Vincent Gambini: Lecturer Augusto Corrieri on his magical alter ego

PUBLISHED: 12:34 25 March 2019

Dr Augusto Corrieri of the University of Sussex (Photo by Jim Holden)

Dr Augusto Corrieri of the University of Sussex (Photo by Jim Holden)

Jim Holden 07590 683036

Last summer lecturer Augusto Corrieri went to the Edinburgh Fringe in the guise of his magical alter ego, Vincent Gambini

Augusto Corrieri lives an intriguing and unusual double life.

By day he’s an artist, writer and drama, theatre and performance lecturer at the University of Sussex. And by night, he’s Vincent Gambini – a postmodern sleight of hand magician who has taken his shows to the grandest of stages.

“In magic, it’s all about enchanting through illusion.When I’m lecturing my job is to teach students to think critically about theatre and see through its illusions,” says Augusto. Focusing on magic in his teenage years, Augusto discovered it was like learning to play a musical instrument – lots of practice.

Not that many people would realise this, “because unlike music, magic is shrouded in secrecy”, he explains.

Augusto attended countless lectures and demonstrations at magic clubs which eventually led to pursuing the discipline. In 1998 he won first prize at the national close-up magic competition in Italy, followed by second place at the international competition in London, having been admitted to the Magic Circle. “After years of learning magic, I realised there was something missing, an awareness of what a performance can be,” says Augusto.

Packing his cards away in the early 2000s, Augusto, with his BA in theatre from Dartington College, worked as a writer and performance artist making solo and group performances for theatres and galleries across the UK and Europe.

A chance invitation in 2013 to a reflection on the links between magic and performance art at Berlin’s Sophiensaele reignited Augusto’s obsession with magic and work on his debut show began. In 2015 he premiered his This Is Not A Magic Show, presenting it in the UK and abroad under the pseudonym, Vincent Gambini.

Vincent presents the tricks with what he calls a “postmodern quality”. “Performing is a pleasure, because the audience are having their mental reactions mirrored back at them.

“I work on sleight of hand and people need to be as close as possible.

“I am interested in how magic can be used to ask questions about theatre, reality, and perception, in the 21st century,” he says.

In 2018 Gambini created the show The Chore of Enchantment, which was developed at the university’s Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts and was presented at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2018, receiving rave reviews.

“It’s an ambitious piece in which there are voice recordings interacting with the live action on stage. It appears that there are two Vincent Gambinis: one is asleep and dreaming, the other is doing a show in the dream.”

Last year also saw Augusto present his book In Place of a Show: What Happens Inside Theatres When Nothing is Happening, performing extracts in the form of lectures at Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts and the Royal Academy in Copenhagen.

As for 2019, it’s going to be a busy year for Augusto, or Vincent Gambini more specifically; firstly creating a new performance and installation at the Chicago Cultural Centre in April. “This is going to be a piece made in response to the work of the seminal Chicago-based performance group Goat Island,” he explains.

A second commission involves a magic-themed room in Blackpool, but otherwise remains fairly secret due to contractual obligations… watch this space! |


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