DERREN Brown is not someone who likes to give too much away about any project he’s involved in. Audiences are always sworn to secrecy not to reveal too much about what they have witnessed at one of his shows - which all adds to the mystique.

So when he says that his new show Showman which comes to The Lowry on Tuesday is his “most personal show yet” you certainly have to take notice.

“Every show we do has to over-deliver and give people more than they would expect,” said Derren. “You have to find different ways of doing that so you’re not doing same trick each time.”

Showman is certainly not a repeat performance - it’s Derren’s first all-new show in six years.


Derren Brown in Showman (Picture: Mark Douet)

Derren Brown in Showman (Picture: Mark Douet)


“We’ve had the pandemic and before that I was on Broadway and in the States for two years and Unforgiven, my previous show was a bit of an amalgam of ideas, so all-in-all it’s been quite a long time since I’ve toured an all-new show which is exciting.”

Part magician, part manipulator, part illusionist Derren is difficult to pigeonhole.The secrecy surrounding his shows don’t allow him to indulge in the usual ‘hard-sell’ which surrounds so many touring productions.

“We’ve had some of the most off the charts reviews for Showman that we’ve ever had which is very nice,” he said. “I don’t want to say too much about it but there is much more humanity to the show than a lot of people might expect, particularly if they’ve only seen me on TV.

“Sometimes that comes across as being a pretty dark journey,” he laughed.

“Certainly, it is a show that has a personal meaning to me which the others haven’t and puts it into a different place than previous shows.”

As well as being Derren’s first new show for a while, it is also his longest tour. He will be at The Lowry for two weeks, opening on Tuesday before continuing around the UK until December when it will then transfer into the West End for a further three months.


Derren Brown in Showman (Picture: Mark Douet)

Derren Brown in Showman (Picture: Mark Douet)


“I think the longest run I’ve done before is about six months, so this will be a long tour,” Derren admitted. “So it really helps that there is a personal element to it, there’s a meaning to me doing it every night which really helps keep it fresh. You never want to settle into any kind of autopilot.”

Showman was initially scheduled to head out on the road in 2019.

“It was due to start in the first week of lockdown,” said Derren. “It was written about things in our lives which make us feel isolated and how when things go wrong it can be a lonely experience.

“Ironically for the next two years we were all playing out that idea in a very literal way as Covid changed all our lives.

Although Showman isn’t remotely a show about Covid, the pandemic has had an impact on the show.

“It actually allowed us a strange luxury among all the pain and suffering everyone was going through of being able to make changes that we would normally be making during the first few weeks of the tour.

“It allowed us to lean into the themes that were already there and gave us a couple of years to take out and change routines.

“As a result when we finally got to be able to perform it, it has meant the show started in a much more comfortable place which I think it’s why it’s been received so well.”


Derren Brown in Showman (Picture: Mark Douet)

Derren Brown in Showman (Picture: Mark Douet)


He acknowledges too that part of that great reaction has simply been due to the fact that audiences can once more gather together in a theatre.

“At the start of the tour you could certainly feel that extra level of appreciation that the show could go ahead,” he said.

For someone who is spending the best part of a year fronting what is essentially a one-man show, Derren remains a quiet, considered and thoughtful personality.

“I remember my manager saying to me a few years ago ‘you don’t make the show about you, it’s about the audience’ and although I’d never thought of it like that he was probably right.

“If you are a magician the show is normally about you and how clever you are and there’s nothing wrong with that. But I’ve always tried to make the show more about the difficult things in life.

“It’s a craft which is dishonest and I’m always trying to do something honest with it. That can be difficult but for me that’s what has kept it interesting.”

Ironically Derren admits that he would hate to be part of one of his shows as an audience member.


Derren Brown

Derren Brown


“Oh, I’m someone who would hate to be dragged on stage,” he said. “But that’s why I throw out frisbees into the audience to choose people. If you don’t want to come up you can always pass it one to someone or it can be thrown again.

“There is never any pressure for anyone to get involved in any of the shows.”

For Showman, Derren has got one request for all those who will be attending.

“I’d like them to bring an object that has sentimental value,” he says mysteriously, “something small which they can hide in their hand. That would be most useful.”

And that is as much as you will ever learn about Showman short of going along!

Derren Brown: Showman, The Lowry, Salford Quays, Tuesday, July 5 to Saturday, July 16. Details from