boosh, Foals, The Last Shadow Puppets, Laura Marling, The Horrors, MGMT and even Neil 'Art Attack' Buchanan. Pete stands out as being the one man who has tricked Jack Bauer and lived to tell the tale (No really, Sutherland is notorious for shooting magicians without provocation.)

Pete has long been one of our best received acts and is heaped with praise wherever we send him so he's earned the Featured Act Friday Crown and Sceptre set that we send to all of the acts we feature on Friday... Crowns are tax deductible, don't worry about it. On with the questions...

Hello! Who are you?

My name’s Pete, and I’m a magician.


What sets you apart from similar acts?

I think my whole approach to performing magic is different to that of most magicians. I try hard to avoid clichés and canned jokes, and try to keep my magic direct and visual. I don’t use any ‘props’ either, aside from everyday objects people might have in their pockets. I don’t take myself too seriously (I hope), but I don’t trivialise the magic either – my goal is to amaze and maybe even slightly scare people, rather than to cheapen the experience with a bad joke and a loud suit.

Visually, I’m pretty different too. As well as performing differently I also dress differently, in an informal ‘street’ style that suits my personality and what I do. This can appeal to younger and, dare I say it, ‘funkier’ companies, whose other option is generally a smug guy in a shiny suit delivering canned put-downs. That said, I frequently wear suits to my smarter and more formal bookings – I just leave the bow-tie at home.

When was your first gig and how old were you?

I was 15, performing in the bar area at a Citroen 2CV rally. I invented some tricks using small 2CV toys and tried unsuccessfully to hide my nerves and shaking hands… It went well though, actually.

What was your first event for Sternberg Clarke?

It was an 18th birthday party in Hammersmith. There were hundreds of excitable 18-year olds sitting around tables and screaming at the slightest event so my job was an easy one…

What has been your favourite Sternberg Clarke Event (and why)?

I’ve worked everywhere with Sternberg Clarke, from a greenhouse to a giant snowglobe, but I think I can safely say that my favourite event was the week I spent in Mumbai, India for a lavish Indian wedding… I was one of the country’s richest families and they had hired out a whole golf course, as well as a whole 5 star hotel and filled it all with champagne and amazing food. The best part was that the client requested I should act as a normal wedding guest who just ‘happened’ to know some tricks… Which meant that I made some friends out there as well as being encouraged to eat, drink and socialise with everyone else…



What would be your dream event?

India came close – anything involving travel is always an exciting experience. I particularly enjoy working for intelligent, sceptical audiences, because they are often the easiest to fool (bizarrely, they tend to fool themselves by coming up with over-complicated theories as to how you did it) and are often more amazed when you manage to do so. Any event where people are having a good time and are not too tied up with networking and/or social climbing is generally fun. I often get booked for music-industry events, for no ther reason, I imagine, that I have long hair.

What would be your nightmare event?

Occasionally, as any magician will tell you, you meet someone who thinks of himself (and it is generally a ‘he’) as the Alpha-male of the group and resents the intrusion of the magician as it takes attention off him. He will, typically, act rudely and insultingly throughout the performance and when his friends eventually tell him to stop he will sulk by pointedly not watching the magic or sniggering with one of his cronies. Normally it’s not too hard to win their friends over and make them look childish, but more than a few of these guys in a night would take the fun out of the event. Add to that some music so loud I have to shout to be heard, and make it so dark I have to tell the audience what is happening, and we’re on our way to a nightmare gig. Cancel the last train home and we’re there.

What would be the greatest canapé you’ve ever eaten?

They’re always pretty good, apart from the fish in custard (seriously) I was served at a car launch event last year, but the one that came to mind immediately was the delicious miniature chocolate puddings I had at the National Theatre last month. Amazing.

Who would you most like to perform with?

Performing alongside other magicians is always fun as a rare opportunity to swap secrets and bitch/brag about our exploits in our weird little profession. As much as I admire loads of magicians however, magic is, in general, an oddly solitary style of performance, and it’s generally going to be just me out there…

What do you do the rest of the time (when you’re not doing your act)?

I spend a lot of time practising and working on new material, as well as doing paperwork and other nightmarish activities. When I’m not doing that I write, skateboard, read, play basketball, listen to music and generally act like an irresponsible teenager. I’m working on a stage show at the moment, and will shortly be adding a cabaret-style mindreading act to my repertoire. The rest of my time is spent eating, sleeping, playing Boggle on the iPad, and thinking I should be doing more with my time.

Thanks Pete!

If you're looking for more info on Pete Hathway or you're interested in booking him - feel free to get in touch on 020 8877 1102 or emailing sales@sternbergclarke.co.uk