Armagh magician Caolan McBride, is set to star in Cahoots NI’s latest immersive magical digital theatre experience.

The University of Wonder and Imagination is an hour-long interactive digital theatre production that allows audiences to effectively direct the performance, based on their interaction with the performers from the comfort of their own home.

In this ambitious and innovative undertaking, Caolan will be part of the Cahoots NI team broadcasting from an extensive, purpose-built set in Belfast, where magic and illusion have no boundaries.

The 37-year-old said he was looking forward to taking part, and can’t wait until audiences get to experience it.

“The ideas that were being talked about when I was approached were so exciting,” Caolan explained.

“Especially how the Magic could be presented online.

“From a magician’s point of view there were things I hadn’t seen done anywhere before and I knew early on that something special was happening, so I had to be involved.”

The show will have it’s Northern Ireland premiere as part of this year’s Belfast International Arts Festival running from October 22nd – 25th and 29th – November 1.

And, the Armagh native believes the University of Wonder and Imagination will be something special.

“In our current world the online format has become so important,” Caolan said. “I love Cahoots NI.’s take on the format because it’s equally ambitious and distinctive.

“There are things happening that only Cahoots NI could pull off so it’s a joy to be working in that world.”

The magician is no stranger to working for the theatre company.

“I first started performing with Cahoots NI back in 2005 not long after I became a full-time performer,” he explained. “What I like most is the end product. I absolutely love their shows and I know first hand the joy that they bring to audiences all over the world.

“To get to be a part of sharing that joy with the audience is exactly why I became a Magician in the first place.

“I am bursting to tell you all about the amazing things that happen in this show, but I won’t spoil it…All I will say is book tickets, you will experience something truly Magical.

Speaking about the new production, Paul Bosco Mc Eneaney, Creator/Director of The University of Wonder and Imagination, and Artistic Director of Cahoots NI, said: “We are thrilled to be opening the doors of the University of Wonder and Imagination for enrolment.

“Now, more than ever, we want to capture the sheer joy and wonder that theatre and live performance brings young audiences, something we so desperately miss being able to provide at this time. We have worked hard to create an experience that would act as a first step to bridge the gap between young people and live theatre that can be enjoyed at home.

“Developing this production has allowed us to explore a completely new channel through which to bring magic and illusion to children and their families via digital technology. The choices our audiences make live, during the event, will shape their unique theatre experience – and that’s hugely exciting for us.

“The technology we are using for the production is intricate, but it will be seamlessly blended with physical sets and magical illusions. Our audiences haven’t seen anything like this from Cahoots NI before, and we believe it will be a fun-filled, thrilling experience for children, for their families and for our cast and crew to be a part of.”

The University of Wonder and Imagination is supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

Caoileann Curry-Thompson, Arts Development Officer for Drama and Dance, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, said: “Despite the enormous challenges presented to the Arts as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, Cahoots NI continues to offer audiences world-class children’s theatre with their latest show, The University of Wonder and Imagination, this Autumn.

“This latest show promises to be a wonder to behold! The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is hugely proud to support this terrific production which will be enjoyed by many online, helping to bring great art to everyone.”

Cahoots NI is at the forefront of Northern Irish theatre and is the leading professional theatre company producing work for children. Since beginning operations in 2001, Cahoots NI has produced original, critically acclaimed work for children including Under the Hawthorn Tree, Secrets of Space, Shh! We have a Plan and has toured its work internationally including in China and the USA.

For more information go to cahootsni.com or follow Cahoots NI on social media #UniversityofWonder #CahootsNI

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