For more than 30 years, Craig Stephens has worn a costume that gives him a license to have fun.
For more than 30 years, Craig Stephens has worn a costume that gives him a license to have fun.

Three decades of silliness for adored wizard

FOR more than 30 years, Craig Stephens has donned a costume that gives him a licence to have fun.

Windy Wizard is a master of his trade, entertaining children and adults of all ages since first starting as Mr Twister, making balloon animals in the mall.

The former head coach of Heatley Gymnastics, a job Mr Stephens labels as "fairly serious", said his personality and ability to have fun made the club very strong.

Windy Wizard has been performing for local children and adults for over 33 years, pictured with his bunny Stewart. Picture: Shae Beplate.
Windy Wizard has been performing for local children and adults for over 33 years, pictured with his bunny Stewart. Picture: Shae Beplate.

It was a friend who suggested he become a clown after that friend's daughter had just been to a birthday party in Sydney. "I looked at her and said, 'I'm not going to become a clown, I'm a respected gymnastics coach, I'm doing psychology at university, I'm going to be a sports psychologist at the Australian Institute of Sport'," he said.

"Heading home (from Sydney), we talked about it and I said I could do something, I know about the balloons, I love magic and I love being precise.

"So I got (friend) Logan up to Townsville after World Expo 88 (where he performed), put him up with accommodation and said I want to learn everything you've got and I'll put the professionalism behind it that I got from gymnastics."

Windy Wizard has been performing for local children and adults for over 33 years, pictured with his bunny Stewart. Picture: Shae Beplate.
Windy Wizard has been performing for local children and adults for over 33 years, pictured with his bunny Stewart. Picture: Shae Beplate.

Mr Stephens took inspiration from entertainer Walt Disney, and decided he'd be a wizard rather than a magician, because a wizard was defined as 'a master of his trade'.

Using alliteration for his name, again inspired by Walt Disney, he set out to be a wizard of gymnastics, a wizard of clowning, a wizard of stilt walking and a true wizard of magic.

And Windy Wizard himself said he was showing no signs of slowing down.

"For me, and I think most entertainers would be the same, when you go on stage your brain is choreographed to do your routine and you know the reactions you're going to get," he said.

Lucy Clasie, 4, pictured with Stewart the bunny, owned by Windy Wizard. Picture: Shae Beplate.
Lucy Clasie, 4, pictured with Stewart the bunny, owned by Windy Wizard. Picture: Shae Beplate.

"The only thing I'm thinking of at the time is a five-year-old on the beach, and all they're worried about is the water touching their toes, the feel of the sand, the breeze in their face.

"They're not worried about anything else in their life and that's the power of going on stage and doing the show.

"It doesn't matter how hot the day is, I still wear my outfit, doesn't matter if I sweat I still enjoy the show, you're totally involved with it."

Originally published as Three decades of silliness for adored wizard


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