Alumni Case Study: Richard Parsons
Award winning magician and member of the Magic Circle, Richard Parsons, caught up with us to discuss his time after leaving Rendcomb.
We heard you were quite the character in school. Did you have any nicknames during your time at Rendcomb?
When I was playing rugby as a prop for the 2nd XV and as captain on the Canadian rugby tour my nickname was Neath due to the short haircut and the welsh rugby club props who had short hair.
When and for how long did you attend Rendcomb College?
I was at Rendcomb from 1986-1991, I started as a boarder in Godman House and then moved up to School house.
Do you have any special memories from your time at Rendcomb?
The two things that stick out in my mind the most (it was a long time ago!) is the sport department and the art department.
I went on two fantastic art trips to Amsterdam and Paris with Mr Griffiths and team and I loved being in the art room – the art teachers were a bit more maverick than the others, almost like friends. They treated us as equals and really loved life and art and expressing yourself, I think back to my time in the art block really fondly and I’m pleased that I did Art A level, even though I don’t paint any more.
Rendcomb placed a huge emphasis on sport and I do remember trudging up to the fields in all weathers, the top field in Winter is an unforgiving place. The rugby teams especially developed a real team spirit within us all, highlighted by our tour to Canada which was fantastic, playing Canadian teams and then lodging with their families.
What have you done since you left Rendcomb?
I have had various jobs and have even started a successful business. Following on from that I decided to start another business of being a full-time professional magician which is what I currently do to this day.
That sounds like an interesting career. How did you end up in that profession?
Magic and close-up magic started as a hobby, but I started to get more and more bookings so over a number of years I turned it into a full-time occupation. It’s a wonderful job and being self employed creates a wonderful sense of freedom, and I’m lucky enough to perform in some amazing venues.
A couple of highlights so far include being flown out last year to perform at a luxury wedding in Spain, and a couple of years ago I was hired to go to Venice for 5 days and stayed in the JW Marriott Hotel on their private island where I did walk-around magic at three large corporate events.
I remember sitting in a massive suite, over looking the beautiful canals of Venice from a balcony, having been transported from the airport in a private speed boat, thinking "There can’t be many jobs that provide this kind of experience".
I also auditioned for and succeeded in joining the world-famous Magic Circle in 2012 which is still one of my most proud achievements. There are only around 1500 in the entire world.
I wonder if any other Old Rendcombians are members of The Magic Circle?
Do you have any advice for our current pupils who are thinking about their next steps?
Yes, I do many talks and magic demonstrations in schools and colleges and my advice is always the same...pursue YOUR passion. So much emphasis is placed on academia, but not everyone excels at academic subjects. Personally I struggled with maths.
Now I tell pupils; if you love dancing, make that your job. Love sculpting? Find a way to earn a living from it. These days, especially with social media, there are so many ways of creating and promoting your own business, you don’t have to be the traditional Doctor, Lawyer etc. Do what YOU love doing.
Is there anything about Rendcomb that has helped get you to where you are today?
The main thing I gleaned from Rendcomb is work ethic; that your destiny is in your own hands.
Work hard at what you want to do and you will see the rewards. Don’t wait for it to happen, make it happen yourself.
To find out more about the Gloucestershire Magician, Richard Parsons, visit: www.gloucestershiremagician.co.uk