Q&A with Magician Gareth Kalyan
22 July 2022
My name is Gareth Kalyan but my professional stage name is “KALYAN” (It’s a bit more interesting than Gareth!) I’m an Actor, Magician and Mind-Reader, specialising in stage shows and theatre, but I love close-up magic and meeting new people
What makes your act special/different from similar acts?
I’d say my personality makes me different, I know that’s quite vague, but I’ve really pushed for a natural approach to performance, and I think this makes for a much warmer connection, which ultimately relaxes spectators which allows them to focus on the act, rather than trying to work out who you are, or who you are trying to be.
How did you get into the industry?
I’ve had a long and varied career, with the most diverse path into becoming a performer; I actually left school and trained as a car mechanic, then continuing on to gain a degree in engineering. I was set to join the McLaren-Mercedes Formula 1 team, and it was during my gap year in 2000 where things took a sharp turn towards performing for a living. While travelling around the West Coast of The US, I was in Las Vegas and met a magician in a shop within Caesars Palace. He showed me a trick where he took my credit card and made it float, needless to say, I was pretty blown away, and from that point on, I ditched the nuts and bolts, and decided that I was going to become a magician! Within 3 years I had joined The Magic Circle, trained as an actor and was working for some major corporate companies, and I’ve never really looked back.
How long have you been performing?
I’ve been a full-time performer for 22 years now. That often confuses people when I tell them, as most people seem to think I look 30
Where are you based?
I’m based in Hertfordshire; Hitchin to be precise. I get to enjoy rural England while only being a 30 minute train journey into central London.
What is the furthest you have traveled for a performance?
I once had to fly to Bali to entertain a family of 4. It was a 36 hour trip, and the show lasted a full 20 minutes!
An interesting fact about you:
I have performed in a professional pantomime, playing the role of The Genie in Aladdin.
What’s the coolest/best/most interesting event you’ve worked on?
Hmm, I’ve actually been really fortunate to have worked on quite a few, but I’d say performing for The Queen during her Diamond Jubilee year in 2012 was definitely one to remember, but to add a bit of contrast, another notable performance was during a week long run of shows in a shopping centre in Kuwait dressed as Jack Frost.
Favourite venue you’ve worked at?
My favourite venue has to be Wembley Stadium – I’m a huge football fan, and there’s just so much history there, and I get to roam around see all of the parts that the public have no access to.
What is your favourite part of performing?
My favourite part of performing is most definitely the interaction that I have with people. I see the time that I have as precious, and so what I do with it means a lot me. I feel as though I get just as much as from spectators as they get from me. I love it.
What changes or exciting plans are coming up in 2023 for you?
I’m working really hard on my character creation. My acting experience means that I’m very comfortable playing with new ideas, mostly for stage work, but I’m trying out some new close-up characters that I think could work really well in the right environment – think “Singing Waiters meets Dom Joly”
What is the most interesting reaction/best feedback you have had from your audience?
I love getting feedback, and the nature of what I do means that I’m fortunate to be on the receiving end of a joyous experience; but the most memorable comment was from a 14 year old girl with Down Syndrome – the whole evening was laid on for a charity event for children with additional needs, and I met some truly inspiring kids, but this girl just had the best sense of humour, and she had me in hysterics as she followed me around from group to group. Later that evening, she was due to give a speech, which she delivered perfectly, however, she closed by telling the group how amazing I was, and how she planned to marry me. The sincerity in her words truly moved me to tears, as indeed all of the feedback that night. It’s something I’ll never forget.