Josh Parsons, a young magician who came through our Breathe Magic Intensive Therapy programme aged just 13, (and now a Breathe Magic mentor), has been accepted into the world famous Magic Circle!

Josh, who comes from Haslemere, Surrey and is studying media and communications at Winchester University, has had paralysis down one side of his body since he was four. He said: “I used to be unable to do my shoe laces up, button a shirt or cut my own food. I had two weeks at Breathe Magic Intensive Therapy Programme when I was younger and it was amazing. Learning specially designed magic tricks gave me more dexterity, developing my hand and arm function, boosted my confidence and helped me feel more independent. Breathe Magic helped change my life and it goes way beyond doing a trick. It really does help in everyday life – the skills are transferable. Picking up a ball in a cups and balls routine helped me to develop the grasp I need to pick up a knife and fork and turning a card over in a magic trick is like the function of opening a door handle, something which I had not been able to do.”

“I then went back to Breathe Magic camp as a mentor, helping out the Occupational Therapists and magicians Richard McDougall, Will Houstoun and other members of The Magic Circle who have been so kind to me and all the others doing the courses. Now to be a member of The Magic Circle, like them, is amazing.”

Magic Circle president Noel Britten presented Josh with his membership scroll after examiners deemed his cups and balls routine passed the entrance test. Noel said: “We are delighted to welcome Josh into our society. He approached his cups and balls routine with joy and vivacity and he shared his magic, rather than just showed it, which is a great talent. We as a society are also proud that our members are helping invaluable organisations like Breathe Arts Health Research to carry out their work and to show that magic is not always just about entertainment.”

Breathe Founder and Managing Director Yvonne Farquharson, said: “We run a wide variety of arts and health programmes involving magic, music, dance and much more, which are always co-designed with healthcare professionals and underpinned by scientific research. We are very proud of Josh and all that he has achieved, and this is an example of how arts and health interventions can transform lives. We would like to thank the Magic Circle members who teach at our Breathe Magic Intensive Therapy Programme and are excited to bring it to Gloucestershire in April and London in August 2020.”

Needless to say we are incredibly proud of Josh, his journey with Breathe, and the fact that our programme is having such long-term and profound benefits on the young people we are working with. Check out Josh’s inspiring story in the news below:

The Times, January 2020

Channel 5, January 2020

Josh performing at the J. M. BARRIE AWARDS 2019 @ The Prince of Wales Theatre, London
Action for Children’s Arts,
Robert Piwko Photography

The Magic Circle President Noel Britten and Josh Parsons accepting his Membership 2019, photo by Mark Hesketh Jennings