It is amazing just how many different areas can benefit from the input of a little magic. As an expert conjurer, with a doctorate in magic, Will offers unique skills as a consultant and advisor. Film, television and theatre credits include Martin Scorsese's Hugo, the BBC's Wolf Hall, promotional video for R J Watches DC Comic Villains collaboration, The Almeida's The Twilight Zone and The Royal Opera House's Kát'a Kabanová. Will has also worked on several radio programmes as well as using his magical knowledge to help with a range of other projects. Scroll down to find out more or use the links above to quickly find a particular project.
Martin Scorsese is renowned for his attention to detail and to guarentee that the magic in Hugo met his standards Will, alongside Paul Kieve, was hired as a consultant. His work included ensuring that the magic perfectly fitted the period in which the film was set and training the actors to perform various pieces of card conjuring. Will also supervised the filming of the magic scenes in Shepperton Studios, ensuring that all the magic looked as good as possible. The video above shows an interview that Will gave on Dutch television, during the Rotterdam Film Festival, featuring excerpts from the film and discussing the magic it contains.
The BBC wanted to ensure that everything about their adaptation of Hillary Mantel's Booker Prize winning novel, Wolf Hall, was accurate, so they hired Will to work on a character-defining scene in the first episode. His role involved advising on the printing of cards for use in the series, designing and choreographing a sleight of hand sequence, teaching the piece to Oscar award winning actor Mark Rylance and ensuring that everything went smoothly during filming on location. The series subsequently won a Golden Globe and two BAFTAs.
The Twilight Zone theatre show used the strap-line "Stage magic and fantasy unite as the ordinary becomes extraordinary." To help bring that vision to life Will and Richard Wiseman worked with the actors and creatives to incorporate a number of magical moments, involving cigarettes, newspapers, and more, into the production. They then worked on developing the magic further for the West End transfer, to critical acclaim.
Credit should also go to the illusions of Richard Wiseman and Will Houstoun which allow a detective’s pointer to vanish into thin air and newspaper photos to change their composition before our eyes.
- The Guardian
What particularly makes this show shine are illusions... They’re simple sleight-of-hand tricks, but they never fail to amaze.
- Everything Theatre
Richard Wiseman and Will Houston’s illusions provide constant, stylish entertainment.
- The Arts Desk
The production is enhanced by illusions created by Richard Wiseman and Will Houstoun, including a running gag about smoking.
- Radio Times
Richard Jones wanted to add something special to his Olivier Award nominated production of Kát'a Kabanová at the Royal Opera House, so he enlisted Will's help as a member of the creative team. Will worked with Richard, as well as the movement director (Sarah Fahie), designer (Antony McDonald), Royal Opera House prop builders, chorus and actors, to devise three original illusions for the production. These were carefully developed to perfectly fit the tone and style of the performance, whilst also adding emphasis to key moments in the lead character’s narrative.
When R J Watches launched two luxury limited-edition timepieces based on an official collaboration with DC Comic Villains they wanted something to make their marketing stand out. Will worked with them, through creative agency Foxtrot Papa to develop magic and sleight of hand that would make their promotional videos pop, as well as performing all the on-camera manipulation.
Will's unique perspective on the conjuring has led him to appear on numerous radio programmes discussing the history, culture and philosophy of magic. Stations that have featured his work include BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC World Service and Absolute Radio.
The Victoria and Albert Museum, the Wellcome Trust and Chelsea College of Art have all called on Will's expertise to help them explore the connections between magic, medicine, art and crafts. He has helped the Royal Shakespeare company choreograph a pickpocketing sequence and worked with accountancy firm KPMG to deliver keynote talks as part of their management training programmes. He has also worked with numerous new and old media organisations, such as The Guardian, The Stage and The Independent on their articles and programmes and has even helped Grolsch develop the perfect way to open a swing top bottle!
The Grolsch Swingtop Perfect Serve creates a bit of theatre to the offering as well as a moment to be remembered by customers with a smile. - Henk-Jan Bakker: Travel Retail Manager