A Million Pictures


3 September 2015
20:00 - 22:00
Parnassos Cultuurcentrum, Kruisstraat 102, Utrecht, NL

Official Project Opening with Magic Lantern Show: Scientific Entertainment anno 1900

This evening will be a time travel back to the tradition of the spectacular magic lantern shows of the nineteenth century. The experienced lanternists Gwen Sebus (Lux Magica, editor of The Magic Lantern) and Elisabeth Waagmeester (Christiaan Huygens Theater) will give an entertaining lesson in astronomy, physics, biology and ethnography using original magic lanterns and slides of that time. With a pinch of contemporary humor, the lanternists will show how close science and magic, education and entertainment were and are linked.

The presentations will be partially in English and partially in Dutch.

Elisabeth Waagmeester and her son at the lantern
Elisabeth Waagmeester started at age ten as assistant of her father Willem Albert Wagenaar. Together, they traveled the entire Netherlands until they opened their own theater in 1994 in Zeist – the Christiaan Huygens Theater. At age seventeen, Elisabeth Waagmeester started giving shows herself. “With our team, we staged entire operas, but we also gave smaller shows that only require two persons: one lanternist and one assistant”, recalls Elisabeth Waagmeester. Her youngest son now started as her assistant, the family tradition is thus continued.


Gwen Sebus is interested in magic lantern shows and lantern slides ever since she saw her first magic lantern show at the age of 4, performed with a magic lantern that her great grandfather had bought. For 28 years, she collects magic lantern slides and researches their origin. She gives magic lantern shows at museums, schools, universities, lantern conventions and private parties with her company “Lux Magica”. She is an active member of the Magic Lantern Society and co-editor of The Magic Lantern, the society’s quarterly magazine. In her daily life, she is a lawyer.

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Image credits:
Above: Private image Elisabeth Waagmeester
Below: Scan of a lantern slide, private collection Gwen Sebus