Ruth Ewan: Sympathetic Magick

Hieronymus Bosch, The Conjurer, 1502. Collection of Musée Municipal, Saint-Germain-en-Laye.

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Sympathetic Magick is a new project devised by artist Ruth Ewan for the Festival which uses the ancient art of street performance to bring magic onto the streets of Edinburgh.

Ewan often creates artworks as a direct response to particular public spaces, and her projects involve a process of focused research and close collaboration. Her proposal responds to the street theatre of Edinburgh at Festival time, and is the result of a collaboration with magician Ian Saville, who has worked with Marxist magic and ventriloquism for over 30 years. Ewan and Saville have recruited a cohort of professional and amateur magician collaborators, with whom they will devise a series of ‘political magic tricks’ to infiltrate the streets of Edinburgh during the Art Festival.

Visitors can expect to come across magical experiences such as ‘The Class Struggle Rope Trick’ or other political magic tricks developed during the project around the Festival as part of the street performance on the High Street, or in programmed performances at venues including Palm House and Edinburgh museums and pubs.

Ruth Ewan’s practice often explores overlooked historic figures and movements, bringing to light radical ideals in order to question how we might live today.

Full details of the performances can be found in our Events section.


26 July - 26 August

Mon - Sun, 10am - 6pm


Various venues