Manchester Magic & Mentalism Festival – Explanation Of Events & Public Apology To Acts From Jonathan Royle

Manchester Magic & Mentalism Festival

A Public Apology & Statement By Jonathan Royle

It seems that a lot of rumours and Chinese whispers are already starting to circulate about what has or has not been happening at The Manchester Festival of Magic & Mentalism.

It has come to my attention that some individuals are intimating that I am somehow responsible for the organisational disaster that the planned week of amazing events has turned into.

Indeed threads such as this one on the MagicCafe – (you will need to copy and paste this link into your browser) and some others I am aware of on other private forums, have started to highlight that the event And venue have become plagued with issues.

However after one telephone conversation today I have decided that it is perhaps best if I explain fully what has occurred from my point of view, before the usual bunch of “Royle Haters” start Their usual trick of spreading downright lies and/or intimating things that could not be further from the truth.

To that end the details that follow explain exactly how I came to have any involvement in this event and how on the evening of Wednesday 28th March I packed up all my stuff and walked away from this event for good with at least a couple of hundred pounds financial loss to myself in the process.

It all started on the evening of Thursday 2nd February when I saw this posting on the Magic Bunny Forum –

(you will need to copy and paste this link into your browser)

It continued on the morning of Saturday 4th February 2012 when I saw an appeal on the News Section of MagicWeek (issue number 606) which stated:

Festival of Magic and Mentalism in Manchester. Zena Barrie emails: “I’m organising a festival of Magic and Mentalism in Manchester from March 26th – 1st April 2012. If you’re a magician, mentalist, or have a psychic stage show of some kind and you’d like to take part in this new annual festival I’d love you to get in touch with us. The email address is” 4.2.12

I that very morning contacted Zena Barrie the organiser and informed her that I had a Mentalism Show that I was putting together that would be suitable for the event and was booked to appear on the Monday evening of 26th March.

The email confirmation that I got from Zena Barrie at The Kings Arms stated (as I read and understood it) that I would get all of the money taken on the door at the end of my event and indeed that is what I agreed to.

I re-posted Zena’s (the organisers) appeal on my Facebook wall that very same day and received numerous emails from people who are friends of mine on facebook and also from friends of friends asking me how to get involved in the event.

In all cases I pointed out that they needed to contact the official organiser Zena Barrie at The Kings Arms and gave them her contact details, pointing out that my only involvement was that at that time I’d agreed to perform on the Monday night.

Nearly all of those who contacted me ending up also getting back to me and stating that they would be performing at the Week Long Festival as well.

Several asked me if I knew the venue (as they knew I live in Rochdale not to far from Manchester) and if I knew what its facilities were like, which at that time I did not as I’d never been there or into it.

I decided the following week to, whilst in Manchester on other business, to pop into Salford and take a look at the venue so that I could let the people who had contacted me know what it was like and what equipment they had on site.

By this time Zena Barrie (the organiser and wife of the venue owner) had contacted me again asking if I knew of any Hypnotists and Fortune Tellers who would take part in the event.

I obviously put myself forward for the Hypnotist role and together with my Comedy Double Act Partner Harrizon we were booked for the Tuesday Night 27th March.

I also put Zena in touch with Paul Voodini on the fortune tellers front, who due to prior work on the dates she wanted Tarot Readers and such like passed Zena onto one of our mutual friends Jon Scotland who as a Psychic Fair Organiser I believe could easily have helped Zena arrange the Tarot Readers and such like, however I have discovered today that she never contacted Jon regarding this and rather found tarot readers from a source of her own.

This also is how Paul Voodini became booked to present his now cancelled show which was meant to take place tonight Friday 31st March at 10-30pm, but has now been cancelled by Paul, I can only assume in light of the information I passed to all the acts which will become clear as you continue to read.

During this time Zena also indicated that she wanted some kind of NLP Workshop to be run during the festival and asked if I knew anyone, which obviously led to me offering to run a 3 hour workshop on the afternoon of Saturday 31st March from 2pm to 5pm (Now Cancelled)

Anyhow I visited the venue and discovered that whilst they had quite a nice stage area and apparently great Audio System and lighting (although I did not see the stuff in use or working at that time), it was made clear that the venue did not have any radio microphones.

I myself would be taking both my top of the range Sennheiser Tie Clip Lapel Presenters Radio Microphone and also my Hand Held Wireless Mike on the Monday and so told Zena that she could tell acts that if they needed to use one or both of these that they could contact me and I’d loan it to them at no charge for their show.

I was also encouraged around this time by Zena Barrie (the organiser) to spread the word about the festival to help us all sell more tickets, and I agreed as every little helps, but was excited to learn that she’d helped set up Camden Fringe Festival in the past successfully and so would be contacting Local Media and such like to help gain exposure for the 1st Annual Manchester Magic & Mentalism Festival which of course would be beneficial for all performing within it.

Very rapidly all of the acts had been confirmed & subsequently I set up at no charge to the venue or the acts, taking up much of my valuable time, Official Facebook Events pages for Each and every one of the performers scheduled to take part and also a main Festival Events pages so that they would all cross relate to each, the promotion of one show then hopefully helping to promote the other events as well.

I also contacted MagicSeen Magazine to inform them of the event and consequently was told that if I could get reviews of all the shows and performers along with photographs, then they would most likely be able to use these to do a review of the entire event which in my mind would be beneficial to the performers and also to the event as a whole if it were to occur again each year as obviously it was I gather intended to do.

Practically all of these performers got in touch with me about one thing or another connected to the event, resulting in me having agreed to:

a) Lend One or More of My Radio Microphones to many of the performers, at no charge, profit or gain to myself.

b) Agreed to Film their shows at no charge and send them DVD’s of their performance again (with all copyrights on such being retained by the performer themselves in full) at no profit or gain to myself.

c) Agreed to arrange for my Professional Photographer friend to take hundreds of photographs during their show for them and then after the event supply them all of the High Resolution Jpeg Digital Masters from his Professional Camera on a DVD-ROM, with rights to use the photos being given to the performer and all at no profit or gain to either myself or my photographer friend Stuart Cassels aka Harrizon The Hypnotist.

d) Agreed to review the performer’s shows both for intended publication as a feature for magicseen magazine and also for submission to more public arena publications.

e) In the case of my friend and colleague Luca Volpe of Italy I had also agreed to act as Compere for this show and to do a 10 to 15 minute warm up act as Zena Barrie the organiser had demanded a 60 minute show and Luca had indicated his act was only 45 to 50 mins. Again this was done by me at absolutely no charge, and again it was done just because I’d be at the events anyway reviewing them all and because I truly wanted this to be a success for everyone as I honestly believed the idea and concept to be a good one with potential of reoccurring yearly.

I also continued to actively promote the event as a whole (and all of the acts and shows in their entirety) in the odd bit of spare time I get and obviously in a manner that would not incur any investment or loss for myself other than a little time.

I sent details of the event to all magic clubs in the area, well in fact most all of them over the UK to the email addresses shown on their websites and also emailed details to practically all events listings and news sites on the internet and well I did a whole host of other things as well to try and help draw attention to all of the events and performers and to help sell tickets I hoped for all the shows.

Indeed if you use a google search for terms such as “Manchester Festival of Magic & Mentalism” – “Kings Arms Magic Festival” or similar terms it would be fair to say that at least 90% of the results you will get are sites mentioning and plugging the festival thanks to me having emailed them and/or taken the time to fill in and complete their online events listings forms, something which again I did for the benefit and promotion of ALL ACT’s (not just my own shows) at absolutely No charge with my only possible gain being sales to my own shows and workshop during the festival.

That’s basically the background leading up to Monday 26th March when myself and my Hypnosis Double Act Stage Partner and business partner on various projects Stuart Cassels aka Harrizon the Hypnotist arrived at the Kings Arms in Salford at 3pm in the afternoon to get ready for the week.

I met David Igo who was performing before me in the 7-30pm slot and we both went to set up our props in advance of the shows.

It quickly became apparent that the sound desk was not set up correctly and that the lighting was not set in a suitable manner, indeed they had not even finished putting the stage together properly and had not yet put any of the seats out into the performance area which itself seemed very odd indeed.

Fortunately my colleague Harrizon is a trained Sound and Lighting Tech and used to work in major theatres doing such prior to becoming a Pro Hypnotist by night and graphic designer and printer for Showbiz Entertainers by day and so he helped the venues Technician to get everything working correctly so that it would indeed be suitable and useable by all performers, once again at no charge and it was just as well he was around to do this otherwise nobody would have been able to see the acts properly when performing.

An old guy clearly working for the venue, approached me once I’d set all my props (and I had lots of them including a full stage set) at the side of the stage ready for a quick changeover after David Igos act ended at 8-30pm so my stuff would be on stage and ready rapidly thus enabling the new audience to be allowed in without delay for a 9pm start to my show as advertised, and he told me to move them all into the dressing room which was located out through the front of the “mini theatre”.

I explained that this would be a nightmare given that Davids audience would need to leave before I could get my stuff into the performance space and this would take far more time before the audience for my show could be let in.

I also explained that many of my props were set carefully and moving stuff around like this could disturb such and thus disrupt things from working correctly or being in the right place or whatever but his attitude stunk and he in no uncertain terms told me to shift my stuff into the dressing room.

This was despite the fact there was ample space for it at the side of the stage in a manner where it was not in view of the audience and also despite the fact that David Igo had made it clear that he had no problems with my stuff being set there.

So I moved everything into the dressing room, only to later be told by the same old guy with the very bad attitude that I had too much stuff in the dressing room and it was in the way of staff who wanted to use the toilet (you had to go thru the so called changing room where the chairs were stored to get to staff toilet) and now I was told with a very bad attitude and manner from the old guy to shift all my stuff back out of the dressing room and put it somewhere else.

When I asked where, he basically replied in the manner “Well I suppose you’ll just have to stick it at the side of the stage won’t you” – lets just say I really had to bite my tongue, hold my breathe and count to ten.

Anyhow David Igo’s show started at 7-30pm and I seem to recall he had around 11 people turn up.

The show ended and he packed as I re-set the stage with my stuff ready for my show which at 9pm was presented to around 15 people in the room.

After my show David Igo had gone (and I assumed been paid)
As he wanted to get back to Bristol to his wife who was pregnant and due to go into Labour at any time.

I had so much stuff to pack up, having tried out 90 minutes of my brand new full two and a half hour Theatre Show that it was late by the time I’d packed up.

I assumed that Zena the organiser had not come to give me my money because I was busy packing up and when I went to look for her I discovered that she was not on the premises, but I though nothing of it as it was late and as I would be there the next night performing the double hypnosis act with Harrizon and also there all week reviewing and offering technical help for all performers together with my Workshop on Saturday, I figured that I’d either just get my money the next night or all my money at once on the Saturday.

Then Tuesday arrived, there was no 7-30pm show because David Igo had cancelled it a) because he wanted to get back to his wife who was about to go into Labour and b) because there had been next to no advance ticket sales.

At 9-00pm on Tuesday 3 people had booked in advance for the H-Factor Double Act Hypnosis Show with me and Harrizon, and only a few more paid on the night, so by 9-15pm we told everyone to get a refund as it would be pointless doing our show for just 6 people.

One of these disappointed people was Magic Café Member Dr. Steve Hoskins who had booked for both shows and basically ended up with a wasted almost 200 Miles round trip in the process.

It had started to become apparent by this point by careful questioning of people at the venue that next to no external advertising had been done for any of the events by the organisers, and the more we investigated, the more it seemed that the venue had expected all of the acts to do their own advertising and to generate all of their own ticket sales which is most certainly not something that was ever made clear to any of the acts I have spoken to, either by email or on the phone, which is basically practically all of them.

I also again noticed that Zena the so called organiser was not anywhere to be found in the venue when the shows were taking place, something that seemed odd and I thought I’d enquire about the following day when we arrived.

Then Wednesday came, at 7-30pm exactly nobody had turned up to book for Jarvier Jarquins Card Ninja Show, and so he packed up and went off to get a train back to London severely at a financial loss.

We discovered that they most certainly knew the night before that no tickets had sold in advance for his show and so could have contacted him and asked if he wanted to risk the chance of people just booking on the day or whether he’d just sooner cancel and save the expenses that he ended up being out of pocket for.

However Luca Volpe’s show did take place at 9pm with I seem to recall 13 paying audience members present and what a truly wonderful show he did, which I was honoured to act as compere and also warm up act for with another short excerpt from my forthcoming Full Evening Theatre Mentalism Show.

After Luca’s show he asked me whom to get his money from and I said I was sure it would be Zena Barrie the organiser of the events, so I went to look for her whilst Luca started to pack up.

She was no-where to be found and that’s when alarm bells went off in my head and I remembered that I still myself had not been paid anything for my show on Monday night.

With the help of my colleague Harrizon (Stuart Cassels) we asked behind the bar who had Luca’s money and well that’s when the real fun and madness began…

The best way to understand all the events that followed is to read the copy of the email that I sent to all of the acts that had already performed or showed up and then been cancelled along with all of the acts yet to perform – this email I sent to them shortly after 12pm on Thursday 29th March in order that they would be aware of what was going on and could make their own informed decision of whether to continue with their performance and also so they would be able to contact the venue and clarify things about their show not least of which being when would they get their money if indeed there was to be any due to them..




Hi Everyone,

(I’ve sent this email on bulk to all performers advertised for the festival in order to save time due to how many of you I need to contact so please accept my apologies for this non personal email)


It is with great regret that I have to send you this email, in order to give you as much notice as humanly possible that I shall not be present at your event and as such will no longer be able to offer the loan of any of my radio microphones for use in your show.

Further I shall no longer be able to offer you free filming and photos of your show and/or reviews in and on Magicseen, Magicweek and other more public domain publications.

Unfortunately last night, myself and my colleagues were treated in a most wholly unprofessional manner and certain issues regarding the issue of when performers will get paid came to light which combined have led to myself and my business partner withdrawing from any further involvement in this weeks events.

This for the record is the first time in my 33+ year Show-business Career that to date I have ever Cancelled an event, but due to the way we were treated and other issues I felt there was no other choice.

For those who may not be aware (which I suspect is the majority with the exception of John Lenahan and Peter Antonio based on Zena’s comments below) you apparently will NOT get paid the money you are owed on the night of the show.

That is assuming that you sell any tickets as several shows have had to be cancelled so far leaving the performers out of pocket, due mainly we believe to lack of advertising on the part of the venue (certainly as of last night nothing had appeared either editorial or paid adverts in Manchester Evening News or any other local print edition papers)

The email trial (copies of which below) follows explain clearly what has taken place and why myself and my business partner now feel unable to be have any further involvement in this event.

Once again may I sincerely apologize for any incovienience this may cause you, and let me please re-iterate once again (as I have done from the start) that I have not at any time had any official involvement in the organisation of this event and rather had only offered such services for free to performers in order to help us all and try to make the event a success.

Extra apologies to those of you who only offered to take part due to knowing me and having seen me post the request for acts on my facebook wall and other internet mediums.

Sincere Apologies and Best of Luck with your shows now and in the future.

Jonathan Royle aka Alex Smith

PS: If anyone has an email contact for David Paul & Paul Cavendish who are both also advertised to perform on the event, would you please forward this entire email to them as I have accidentally deleted their contact details from my address book – many thanks!


Dear Zena,


It is with great regret that I find myself having to send this email, especially given that I more than anyone had got totally behind the wonderful concept of a Magic & Mentalism Festival and have done all I could around my already busy schedule to promote the week and all of the acts, events and shows without incurring cost to myself.

However I and my colleagues do not take kindly to being told to “F**K Off” by a member of the Kings Arms Staff, just because we were ensuring that we had got all of our equiptment packed up correctly and in full for removal from the venue.

We also don’t take kindly to being blatantly lied to, one moment being told that a cash box is locked in the office and the next its suddenly apparently behind the bar but the keys cannot be found.

When acts have been given the impression they will be paid the money they are due after their event, without any additional information stating that “after” means a week or longer after their event, it is only fair and fully understandable that they would expect their payment in full when they have walked off stage and completed their performance.

Indeed all the acts that have performed and as far as I am aware all of those yet to perform, will have spent their careers either being paid up front for a show, being paid on arrival at the venue or getting their fee in full at the completion of their performance.

Only very rarely would they be working on basis of being paid some time after the event (such as for a corporate event or through an agent) and then only when it has been clearly stated as such being the case in writing, in clear terms and agreed upon prior to the show, as otherwise payment would be expected in full following performance.

To then get excuses galore from bar staff who inform us that you are not on the premises and they can’t get to the money etc, just adds insult to injury, especially when the performer tonight Luca, had to travel back to Milton Keynes prior to travelling back to Italy and was expecting his payment to have been ready the moment he walked off stage so he could get back on the road.

We then after pursing the matter further get a cock and bull story about how all the ticket sales are made online and so until the monies are released to you by the ticket site people cannot be paid.

This especially tonight was nothing more than a poor and transparent excuse, Because only 3 (as we understand it) tickets had sold in advance, with the rest paying cash on the night, so why exactly was it Apprently so hard to find the extra £18 out of the till to pay Luca???

On Monday evening after my show, I too was surprised that you did not come and find me and pay me my money, however I did not kick up a fuss mainly because I knew i would be back on Tuesday and throughout the week and so could just get all my money off you at once including the workshop on Saturday at the same time, however according to what we were finally told tonight (that contradicts the context and meaning of the email from yourself stating that acts get paid after the event
without any clarification of this being way after the event as opposed to the standard of straight after the show) this would not have been the case either.

As such I feel, as I know does Luca Volpe and Harrizon the Hypnotist (and possibly others that have or were already meant to have performed) that we have been seriously misled.

And Certainly tonight we have all been treated in a most
unprofessional manner by Kings Arms Staff (with the exception of Karl the Sound Technician who is a great assett to you and should be given a full time job) and your real nice guy on box office, however neither of these great people had a clue what was going on either.

Eventually I was given a telephone number (after several refusuals of the money being paid to Luca) and told to speak to Zena.

I called the number only to find it was not you Zena, but rather
Michelle who basically stated that she did not make the agreements with performers and so she’d have to call you and then she ended the call.

Ten Minutes later and nobody had called me (you have my number) and nobody had called back on my other number used to make the call to Michelle, niether you, nor Michelle thought it would be professioanal and courteous to call back and say that you’d now sorted it for the bar staff/manager to give Luca his money…

Finally after much, much waiting and wasted time, when Luca could have already been on his way home, he got his money.

And I myself had learnt that the reason you’d not come to find me after my show was because you had no intention of giving me my money that night or indeed anytime this week, in total contradication of the agreement that was made with me, and as confirmed by Luca’s comments to me, with him also and so it would seem with all the acts, namely that of paying them in full after the event.

Given the treatment and lack of professionalism, along with the
obvious lack of advertising efforts on the part of yourselves, We have now removed all our equiptment from the venue and thus there are now niether hand held or tie clip radio microphones available for the acts to use (three of which have used already) and several of those planned for rest of which had indicated they wanted and needed to use to be able to do their acts properly.

Given my prior offer and agreement to them to:

a) Video their shows and have professional photos taken for them also if they so desired..

b) Lend them my radio microphones

c) Review their shows for certain publications,

And given the fact that many acts took me up on one or more of my offers, I am professionally and morally obliged to contact everyone and advise them of the current situation, so that they possibly have time to make alternative arrangements.

GIven that many of the acts also only contacted you to take part after me spreading the word about your posting on Magicweek looking for acts, I feel obliged to ensure that they know exactly how and when they will be paid, as I am certain that the majority if not all of them will be strongly under the impression that they will be getting their money straight after their shows, which is definitely what was implied in the email to me and to Luca, so I’m sure would also be the way others will have understood things prior to agreeing to take part.

I am also obliged to let them know that so far 3 shows have had to be cancelled, one due to Zero ticket sales and one due to only 3 ticket sales thus making the show impossible to do.

Whilst some may be happy to take a gamble on travelling and incurring expense if they know for certain they would get their money (were there to be any sales) on the night, I feel sure that others if not the larger proportion would not be happy to take such a risk, and would see things very differently when they become aware of tonight’s Occurences and revelations.

I shall give you until 12pm (Lunchtime) today to reply by email to this address to clarify:

a) Exactly how and when I shall be paid the monies that I am owed (payment can be made by to

b) Exactly how and when the other acts will be paid, as if indeed what was stated tonight is true I will have no choice but to let everybody know for the reasons already given.


Also please take this as official notification that my training event on Saturday is now cancelled and that you should email everyone who has already booked online and inform them that the event is cancelled whilist also issuing them a full and prompt refund.

I am aware that around a dozen tickets at least have already been sold for this event and will contact directly those who have informed me they are coming, but as ticket sales were made through you, you should email everyone and officially inform them that the event is cancelled and refund their monies in full.

Given my supply to you of an example press release and a “Local Interest Angle” Harrizon and myself were amazed to discover that apparently something will be appearing in the Manchester Evening News tomorrow..

(Why Were media releases not sent out earlier?)

One could ask what use is that to all the acts that have already
performed or been cancelled, or indeed to those tonight (Thursday) when people will already have their nights planned out?

I did find it strange that nothing was in the Free Events listing of
last Fridays MEN “Entertainments Whats on Guide” – also, surely it would have been prudent to pay for a display advertisement in it, given that the more people who attend equals more bar sales and profits for you?

It was also suprising to myself and all the other acts so far, that
there was no appointed person to meet and greet them and to
co-ordinate all their needs (especially payments etc) – although in fairness Karl the sound tech went above and beyond the call of duty and requirements of his position and is to be hugely commended for this.

Finally referring back to the older male Kings Arms staff who told us to “F**K Off” this was the same awkward individual who on Monday kept telling me to move my props, first from the side of the stage to the dressing room and then suddenly back to the side of stage because they were taking up too much space in the dressing room, his attitude as witnessed by several was obnoxious to say the least, however I and my colleagues bit out tongues for the sake of the Festival.

Finally I think it should be brought to your attention how long it
takes to get served at the bar when there are next to no people in and yet apparently 3 bar staff around, and how rather than serving, The Older Guy especially would sooner walk off and tell people he will serve them when he comes back from outside whilst walking off making a telephone call which he did on several occasions.

Please contact me via email only (I check my email very regularly) to respond to the issues raised and to clarify when and how the monies outstanding to me will be settled.

Jonathan Royle



This is an insane email!

We sell our tickets partly online and partly in cash on the door.

After a performance I wait for the money to come through from ticket web, add it to the cash sales and then email the performer a settlement detailing their ticket sales. The performer then emails or posts an invoice with their bank details and the money is then transferred to them.

I have worked in theatres for many many years and this is always how it’s done.

We have made a lot of effort to promote this week but unfortunately the press just haven’t picked up on it, i’ve been disappointed by it and also by the lack of promotion the acts have done (apart from you of course).

Luca was paid in full last night, Michelle arranged this for him as a favour, it is not the norm.

If you want to discuss this with me further then you can reach me today on *** *** ****

You’ve sold fifteen tickets for your masterclass on Saturday so it would be a real pity to cancel that.



Dear Zena,

I’ve worked in some of the UK’s biggest civic halls and theatres both with my own shows and also with my families Circus and Variety Shows extensively over the past 33 years and its only in the past few years that anyone has ever had to wait a week or longer for monies due after the event.

And then it has only occurred when hiring the venue and self-promoting a show, on all occasions where I or any of my family (and I know the same to be true for all of my colleagues in the business) have been engaged by a promoter who has hired a venue, it is the promoter who takes all the promotional and advertising cost risks and also the promoter despite having to wait to receive some of their money, will pay the act on usually on the night of the show, and indeed on many occasions will have been paid something upfront with the balance being due on the night.

YOU are/were the promoter and also venue, you put out web based ads asking for performers to take part in the festival, and the emails sent to said performers have certainly based on those I have spoken to and the one I received myself given the impression that payment would be made in full straight after the show.

At no point in writing was it clearly laid out (at least not to myself, Harrizon the Hypnotist, Luca Volpe or the others that I have spoken to so far that you did not intend to make financial settlement with anyone until a week or maybe even longer after the show.

As I say I am sure many would have not agreed to take part if this were to have been made clear in writing before the event.

Communications have also been poor, I know that I’ve only been advised of ongoing ticket sales when I’ve sent emails requesting such, as a matter of course when I’ve acted as a promoter for other peoples events I have always automatically sent them a weekly update each week leading up to the show and also a daily update them in the 7 days leading up to the show in order that people are both fully informed and so that decisions on additional promotion and/or cancellation if relevant, in context and appropriate can be made without those involved ultimately incurring unnecessary expense such as
several performers have already done this week.

I also notice that you have chosen not to address the behaviours and attitudes of some of your staff or indeed your noted absence in meeting performers and making things clear to them and/or the issue of why paid advertising was/has not been placed by yourself and the venue to promote the event given that ultimately that would have helped to sell tickets thus helping the acts whilst also ensuring more people attending, thus meaning
more drink sales for you and positive follow up word of mouth promotion of your venue by those visiting for the first time.

In all that would generate a positive return on investment for your business, it seems however you expect to benefit from having acts perform so you may use them to attract people to the venue, but don’t want to spend any money promoting events, despite the fact that it would ultimately have a financially profitable effect for you also.

I’m sure your aware that when you place a paid advertisement in something like the Manchester Evening News for example it is far easier to get a major editorial feature published for such an event, as plugging such an event looks (and potentially is) taking money out of their advertising profits if the venue does not also place a paid advertisement at the same time.

Ultimately neither myself nor Harrizon (who assists me) would feel comfortable entering your venue again given the wholly unprofessional and offensive treatment that we and our colleagues received last night from your staff.

Everything I have stated in my previous email still stands and will be put into action by me at 12pm today and I would suggest that you yourself also contact ALL Acts and clarify the matter of payments, lack of advertising and promotion by yourselves (99% of the stuff that appears on internet was all generated by me at no charge for the benefit of all the acts and shows) and
also the major issues of cancelled shows and poor ticket sales.

CANCELLATION = I have already made it clear that the event is cancelled for the reasons stated previously and as such you are once again advised to contact everyone who has booked for my workshop and to issue them a prompt and full refund without delay.

Jonathan Royle

PS: Confirmation in writing of what your records currently show I am owed (we did our own head count so would like to see if this tallys) along with details of when I shall expect to be paid shall also be expected please by return.


Hi Jonathan,

I really think you should re think cancelling your show. Why disappoint the people that have booked, why waste your time and effort and ours?

We have worked with John Lenahan many times and he never once demanded payment after a performance. He waited, as is normal for the money to come through from the ticketing sites and in order to receive proper paperwork. The same goes for Peter Antoniou.

I understand you are disappointed as are we, but cancelling will only make it worse, making threats is also very unhelpful.
I don’t work in the evenings, i have children. I have though employed ample staff to run things.

If you’d like to call me to discuss your issues, the number is *** *** ****

Best wishes




With respect I think its better for this to be dealt with in writing, with all the effort I have put into trying to spread the word about this event, and helping to get acts to take part along with the treatment myself and my colleagues received yesterday by YOUR STAFF (those you employ) neither myself or my business partner would be comfortable returning to the Kings

If John and Peter are happy to work with you on that basis, thats a matter for you and them, however I can assure you that many of the acts you have planned for the rest of the week will want their money on the night and will have expected such as standard.

Were anything to be different than that, it should have been clearly pointed out to them prior to them agreeing to take part, something which I know for certain has definitely not happened with the people I have spoken to so far.

CANCELLATION – For the third and final time take notice that My workshop is now cancelled – I never have and never will work on the basis of payment after an event, and never have and never will work for a venue where I and my colleagues get treated in the manner we have been (see my original email)

As Previously stated I am about to click send on the emails to all the people I have contact details for making them fully aware of what has occurred, the way myself and Luca and my colleagues have been treated and facts regarding finances.

I shall be sending them an UNEDITED copy of this email communication exchange between us so that they can make up their own minds on how they wish to proceed in these circumstances.

I note you have once again chosen to ignore many of the issues raised in my past two emails and as such draw your attention to one in particular namely that of – Confirmation in writing of what your records currently show I am owed from Monday nights show (we did our own head count so would like to see
if this tallys) along with details of when I shall expect to be paid shall also be expected please by return.

Jonathan Royle


Hi Jonathan,

I can’t understand what your problem is regarding the finances.
I’ve been perfectly reasonable with you and explained how we operate. We are incredibly busy here and I don’t appreciate your nasty threatening emails.

I will cancel your performances and refund your bookers. I will send you a breakdown of your sales when we have the money through from ticket web, as previously stated.

Kind regards



As you can see despite attempts to get answers to certain things, several issues have it would appear been purposely ignored and remain unaddressed by Zena at The Kings Arms.

It is of course entirely up to you, what you do in terms of your own planned show/event, I do know however having already spoken to some performers on the telephone that they will most certainly not be happy if they do not leave the venue on the night with their payment.

At any rate you may wish to seriously consider the implications of the lack of advertising and such like also.

Ultimately I Sincerely apologise to those of you who offered your services for this event due to having seen me promote such on my Facebook and other internet mediums, but as I’ve said all along I never was and never have been in any way officially involved in the organisation of this event and have just been doing all I can promotion wise (that does not incur cost to me) and by way of having offered to help and such to help all

Unfortunately due to the events outlined in the above emails, I trust that you can and will understand why I am now unable to offer you the loan on the night of your event of any radio
microphones and/or the opportunity of the show being filmed, photographed and reviewed.

I wish those of you who decide to proceed with your shows at The Kings Arms the best of luck and hope that you a) Sell more tickets and make more money than any of the acts have done so far and b) That you clarify exactly how and when you shall be paid (if their are any tickets sold) for your participation.

Once again sincere apologies for no longer being in a position to be able to loan equipment, film, photograph and/or review shows etc.

Kindest Regards

Jonathan Royle aka Alex Smith


The above is the email that was sent to all the act’s, and since sending it I am aware that NUMEROUS acts have, after contacting the venue to clarify matters gone on to Cancel Their Performances.

Some have chosen to do this because they discovered that there had been none or next to none advance ticket sales for their shows and so did not want to risk losing money,

Many have done so because they found out they would not get paid on the night which contradicted that which they were previously led to believe by the organisers and of course in some cases both have been their reason.

Certainly in one case the performer when he contacted to clarify matters was treated very badly on the phone by the Kings Arms and that was the final nail in the coffin that truly convinced him to cancel.

Both shows last night (Thursday) did I understand take place, but only because the first one was provided Free by the performer so he could try out a new show and he had invited all his friends from the local magic club and such to make up his audience, and for the second I am aware that the performers contacted the venue upon getting my email and made it clear that they would indeed be walking away on the night with their money and to ensure such would stand on the door taking the money themselves so it could not disappear in a locked cash box as it had done on Wednesday night after Luca’s show.

I have now also had it confirmed numerous times by all the emails and telephone calls that I have now had from the vast majority of the performers who were advertised for the festival that they indeed were all (just like me) misled on several things and were given the impression that:

a) They would walk away on the night with all of the money paid for tickets to their show.

b) That the venue would seat 70 to 80 people, when in fact they only set up around 40 chairs and there did not seem to either be either enough space or indeed chairs for that number to ever have been possible and thus meaning it would never have been possible for the performers to achieve the maximum potential income they were led to believe they could if the shows had been a sellout success.

c) That the venue would be promoting and advertising this Festival on a large scale to ensure that all performers had big audiences for their shows.

As you can clearly see from the above information none of these occurred…

Oh and to date and time of typing this (7-45pm on Friday 30th March) I still have not been given an exact timeline of when I or any of the other performers (such as David Igo) will be paid and have still not received any form of apology for the way myself and my colleague Harrizon were treated or the way that Luca was messed around after his show.

That’s exactly what has happened, I personally am very upset about the whole thing, especially as many only took part because they are my friends and/or wanted to meet me in person and/or heard about the festival through my spreading the word of the advert that I’d seen on Magicweek for performers (in some cases it was a combination of all of them) and to them I can only sincerely apologise for having to withdraw all the offers of loaning equipment and such like (for the tiny few who have chosen to go ahead with their shows) and for your wasted time and effort and the fact that you were misled for the numerous who since getting my email have chosen to cancel their shows.

If your thinking of attending any of the events tomorrow or Sunday you would be well advised to check they are still taking place by calling the venue in advance of travelling via their website of http:/// (you will need to copy and paste this link into your browser) – I’d hate for anyone else to have a wasted long distance trip like my magical friend and colleague Dr. Steve Hoskins did on Tuesday night.

I trust that makes clear exactly what has occurred, if you hear any other rumours or different versions of events, rather than just blindly taking them as gospel why not contact me instead directly on

Or for confirmation that every word I have stated above is true you can contact Harrizon aka Stuart Cassels via his website of (you will need to copy and paste this link into your browser) – (where you could also take advantage of his Amazing Graphic Design and Printing Services for Entertainers) or just ask the acts who were going to be or have been taking part.

Oh and one final thought, today I discovered that if you search for review of the Kings Arms in Salford one site has a review from late 2011 in which it complains about the state of the Gents Toilets, well I can tell you that its now almost April 2012 and they are in just a bad state so obviously they don’t pay much attention to whats important at this venue..

Check it out here –

(you will need to copy and paste this link into your browser)

And yes before anyone mentions it the venue is owned by Former Beautiful South and Housemartins singer Paul Heaton and yes he and Zena Barrie the organiser are an item.

Yours truly

Jonathan Royle aka Alex Smith

PS: From a Personal Point of view there was one light at the end of this very dark tunnel and that’s the fact I got to preview some of the brand new and totally original material and routines from my New Egg Sausage Peas Mentalism Show which opens properly on Wednesday 25th April in Manchester and then hits the road as per – (you will need to copy and paste this link into your browser) – new dates being added almost weekly)

PPS: You Can See Some Pictures of Me With Luca Volpe and doing the warm up for his show here –

(you will need to copy and paste this link into your browser)

You can see Pictures From My Monday night Festival Show here:

(you will need to copy and paste this link into your browser)

And You Can Read The First Two Reviews of my Show Here:

(The Original Being on File With permission to publish)

Egg Sausage Pea’s – Show Review by Ben Hughes

Jonathan Royle smashes his hand down onto a polystyrene cup that could hide an upturned sharpened spike within.

The absence of screaming, and the lack of blood, tell his audience
that, thankfully, it doesn’t – this time. But there are three more cups to go. Does he guess right?

You’ll have to go along yourself to Jonathan’s new show – oddly titled Eggs, Suasage, and Peas – to find out.

And once you’ve sat through the numerous videos of the illusion going horribly wrong, you’ll rather wish he does not. If only to ensure you’ll get at least one chance to see him in action again.

I was not alone in the audience, I’m sure, in hoping he’d announce
after the gory videos that he wasn’t daft enough to perform the trick after all, and could anyone think of a card, any card?

My heart has only just left my mouth and returned to it’s rightful
place in my chest.

This was just a taster preview of Jonathan’s new mentalism show, held at one of my favorite pubs The Kings Arms in Salford. The full show will be revealed next month.

After an opening half full of mysterious illusion, the second half of
the show was a little darker with tales of his dead grandmother.

I don’t want to give too much of the show away, but if you get a
chance to see it then I recommend you do. The man is unique.

I hope to see more from his amazing mind in the future. Can’t wait for the full show in April.

Reviewed By: Ben Hughes (Freelance Journalist)

Book Now –


“This is the most Theatrical and Emotional Mentalism Show that I have ever seen, full of original new and thought provoking routines”

Stuart Harrizon Cassels – Hypnotist & Magician

Book Now –

(you will need to copy and paste this link into your browser)

1 thought on “Manchester Magic & Mentalism Festival – Explanation Of Events & Public Apology To Acts From Jonathan Royle

  1. Well Alex
    Sounds like you had a good week, I was looking forward to meeting you and watching you perform (in the flesh so to speak) it looks like it’s not to be this time.

    All the very best for your up and coming show no doubt it will be 100% organised.

    Take care john

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