A local magician's life comes full circle

Charleston native Jonathan Bayme (right) with Magician David Copperfield (center). (picture provided)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- Magic is a craft that fascinates us from a very young age. Childhood birthday parties wouldn't be complete without a magic show and trick or two from the neighborhood magician.

But did you know that one of the most noted successful magic entrepreneurs in the world was born and raised right here in the Holy City?

A magician's magical addiction

All it took was one performance of famous magician David Copperfield in the early 1990s at the Gaillard Auditorium for 5-year-old Jonathan Bayme of West Ashley to become hooked and obsessed with magic from that moment on.

But Bayme says Charleston was not a magic destination, and with just a few books in the public library on the art form, he had to find another way to nourish his new hobby.

"Having no magic store or place to learn locally, my parents used to drive back and forth to Myrtle Beach often, there was a magic store there," Jonathan Bayme said.

Not letting distance or lack of resources stop him, Jonathan Bayme went on to become the top magician in town in the early 2000s when he was just a teenager.

Bayme was addicted to magic and says he would perform anywhere at anytime.

"My first theater show was in December of 2000 at the Garden Theatre, now turned Urban Outfitters, on King Street," Bayme says. "I had absolutely no idea what I was doing, but I wrangled together a group of my friends and just did it."

That show sold out. And after that, a slew of others.

"I did a bunch of shows at the Sottile Theatre, Charleston Music Hall, and many other local venues. With each show, I learned more and got more comfortable performing magic, especially on stage."

But Bayme would have an even bigger impact on the magic industry not on the stage but from his very own computer.

The online marketplace for magic

Bayme gave up the stage in 2007 to focus on something even bigger than performing magic himself. He started the online marketplace for magic itself.{}

"In seventh or eighth grade, being a computer geek and magic nerd, I put the two together and realized I could use the Internet to learn, interact, and share ideas with other magicians around the world," he says.

"theory11 was created out of necessity and desire to learn magic and share magic myself - and that had ripple efforts with thousands of like minded enthusiasts of magic, young and old, around the world."

theory11 is Bayme's life work and is known in the magic industry as the largest destination for learning magic online.

One of Bayme's clients and good friends, the guy that changed the then 5-year old's life, is the one and only David Copperfield.

"The whole experience goes full circle, and it's absolutely surreal," Bayme says.

No such thing as impossible

For working with the most famous magicians in the world, Bayme is under-the radar when it comes to his own magic and accomplishments.

"I rarely tell people that I'm a magician, but it's usually self-evident because I have cards in my hands 23 hours a day," he says.

And Bayme says he's never met a person that doesn't like magic.

"It'd be a bit like saying, 'I don't like music' or 'I don't like dreaming,' everyone loves magic!"

Making it his life work to learn and share magic with as many people as possible around the world, it's easy to understand why Bayme is not a fan of the word 'impossible.'

"Magic inspires all of us to dream and realize that the things we often dismiss as impossible likely are possible - and within our grasp - if we're only willing to try."

Living back here in Charleston after stints in Las Vegas and New York, Bayme says his advice to young and old magicians in the Lowcountry is the same advice he got at 13-years-old.

"Learn and perform as much as you possibly can. Learning magic today is faster and easier than ever before. I built theory11 to be the instructional resource for learning magic that I wish existed when I was starting out," he says.

"The effect magic has cannot be overstated; learning magic empowers ordinary people to do extraordinary things."

And Bayme himself, is living proof of that.

Click here to explore more of Bayme's magical life.