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INTERVIEW: Derren Brown brings 'SHOWMAN' tour to Stockton Globe
From October 18th -22nd, 2022, Derren Brown, the ever-popular multi-award-winning master of mind control and illusion, will be visiting the Stockton Globe with his new show,SHOWMAN, his biggest show for 20 years.
Derren commented: “2022 will be the biggest tour I’ve done in 20 years. It’s exciting and daunting and I’m considering a bigger suitcase. Maybe even a four-wheeler. It’s madness
and I can’t wait.”
The content of Showman remains a closely guarded secret, but Derren has revealed: “The
heart of the show is about remembering what’s important. Like how the very things that we
find most isolating in life - our fears and difficulties - actually connect us. Framed with what I
think will be some extraordinary demonstrations of my voodoo”.
We sat down with Derren to discuss his new tour:
As you embark on the 2022 leg of the SHOWMAN tour, looking back, what would you
say was the inspiration behind the show?
Funnily enough, the show was written pre-lockdown, about how the things in life that feel
most isolating actually tend to be the very things that we share. And then this literal play-out
of that idea happens, globally. So that has remained at its heart - it has a gentle thread about how we share our human difficulties, and the value of remembering what’s important.
The 2022 SHOWMAN tour is the largest you’ve ever undertaken. What do you see as
your main personal challenges?
Yes, I’ll be touring March to November, which is very long for me, but I’m hugely looking
forward to it. It’s such an enjoyable process, and I’m with the best bunch of people, and I get to have my days free, which is quite a luxury. My main personal challenge is to have things to occupy me during the day. It’s a great time to be writing, so I tend to concentrate on that.
The show is garnering rave reviews. Does this put extra pressure on you or does it act
as a confidence booster?
Yes, I think it’s had the best response of any show I’ve done. It’s lovely to know, and a happy
thing to read people’s responses right after a show on Twitter, but ultimately, in order to do it
night after night, I can only really be concerned about the relationship between me and the
particular audience in front of me. I think about that; I think about whether I’m enjoying it and bringing to it what I must; I think about how I will spend my days; I think about how my little team are and whether they’re happy and doing a good job. And it’s always hard for any
performer in a relationship, leaving your partner at home to deal with all the day-to-day stuff
while you’re off ‘having fun with your friends’. Navigating that takes up mental space too.
Those are really all my concerns. As far as reviews go, if they all had the same grumble, I’m
sure we’d look at changing what was obviously a problem. But as long as they’re all very
happy, they don’t really take up any space in my head. Which is the best way.
Would you say SHOWMAN is your most personal theatrical show to date?
Definitely. And it’s a real treat to do for exactly that reason. And to have people respond to it
so well night after night make it even more so.
Which is your favourite of the TV shows / documentaries you’ve done?
Maybe Apocalypse. It was such a mammoth, mad, ambitious thing, and such an emotional
journey for all of us. Steve and I are still good friends and he’s doing very well. But the shows that have meant something important to the person going through it: those will always be the ones that I’ll remember most fondly.
Looking back, what did you want to be when you were a kid?
A vet! Because I loved animals. And I think I wanted to be a poet at some point. I studied
later to be a lawyer, but that was no fun. I soon preferred the idea becoming a magician. I
thought it was important to know the way I wanted my life to feel, and I knew I wanted to be in charge of how I spent my time, when I worked, when I woke up in the morning and so on. So as I was good at magic, it made sense to try to do it as a job. If the magic hadn’t worked out, I’d have found something else that still gave me those things I thought were important. I’ve always thought like that: I’ve never had any ambition or thought much about where I wanted to be in the future. Just tried to make things feel right in the present and do things that seemed interesting or fun.
Looking forward, what ambitions do you hope to achieve?
For all the above reasons, I have none. I’m more interested in seeing what life brings as I get older and how I can try and remain in an easy accordance with it.
Your latest book, A BOOK OF SECRETS, advises us to embrace uncertainty and
consider the value of difficulty in our lives – which appears particularly relevant in
these Covid times. Did the pandemic influence the book?
Yes, I started it in New York pre-pandemic and finished it during the second lock down. The
previous book, Happy (and its baby brother, A Little Happier) are about Stoicism which I think is very useful. But there is much more to be said about the human experience, and this book is about ways of navigating difficulty that are more about connection, rather than drawing your centre of gravity within.
Finally, what new projects are you working on?
I’m co-creating a production of the Invisible Man; I’m helping form an interesting magic-
related event which is in its early days; and I am co-creating a big show which I think will be
rather special for 2023. These all have me firmly behind the scenes, which I’m rather
enjoying. When I have my art studio sorted out at the new house, I’ll be painting again. I’m
also writing a book for magicians, and I have a juicy idea for a new book for the public. And
this eight month stint of Showman… plenty to be getting on with.