Report on the
10th International Convention of the Magic Lantern Society
by John Hyett - Australian Magic Lantern Society President
Four members of the Australian Magic Lantern Society travelled to Birmingham, UK, to join over 140 other convention delegates, involved in researching and performing reenactments with the magic lantern internationally. The convention was attended by individuals from Japan, USA, Canada, Austria, France, Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.
Some fourteen presentations were made at the Birmingham and Midlands Institute Lyttelton Theatre, across a wide range of subjects. Convention participants heard about American song slides, through to an opera inspired by the story of a young Savoyard girl and her magic lantern. We saw a dramatic re-enactment of the classic Fireman’s Wedding, complete with a 5-minute break for a word from the sponsor just as the fireman is about to rescue the fair maiden from the burning inferno.
The new book of Melbourne-based scholar, Elizabeth Hartrick, The Magic Lantern in Colonial Australia & New Zealand, was on sale. The publication attracted much attention, selling out in the first few hours with orders for more to be sent to the UK and Japan received.
Apart from the friendliness and generosity of all presenters, the highlight to me was the Friday night show at the Crescent Theatre, ‘Magic and the Muse” an outstanding presentation with songs and music of the original pose slides used by Peter Sellers’ mother Peg in the 1930s. The UK convention was a great event and well worth the effort of attending. Those who cannot wait another 4 years for the next convention are reminded that the Magic Lantern Society of the United States and Canada are holding their convention in Canada in April 2018 and the Australasian Convention is again due in late 2018.