Local magician on the hard work of diversifying her domain

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Crafts and industries of all kinds are trying to do more to foster diversity and inclusion. This includes the performing arts, where the practice of magic has a particularly dismal record when it comes to featuring women, people of color, people from the LGBTQ + community, and people with different abilities. .

A group of magicians, including a local in Boston, are trying to change that. Felice Ling is on the leadership team for the inaugural Inclusion and Diversity in Magic conference, due to be held next month.

Ling is the founder and executive producer of the Boston Magic Lab. In an interview with GBH All things Considered host Arun Rath, she described the lab as a monthly showcase where new wizards can develop their skills – and the more experienced can try out new tricks.

“I think the other mission of [of the Boston Magic Lab] is very much related to the mission of the IDM conference, ”Ling said,“ that is, we are trying to strengthen the diversity of local talent. ”

The lab hosted virtual shows during the pandemic, which Ling says helped them in their goal of presenting a diverse group of magicians.

“When we went online, we had access to talent from all over the world,” Ling said. “When you have access to people all over the world, there really is no excuse for having a list of all white men. ”

Although many performing arts organizations have struggled amid the pandemic, Ling said going virtual has helped the Boston Magic Lab gain greater visibility.

Courtesy of Felice Ling

“When we went online, our audience kind of exploded and became something that people all over the world could watch if they wanted to,” she said.

The Boston Magic Lab is scheduled to resume live performances at the Rozzie Square Theater in Roslindale in October. Prior to that, Ling will help lead the Inclusion and Diversity in Magic conference, which is scheduled for late August.

The conference leadership team includes people of color, people from the LGBTQ + community, people with different abilities and a member of the autism spectrum, Ling said.

The inaugural lecture provides an opportunity to reassess the history of magic – which Ling says has been more diverse than one might expect – and to elevate current magicians in a more inclusive way.

“The goal is to have a conference where the history of performers and the experiences of performers that exist, but we don’t really hear much about it,” Ling said. “Representation matters. ”


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