Christmas Magic 2016, Taichung

13 November, 2016

Considered by many Taiwanese as the most liveable city with its endless restaurants, specialty food shops and night markets, the industrial city of Taichung served as Gateway Entertainment (GE)’s second stop for Christmas Magic’s tour of Taiwan. From music to theatre and the arts, it is also Taiwan’s cultural centre where it prides itself as being host to both internal and local talents, as well as being home to the largest fine arts museum in Asia. It therefore only seemed fitting that Christmas Magic would set foot in this bustling arts home to showcase the best of Singapore's talent. 

The venue for Christmas Magic’s debut in Taichung was Tunghai University – renowned for its sprawling picturesque campus and landmarks. The staging of the show was done in 中正堂 Zhongzheng Hall, a large auditorium in the university mainly used for lectures and examinations. Bumping in, however, was no easy feat for the production crew. For one, compared to Kaohsiung, there was limited allocated space and the large elaborate ornaments and props had to be first carefully brought into the hall, and re-assembled inside the hall and even onstage. It was time consuming and a challenge, but the production crew’s professionalism and tenacity once again ensured that everything was in place before the curtain was lifted for a spectacular performance. 

Another factor that made things difficult was the weather. The crew had to endure chilly temperatures amid low light conditions while setting the outdoor tentages to house props and crew for the duration of the performance. Despite adequate shelter from the cold, the crew worked tirelessly, sometimes throughout the night and in the cold. Thankfully, temperatures improved over the next few days of bump in, much to the relief of everyone. Interestingly enough, Christmas Magic arrived right in the middle of school examinations which were taking place in the same auditorium during the day. This meant that during the initial days of bump in, setup and rehearsals for Christmas Magic could only begin once night fell and students left the venue. 

After final plottings, followed by several rehearsals and dry runs, our one and only show day in Taichung on Sunday, 13 November kicked off early in the morning with local volunteers meeting for a mass briefing on ushering and seats reallocation. Decked in adorable Christmas hats befitting of the occasion, the volunteers were a great help with the seat arrangements and ushering our eager audience members to their allocated seats. It was teamwork and collaboration at its finest, and everyone was grateful for their help. 

The buzz and excitement surrounding the show was heightened even further by the presence of street magicians from Tunghai University’s magic club. The magicians kept the crowd entertained before the show commenced with their skillful tricks and sleight of hand illusions. Many whom we spoke to told us every single club member was very enthusiastic about volunteering to be part of Christmas Magic’s pre-show entertainment because of Lawrence. A well-known celebrity in Taiwan’s magic community, many volunteers used the opportunity see the master illusionist perform live, and to be a part of Christmas Magic’s debut in the city of Taichung.

As with Kaohsiung, the audience was awed and amazed by the performance, calling it a truly “神奇” (magical) show, as its Chinese name suggests. They were responsive throughout the show and not shy to voice their approval after each act. Some unforgettable moments they mentioned include the “Head Chopper” act which kept them at the edge of their seats.

At the end of the two shows on Sunday, we recorded a total attendance of 4900 attendees for both the matinee and night shows in Taichung. With that, we conclude a successful Christmas Magic tour in Taiwan this year!

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