A MAGICIAN has set up the smallest private theatre in Essex – in his garage.

Tony Draper – stage name Anthony Dee – has created the Magic Garage Theatre after his wife Jane suggested he built a rehearsal room.

After five months of DIY, the small room was transformed, into a theatre, which seats 12 adults and six children.

Two acclaimed international magicians, members of the magic circle, and Adrian Fox, president of the Southend Sorcerers Society, will officially open the theatre later this month. Mr Draper, 64, of Common Hall Lane, Hadleigh, is also a member of the Southend Sorcerers Society and says he hopes to use the space as a magic school, as well as for rehearsing his act.

He said: “It was somewhere to rehearse and it spiralled from there.

“There has been some interest from amateur dramatics groups to use it, to put on small, private plays.

“Hopefully we are thinking about a magic school or something. It could be one where they come on a Saturday morning just to learn the basics.”

Mr Draper, who has a lifelong passion for magic, has also started teaching his grandchildren.

He said: “I started when I was about 12 or 13. I watched other magicians, people like David Nixon, on the London Palladium. The type of magic I do is the classic stuff, and my stage act is mainly classic magic.

“What I have found is it gives children so much confidence. Children who are shy get to do something really well and they can perform in front of mums and dads and it gives them lots of confidence. I had not much confidence when I was young and that is what brought me out.

“Four of my grandchildren live in Canada. They are coming over at Christmas and they want me to teach magic, so they can take it back to show their friends.”