The realisation of an idea and the instant feedback from an audience is the ultimate buzz.
— Nigel Mead

Q. You must have been part of hundreds of conferences. What makes a great conference?

Of course you need great organisation, enabling a seamless production. Then I believe you need to surprise and delight the audience. Delegates have seen so much now, creativity is key. If you do this, they’ll give you so much energy and warmth, enabling the on-stage presenters to truly shine.


Q. Who inspires you?

My inspirations come from many different fields. Quite often a film or piece of art will inspire. Artistic Director Es Devlin and Magicians Penn & Teller always produce brilliant work.



Q. What’s your number one magic trick?

It’s always whatever my latest creation is. Performing a mind blowing illusion which is relevant to the conference is always the aim. I think an audience appreciates it when it’s just for them.


Q. Is it true you created the BGT winners trick?

In the last few years I’ve written over 120 hours of magic content for ITV. Part of this was working on their flagship shows BGT and The Royal Variety Performance. I’m currently writing for the BBC too.


Q. Do you have to do magic as part of your conference hosting? 

Absoulety not. Quite often when I return to host the same conference again, the theme changes and we leave the magic out. Saying that, there’s always some creative - often magic inspired - thought in my performances.


Q. Why don’t you have an agent?

I’ve been professional for over 20 years now and never felt I needed one. I love working directly with clients on briefs, especially during the creative process, it’s so much easier.


Q. Are there any jobs you wouldn’t do?

I’m not right for the straight hosting AGM type conferences. As a live performer I always want to bring energy. I understand that occasionally that’s not what’s required. Although after listening to an AGM I beg to differ!


Q. I know you won’t tell me but what’s the best conference you’ve ever done?

That’s a tough one. I’d like to think I haven’t done it yet. But hosting a three-day conference for a global audience of 1000 people, outdoors, overlooking the Hawaiian sunset each night is going to be hard to beat!


Q. Do you have any specific things you like to do?

I love seeing a project/conference through from conception to show day. The realisation of an idea and the instant feedback from an audience is the ultimate buzz.


Q. Do you need any special equipment?

I’m very low maintenance - I supply all the props for my performances and can often advise on suppliers if we are creating bespoke illusions.


Q. Will you take on International projects?

I’m very fortunate to host many conferences and events worldwide. If the client wants me – have suit, will travel!

Q. What are youR 3 top tips for having a great event?

I’ve already said it but, surprise and delight your audience. I believe if you capture their attention and intrigue, you will create a memory, not a moment. Secondly, provide them with some relatable take home, which, done well, will live beyond the event and overlap into their personal lives.

Lastly. The devil is in the detail. I’m a stickler for it. An audience may not notice every beat or nuance of the performance or production but they will remember how they felt. Deal with the detail and you are set for a great event.

David Howlett