For my next trick...I’ll appear on national TV

Echo: BA96251 BA96251

A MAGICIAN who transformed his garage into a theatre was hand-picked to show off his hobby on TV.

Tony Draper – stage name AnthonyDee – featured in the Weekend chat show yesterday, hosted by Aled Jones.

Mr Draper caught the eye of ITV producers thanks to his unique garage, which he spent five months lovingly transforming into the smallest theatre in Essex back in 2011.

The Magic Garage Theatre, in Common Hall Lane, Hadleigh, puts on charity shows for audiences of up to 12 adults and six children, and hosts workshops for budding young magicians.

Mr Draper, 67, said: “When we put on shows for various groups, they’re always gobsmacked.

From the outside it looks like a normal garage – but it’s a bit of a tardis.

“I’ve made it a lot bigger and improved the theatre since it first opened. I’ve taken some furniture out and some things off the wall, and put in extra seats.”

His appearance on Weekend was filmed on a webcam via Skype.

Mr Draper was asked to speak on radio stations across the country when the theatre first opened, but yesterday’s TV appearance was a first.

He added: "When you do radio you can look around the room while you’re talking, and it is quite relaxed.

“This time I had to make sure I looked directly at the camera, which was a bit disconcerting. I was nervous.”

Mr Draper, a member of the Southend Sorcerers’ Society, began learning magic tricks when he was 12, after being inspired by big names such as David Nixon.

He decided to transformhis garage after wife Jane suggested he needed a dedicated rehearsal room for his act.

All money raised from shows at his theatre goes to Essex Air Ambulance.

For more information, call 01702 556438.

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