The Magic Circle is a British organisation dedicated to magic. Its headquarters are in London, and professional magicians who wish to join need to have known two members for a sufficient period of time. These two members then act as referees on the candidate's application form and propose him or her as suitable for membership. Following the receipt and processing of the application, the candidate is invited to an interview, usually at the London headquarters with the examinations secretary. If the candidate proves suitable and sufficiently knowledgeable, a performance exam is scheduled. This takes place in front of judges, and the candidate must demonstrate skills to members in a rehearsed act. The final stage is by vote of members of council, who approve the candidate as a member. There are approximately 1,450 members (including Charles, Prince of Wales) in 41 countries. Members must be at least 18.
The club was men-only until 1991, when a large majority voted to admit women.
As of September 2008, the president is Ali Bongo.
The Magic Circle headquarters houses a theatre, museums, libraries, a dining room, a clubroom and bars.
Members may take a further examination to achieve the degree of associate of the Inner Magic Circle. The designation A.I.M.C. shows this higher membership. The A.I.M.C. degree can also be attained through thesis, and in rare cases, examinees taking the M.M.C. exam are awarded the A.I.M.C. degree. Those who attain an A.I.M.C. degree as a result of a performance examination are given the A.I.M.C. with silver star.
Within the society, there is a number of members never exceeding 300 known as the Inner Magic Circle. Full membership of the Inner Magic Circle is denoted by the letters M.I.M.C. after the member's name. Membership of the Inner Magic Circle is by call of the society's president. The M.I.M.C. degree may be awarded with a gold star, in recognition of the holder's excellence as a performer, although not all holders of the M.I.M.C. degree are performers, and hence, not all are M.I.M.C. with gold star.
Members of the The Young Magicians Club are eligible to join the Magic Circle at a discounted rate when they reach 18, but they face a series of rigorous exams to gain access to the coveted Inner Magic Circle. The 1,500 members of the society, founded by David Devant in 1905, swear a pledge that prevents them discussing the methods of conjuring with anyone outside the Magic Circle. hence the club's motto Indocilis Privata Loqui which roughly translates as 'Not apt to disclose secrets."
Adult members of the Magic Circle take on the responsibility of instructing the members of The Young Magicians Club. Young Magicians' Club's principal means of communication among its members is its bi-monthly magazine "Secrets." Mandy Davis is the current Chairman of the Young Magicians Club.
Unlike the Magic Circle and other magic societies, membership in The Young Magicians Club requires no interview or exam and is open to all young people interested in magic. New members are frequently absolute beginners. It is believed that having to do so would detract from the purpose of the group, which is to learn and enjoy magic. Local adult magic clubs will usually have a Young Magicians Club attached to it.
Youth aged 10 through 18 may seek membership in the Young Magicians' Club. When a member turns 18, he or she graduates to full membership in the Magic Circle. Currently, Young Magicians Club has a membership of more than 250 members.
Officers of the Young Magicians' Club report that the Harry Potter books and films are responsible for an 20% overall increase in membership. The effect has been noticed even outside of the Young Magicians' Club.
Michael & Siobhan Jordan, two members of the Young Magicians Club, have won several magic competitions throughout the United Kingdom and the United States and have appeared on television several times.
Richard Young appeared in a recent issue of The Oxford Times chronicling his magic accomplishments.
In 2004, Jonathan Shotton, a member of the Young Magicians Club entered and won the "Magician of the Year" contest.