Magic lessons

20 Nov 2018

There was magic in the air in the Chapman Room, with a large audience of Year 7 students from schools all over Christchurch and Canterbury enthralled by magician Brendan Dooley’s tricks and words of wisdom.

As keynote presenter at this year’s Be Inspired Year 7 Leadership Afternoon, Brendan held the audience in the palm of his hand, showing exactly why he is fast becoming one of the world’s top young comedy magicians.

Brendan fell in love with the stage at a young age and has never wanted to do anything else. “It all began with a deck of cards and a burning desire to entertain, to make people laugh, to help them forget about their problems and escape from the real world for a while.”

He has worked with, inspired and been inspired by many people, and now virtually lives out of a suitcase, performing all over the world. But behind his magical lifestyle is a story of learning how to manage the many hurdles he has faced along the way – a story the young audience was privileged to hear.

Punctuating his talk with magic, and even revealing some of the tricks of the trade, he opened up about his life, asking his audience to also think about their lives and their attitudes, to start thinking about the people they want to become. “I’ve got a lot of respect for you guys, you’re in a really intense time of your lives, a time when a lot of changes occur. You’ll have opportunities and choices and will be starting to think about the future and where you want to stand in the world.”

He didn’t flinch away from saying bad things happen, but says what can make all the difference is how you respond. “You can decide whether you have a good day or a bad day, it’s your choice how you react. You can be bitter or better – think BoB, bitter or better.”

He talked about influences, the importance of choosing friends wisely and, using several rubik’s cubes to illustrate his point, how to be an individual in a world that appears to want everyone to be the same. “You don’t need to find the same solution as everyone else in life ... embrace your passion, make it you, and always aim to do and be your best.”

After such an entertaining and thought-provoking start to the afternoon, the participants split into groups to attend workshops with Brendan and other inspirational organisations and leaders, including members of the Student Volunteer Army, sports coach Jesse Rawlings, Attitude health education provider, and several College teachers.

Be Inspired was held on Wednesday 14 November.