rom performing in restaurants while juggling a day job in IT to initiating a continent-wide production company, Marcel Oudejans has created a life in magic \u2013 for himself as well as others. Founder of Cape Town Magic Club and producer of Monday Night Magic \u2013 which has run for six seasons in two years and preparing for its seventh in Spring 2018 \u2013 Oudejans established Magic Africa Productions earlier this year with the aim of using his knowledge and experience to promote the art of magic as widely as possible. \u201cIt\u2019s been a learning curve,\u201d says Oudejans. \u201cFirst it was learning the magic; then how to sell the magic. Learning how to make my own show came next, and then how to produce a show with a bunch of magicians. Now it\u2019s learning how to take that show and travel with it.\u201d With 15 full-time years in magic, Oudejans says it\u2019s now less about the magic tricks and more \u201chow to create these shows and sell them and spread out with them\u201d as he creates a community of performers who collaborate under the Magic Africa Productions umbrella rather than compete. \u201cThat\u2019s the transition I\u2019m going through. I still love the show \u2026 don't get me wrong, I love performing!\u201d he laughs. \u201cBut it\u2019s not the full-time job right now. Instead of looking at myself as an independent performer trying to make only my own productions, it\u2019s more about \u2018How do I take all of these guys and create a production?\u2019.\u201d Unlike the age-old question of the chicken and the egg, when it comes to Magic Africa Productions and Monday Night Magic, we know which one came first. When\u00a0 American illusionist and entertainer John Lenahan was in Cape Town in 2010 for the Funny Festival, it was over drinks with him that Oudejans happened to mention theatres wouldn\u2019t let magicians play in their spaces. Lenahan\u2019s solution was\u00a0simple: \u201cbook your own theatre!\u201d. Speaking from his personal experience, Lenahan \u2013 who has been living in the UK since the mid-1980s \u2013 has produced and Monday Night Magic in London for more than two decades. The concept is also found in New York City ( http:\/\/www.mondaynightmagic.com\/ ) \u201cWe take a place that\u2019s dark, put people inside it and create a variety show revolving around magic. Why don\u2019t you do it?\u201d said Lenahan. And Oudejans replied: \u201cThat\u2019s a frikking good idea.\u201d This happened before knowing where it was going to be set up, and it took another five years before the right venue was found \u2013 Cape Town Club in Queen Victoria Street. Presented by Cape Town Magic Club, the mission was to always do shows on Mondays because it is consistent in that brand and it\u2019s much easier to book performers because they\u2019re not usually otherwise occupied, explains Oudejans. By building a community of performers with a common goal, Monday Night Magic, with its variety of acts from carnival stunts to mentalism, has reached a wide audience of magic enthusiasts. A major factor in the success of Monday Night Magic is its fully immersive experience, something which Oudejans learned while performing with Madame Zingara, at the original restaurant as well as the Theatre Of Dreams. \u201cI was performing for the right people in the right places. Zingara was where most of the people I\u2019ve done business with now met me for the first time,\u201d he says. \u201cIt\u2019s something I was \u2013 am \u2013 very proud of. It was a great gig to do, and it was a huge influence on what I wanted for Monday Night Magic.\u201d aving creative control over all the elements such as d\u00e9cor, lighting and music, contributes to the excitement and expectations of the spectators that they are about to witness something quite remarkable when the curtain goes up. \u201cYou don\u2019t really get to play with that when you do corporate events; you don\u2019t get to influence that,\u201d says Oudejans, referring to yet another hat he wears. \u201cEven when I was doing my one-man theatre shows for festivals, you are limited as to how much stuff you can put into your theatre. It\u2019s got to be quick. Even now when I do corporate events and gala dinners, everything must fit into one suitcase. If it\u2019s only hand luggage, even better.\u201d All of this filters through to Magic Africa Productions: \u201cWhat happens now is, whether I\u2019m booking performers for a production, at a festival, a theatre, or whether a company is calling me for a magician to entertain at their event, I am an executive producer. I get to understand how to present to the client, captivate their audience, and how to get the best out of the entertainer they\u2019re booking,\u201d he explains. Thus it becomes much more fulfilling for Oudejans to be able to grow magic than it is it to grow his own personal brand. \u201cLet\u2019s face it - if I was going to be famous, it would have happened by now,\u201d he says. \u201cWhich is also cool because I\u2019ve always been extremely aware of the career of magic rather than the 'flash in the pan' celeb status. I had to make it a long-term business decision." \u201cBy the time I\u2019m 50 there are going to be guys who are 21 \u2013 my age when I got into it \u2013 who are going to be the flavour of the month then. It\u2019s far better for me to help them grow into the industry and create a platform for them, and ultimately create a business from it, than to resent the fact these young guys are getting the gigs.\u201d By laying the foundation for the future of magic in Africa, Oudejans is building a foundation for his own evolving career. Everybody wins.