Citizens of Limerick: Steve Spade

The Irish Times called him “The Irish answer to Houdini” and Steve Spade is well on his way to living up to that title.

“I’m a professional magician and illusionist based in Limerick but I travel and perform all over the country, the UK and the United States.” Born in Limerick, Steve went to Ard Scoil Rís, “In school I was the class clown but I always added in some magic and card tricks to it.” Steve studied radio production and hotel management and has always seen himself as a people person. Showmanship it seems runs in the family as Steve’s sister is a professional wedding singer.

Now as a fulltime magician, illusionist, escape artist and mind reader, Steve has married his various education and experiences in stand-up comedy to create the character that is Steve Spade. “I’ve done a series of escapes in Limerick, some big illusions and I’m planning to do a few more in the future; more Houdini stuff.”

Steve is a huge Houdini fan and a few years ago he was asked to appraise some Houdini memorabilia on Sky Travel’s Baggage Battles.

“I also do straight jacket escapes. I have hurt my shoulder and I’ve dislocated my thumb. It was quite sore, no card tricks for a few weeks. You train as best you can to make these tricks safe. You need to train for safety’s sake.” Speaking about training to be a professional magician, Steve compares it to being a musician, “It’s like anything, like being a musician, you keep practicing the moves. I remember starting the sleight of hand moves and card tricks, I would train three to four hours a day. When you are doing a stunt you can train from 6 weeks to 6 months especially if it is an underwater trick where you have to do a lot of breathing training. A lot goes into it to make it as safe as possible to do. You have to sensible you are human at the end of the day.”

Steve also runs a production company called Spade Lion Productions based in Limerick City.

“We make horror films. I love horror; my Dad is a big fan of horror films. My like of the macabre comes from him. In February this year Screamvention, Ireland’s first horror convention, was held at the Red Cow Hotel. Spade Lion sponsored Kane Hodder, the actor who played the first Jason Voorhees in Friday the 13th, to come to the convention.” Steve also got to show Cavity, a movie he directed starring Karl Shields from Fair City and Veronica Guerin. Steve and Spade Lion productions are now working on a feature length horror movie called iSin. This movie will be made in collaboration with international directors. “We are the only Irish production company working with productions studios from the UK and US. We are currently in pre-production and plan to be shooting after Christmas.

Although Steve’s work means a lot of travel for him, his family, his Limerick-based production company and the people of Limerick keep him coming back. “I think the people of Limerick are solid. I think the people do get behind anything I’ve ever performed and I’ve gotten good support. There’s a great community of artists and creatives in the city, Simon Thompson, he helped me with the Elemental Arts Festival and Zeb Moore. They give so much behind the scenes and they don’t get a lot of recognition. I’ve collaborated with loads of artists throughout the city for different things.”

We have a lot and there is a lot of arts here and it might not be highlighted as much as it is in Galway. The arts college (Limerick School of Art and Design) is fantastic; I’ve done so much with them over the years and their fashion shows. You have well-known fashion designers coming out of there. Limerick’s culture is often bypassed by the media in favour of something else. I have done some work with the Richard Harris Film Festival; I’d love to see that build.

Steve is backing the Limerick2020 bid, “The competition is tough but I wish everything all the best and I would love to see it happen and to do something in collaboration with Culture House in the future; something big.”

If you want to hire Steve Spade for corporate or wedding gigs check out his website www.stevespademagic.com

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