Say the word “magician” and the image of a man in a black suit, waving a wand around, immediately pops into your head.This is the stereotype that Rondebosch resident Santika Naidoo (21), a graduate of the College of Magic and a member of its voluntary teaching staff, wants to change.“Too many girls grow up thinking the only avenue open to them in the magic and illusion industry is that of the ambiguous temptress, standing on the side. But they don’t want to be the one just holding the props or even being the prop. So they begin to believe magic isn’t for girls.”Naidoo, director of the college’s latest production, World of Magic!, is living proof that nothing is further from the truth.The full-time Arts in Film and Television, Psychology and Organisational Psychology student is in her final year at the University of Cape Town.She says her participation in the college’s six-year training programme played a huge role in her decision to pursue a career in entertainment. “The college offers a range of courses. One of them is theatre production which focuses more on the technical side, for example, editing and lighting. My training taught me so many skills and it opened my eyes to the opportunities in the industry.”She says the understanding of how to create a guided and immersive experience is one of the greatest lessons taught to students at the college. “Modern technology and social media have caused us as a society to become distant from one another. But people still crave that feeling of being connected, of being immersed in the moment. With the knowledge I’ve gained, I hope to create that holistic experience for audiences.” So, for her, the reward for heading up this new show as its director is twofold. Besides crafting a magical journey for audiences, she also has the chance to transform the roles of women in the male-dominated magic industry. “We specialise in making the impossible possible at the College of Magic. Having spent years training under the tutelage of strong female magicians, I relished the opportunity to help our young girls find their own voice and performance styles.”The show’s diverse cast features some of the Mother City’s exceptional entertainers, illusionists, clowns and jugglers, all between the ages of 10 and 16. It promises to whisk the audience through a fantastical world filled with illusions, magic, hilarious antics and fun-filled fantasy. When Naidoo and her then codirector, Michelle Gore, were given the task to put together the production at the beginning of the year, they decided to recreate that sense of childlike wonder. Gore withdrew from the project in August to finish her PhD studies in atmospheric sciences at the Tenn State University in the United States of America (USA).“By taking the audience on a journey through the different worlds of magic, the show reminds you what it felt like when everything was still new and exciting; when your desire to explore was bigger than the fear of the unknown,” says Naidoo.Catch the show at the Artscape Theatre on Sunday 6 October at 14:00 and 16:30.Tickets are R165 with discounts for family bookings available. Book at Computicket. V For more information, visit www.collegeofmagic.com, call 021 683 5480 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.