Friday, April 19, 2024

Wagsters Magic Theatre Owners Reflect on a Year in Williamsburg

Brandon and Hannah Wagster reflect on the first year of Wagsters Magic Theatre. (Jillian Appel/WYDaily)

WILLIAMSBURG — Award-winning magic couple Brandon and Hannah Wagster will be celebrating the one-year anniversary of the opening of the Wagsters Magic Theatre on June 17. 

“It’s been so much better than we ever thought it could have gone,” Hannah Wagster commented. “The tourists and the locals alike have been so supportive of us, it’s been so incredible and just keeps growing.”

The couple relocated to Virginia’s Historic Triangle after 10 years of performing in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. After moving to Williamsburg, the pair took a leap of faith, putting all the money they had into making the dream of their own theater a reality.

“This time last year we were homeless, so to be able to say the theater is extremely successful — we just moved into a house and were able to buy a car — all these sacrifices we made over the years is finally paying off,” Hannah added.

The pair are at almost 200 shows with over 10,000 guests. The theater’s capacity has been updated from the previous 63 seats to 79. Guests are now able to specifically book front-row seats and a VIP experience with the couple, and the theater is slated for a lobby redecoration and outside redo.

The current exterior of the Wagsters Magic Theater. (Jillian Appel/WYDaily)

Wanting to offer a variety of experiences to keep guests coming back, the couple had performed a Christmas show which completely sold out, and the theatre is introducing a new close-up magic show in the fall performed by Brandon.

“We’ll only sell about 15 or so tickets to that and it will be me down off stage on the floor with people sitting semi-circle around and it’s going to be all sleight of hand. Cards and coins, things like that up close,” Brandon explained.

“When we first opened we knew that we needed to be at 30 tickets a show as an average to break even and sustain being open,” Brandon added. “As of this moment, our average has been 58.”

The theater is also offering a summer magic camp which sold out in six minutes and has 40 children on the waitlist. The show has also won several awards and was up for an award from the Williamsburg Chamber of Commerce.

The theater has a reputation for putting on shows that are entertaining for adults and children alike. They have added five new routines for the new show, “Finding Magic,” since they began performances on March 3. The show was already almost completely different from the its previous show.

“Brandon and I can get bored with the show just like audiences can,” Hannah explained. “We just want the show to be what we want it to be. We want our show to keep getting better, we don’t want it to ever go back.”

The two stay busy when they aren’t performing, running the phones and answering emails in true small-business fashion.

“There are days where it still doesn’t feel real. I have to pinch myself from time to time and go oh, we’re actually doing this. I’m making a living doing this. There are times when it’s a lot of hard work, but for me getting the stage built was a big moment,” Brandon said about watching the theater come to life.

“There was nothing theater about [the space] up until the stage went up and getting the lights turned on for the first time and seeing the theater come along and alive was mind-blowing,” he added. “It just doesn’t feel real.”

“We had both sacrificed so much, but getting to watch his dreams come true when this has been his dream his entire life was just a very cool experience,” Hannah said as she reflected on the last year. “I think the little milestones we hit, like our first sold our show in a week or so of opening and then when we hit 100 shows, and now about 200 shows and when we hit 5,000 guests: it just keeps building. It was never what we expected.”

“People ask us all the time what advice would you give on chasing dreams,” Brandon commented. “The biggest thing we always say is you have to decide beforehand what level of sacrifice are you willing to make. Because that is often what it comes down to.”

“We’re incredibly blessed to be this busy,” Hannah added. “So we’ll take it and everything that comes with it.”

The theater will be decorated with a birthday party feel and have photo props inside to celebrate the one-year anniversary. Additionally, the couple plans to celebrate in a more private occasion with the people who helped make the theater come together.

“We’re excited to hit our one year and can’t wait to see where we are years from now,” Hannah said. The pair have their eyes on the future and looking forward to continuing to grow with their roots in the Williamsburg community.

For more information about the Wagsters and their Magic Theatre, visit its official webpage.

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