The magic of Sheffield

Magician Steve Faulkner
Magician Steve Faulkner

Steve Faulkner has been performing his blend of magic and comedy on the street and at theatres, festivals, conferences and other events for 16 years. He was British Street Performing Champion in 2005.

He was brought up in Devon before moving to London where he spent two years at Circus School and 12 years working as a street performer in Covent Garden. Deciding he needed a change he moved to Sheffield about eight years ago and lives in the Ecclesall area with his wife Mandy and children Gracie, aged six, and Woody, one. He will be appearing in a night of comedy and magic at The Greystones in Greystones Road on Monday, joined by John Archer, Alan Hudson and Gary Knights.

Town and country

For the first couple of years I missed London and didn’t really notice what I was lucky enough to be surrounded by.

I was bought up in Sidmouth, Devon, a truly beautiful part of the world but a ghost town in winter. London offered the opposite but after 14 years I needed a change.

Sheffield is the perfect mix of the two. I can walk from my house and go through wood and parkland and reach the Peak District one way, or go down to Ecclesall and town the other. This city seems to be moving forward culturally and physically whilst retaining its own culture and heritage. This is so important to prevent it from becoming generic, like so many of the cities in the UK (and I have worked in all of them!).

Of course what prevents this are its people and its culture. Which is why I love the Ecclesall area so much. It seems to be a perfect mix of people and cultures. It is important for me to feel surrounded by artists, musicians and performers because that is all I have known for years. However, this needs to be balanced with people who are more grounded and this is what this area gives me.

Sheffield is the first place in so many years that feels like home. I travel around the country and find myself driving through the night to get back to this place rather than stay that extra day. I need to wake up in my home city. I don’t think I will ever leave and maybe one day will lose my southern accent and be seen as a local myself…

Endcliffe Park

I love Endcliffe park because it makes me feel part of a community. I can go with the family and always run into someone I know. John Pullen with his fairground rides is a godsend if you have kids and should be a national treasure. And the Endcliffe Park café is run by genuine, down-to-earth people who always make you feel welcome and won’t make you feel like you’ve been robbed. Good honest food and great value.

The Greystones, Greystones Road

A proper pub and a great venue. Another revelation and something that has changed the area for the better. This is where I am holding the Monday night Magic Show. It has a great stage, perfect for all types of performance, and the room is just the right size. It feels intimate without feeling cramped and intimidating. I did a spot at the Merry Hell comedy club and it was lovely.

The Lescar, Sharrowvale Road

Another one that must have been mentioned a lot. I met my wife Mandy in Australia and when we both returned to England I came to visit. She was working and I had to kill an entire evening so I went to the Last Laugh Comedy Club and ended up doing five minutes on stage because the open spot didn’t turn up.

I had no material and I had had too many beers but was received very well by a wonderfully warm, forgiving and generous audience. This was my first introduction to Sheffield people and may have been one of the reasons I became a Sheffield person myself.

Magick Lounge Broad Street

Magicians love magic shops and talking to other magicians. Magick Enterprises, just off Park Square roundabout, is the perfect magic shop and on Saturdays it becomes a bit of a social event for the local magicians. They will make anybody feel welcome.

The owner, Russell Hall, is the perfect person to run such a place. Unpretentious, down-to-earth and quietly passionate about his art. If anybody want to know anything about magic, there is a huge collection of second-hand magic books and DVDs and the guys on a Saturday are always happy to speak to any learning enthusiast.

I don’t get down enough because of family and work commitments but whenever I get a chance I’m there. Magicians can’t really speak with non-magicians about the details of what we do because of the secrecy issue, so it’s so important to have somewhere like this to touch base with others who understand the obsession we have for our craft.

Chatsworth

Going over into Derbyshire to Chatsworth is a regular for us. Great for the kids and a stunning place to walk around. It never gets old for me. It must be the choice of so many people when they are thinking of their favourite place. Many people with children only go into the farm and kids areas but we also love the grounds of the house.

The Showroom Cinema

I love cinema and this is a proper cinema. There is something special about these independent places. To me film is something to immerse yourself in. Not something just to be watched but experienced.

It is important that these places exist, because they provide us with the best movies rather that just the biggest. Film gives us an insight into other cultures through world cinema. Nearly every second of the day seems to be taken up at the moment but when I do get the odd evening this is one of the few places I feel relaxed. Food, drink, film – that’s about all we need for a good evening out.