Ian Saville (born 30 April 1953) is an English magician whose act incorporates ventriloquism and comedy. His performance is distinctive primarily for the fact that it is geared towards a comic form of socialist propaganda. He says of his act, "whereas David Copperfield is content with little tricks like making the Statue of Liberty disappear, I aim at the much more ambitious goal of making International Capitalism and exploitation disappear" although he has not yet succeeded.
He was born in the East End of London, England to Jewish parents. He began conjuring at the age of 11. He reached the semi-finals of the Butlins national talent contest. Becoming interested in theatre, he studied Drama at Exeter University. He toured with the political theatre group Broadside, as well as working in community theatre.
In 1979 he started developing his "socialist magic" act. He cites Bertolt Brecht as a major influence, and one of his shows features a ventriloquists' dummy of Brecht. He has collaborated with left-wing folk singer Leon Rosselson in two shows.
Two of his standard "tricks" are "The Class Struggle Rope Trick" and "The vanish of the military-industrial complex".
In 1990 he received a PhD from City University, London for his thesis on political theatre in Britain in the 1920s and 1930s. He currently teaches part-time on theatre courses at Middlesex University.
In August 2013 he visited the Edinburgh Festival Fringe with a free show about money - the Free Money Magic Show.
His Edinburgh show in 2016 was Revolution in the Magic Square, an allegory on the rise of Jeremy Corbyn.
- Magic For Socialism - official site
- Saville's thesis on political theatre in Britain in the 1920s and 1930s
- on YouTube
- Ian Saville - Short Biography, Magic For Socialism, Retrieved 2007-6-18
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