When Swindon magician Alan Harris steps on to the stage at Swindon Talent ’10 it will be his first time in front of a large audience.

“I have only done birthday parties and pieces for friends before,’’ said Alan.

He is a web designer by day but turns into a magician at night thanks to friend and mentor Christian Everret, who inspired the former Wootton Bassett School pupil.

Alan, 25, of Curtis Street, said: “It was four years ago that I first became interested in it via Christian, who now performs in Cyprus. Back then he was well known around Swindon.

“We worked together in the clubs – I badgered him to teach me and picked up bits and pieces along the way.’’ The magician says that there are different streams in magic, the flashy stage show, the street magic which is up close and personal and his own chosen path – the mentalist and neuro linguistic programming style. He said: “I have moved towards the Derren Brown-esque mind control magic. I want to get my name out there and become professional.”

Which is a profound relief for his fiancee, who was not looking forward to being sawn in half as a regular Saturday night date.

“She is really good about it, she is my main support,’’ said Alan.

His parents, John and Eileen, also found themselves as guinea pigs.

“They were amazed and impressed,’’ said Alan.

On Sunday at the Old Town Festival heat of Swindon Talent ’10 Alan will perform a subconscious selection effect.

How to enter: The heats: The Old Town Festival, on Sunday, June 27, at 11.30am, phone 01793 642368 Lydiard Park, on Saturday, July 10, at noon, telephone 01793 465353 Wootton Bassett School, on Saturday, July 24, at noon, call 01793 841900.

There will also be an open mic heat at the Arts Centre, in Old Town, on Tuesday, July 6, from 6pm where artists can turn up on the night, call 01793 466565.

The finals will be at the Wyvern Theatre on Sunday, August 8. The contest is run in collaboration with the Swindon Advertiser, Swindon 105.5, the Wyvern Theatre and the Swindon Arts Centre.

To enter visit www.Swindon Advertiser.co.uk /news/talent10 or call the venue for entry forms.

Rules: Every act needs to perform for four minutes and must be amateur, not earn their living by entertainment, and must also live or work in Wiltshire Entry is open to any age, but under 16s need signed permission from a parent or guardian Organisers have the right to refuse entries if health or safety is at risk.

Competitors should arrive at least 30 minutes before the start of the competition and all artists using their own backing music are requested to bring audio, not data, discs.

A drum kit will be provided courtesy of Holmes Music but drummers are asked to bring their own snares and cymbals.