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The Vanishing Elephant

Cahoots NI
from Belfast, Northern Ireland

October 14 – 29, 2023
Recommended Ages
For everyone 8 and up
Tickets start at $24*
Members save 40%
*Price includes service fees
What Kind of Show?
Theater with puppetry; grand and endearing
Content Considerations
Depictions of animal cruelty
Running Time
70 minutes with no intermission
Stage 42 422 W 42nd Street
New York, NY 10036

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About the Show

Pack your trunk for a jumbo journey as Jenny the elephant is captured and taken from India to America, far from her family and her forever friend, Opu. Swept up in the circus, she makes magic and history as The Vanishing Elephant with Harry Houdini himself, but Jenny never stops thinking of home. Watch in wonder as this puppet pachyderm grows from tot to teen to towering adult in an unforgettable tale from the imagination of Cahoots NI (Nivelli’s War, 2017).

Strong storytelling, dazzling illusions and special effects guaranteed to engage

Culture Northern Ireland

Please note that the New Victory is temporarily relocating for three productions this fall due to some reconstruction in our home theater. Because of this, all performances of The Vanishing Elephant will take place at Stage 42 instead of the New Victory Theater.

Learn about this short-term change.

Things to Know

  1. This is the first of two New Victory shows this season about elephants. This show is for ages 8 and up. The other, Aanika’s Elephants, is for a younger audience, ages 6 and up.
  2. Elephants and other circus animals were notoriously mistreated by their handlers in the early 1900s. The Vanishing Elephant contains dramatized representations of this abuse against Jenny and other puppet animals.
  3. The Vanishing Elephant is based on true events! In 1918, Harry Houdini (who once performed at the Paradise Rooftop Garden atop the New Victory) gained fame for his “Vanishing Elephant” act, making a five-ton elephant named Jenny disappear on stage at the now-closed Hippodrome Theatre a few blocks from here.


The show on stage is just one act of your family’s visit! Come early and stay late for free lobby activities and kid-friendly amenities—part of the New Victory experience.

About the Artists

Co-founded by Paul Bosco Mc Eneany and Zoe Seaton in 2001, Cahoots NI combines the visual delight of theater with the age-old intrigue of illusion. As magic lovers, they were inspired to create The Vanishing Elephant for the New Victory Theater, in part because Harry Houdini performed here. They often develop work for specific sites, collaborating with artists across Northern Ireland to craft high-quality and inventive theatrical experiences for kids and families.

The Vanishing Elephant is produced by Cahoots, supported by Culture Ireland and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and presented in partnership with Belfast International Arts Festival with support from British Council NI.


Creative Team

Artistic Director
Paul Bosco Mc Eneaney

Charles Way

Jayachandran Palazhy

Set and Costume Designer
Sabine Dargent

Puppetry Designer and Director
Helen Foan

Lighting Designer
Simon Bond

Composer and Sound Designer
Aoife Kavanagh


Kids Talk THE VANISHING ELEPHANT with a girl talking about the show to a microphone. She has a speech bubble that says "When the elephant came out, I thought it was real!"
Discover what our young theatergoers have to say about The Vanishing Elephant!
Watch Trailer
New Victory Arts Break: The Vanishing Elephant, with a photo of a large elephant puppet facing a man in a top hat

Arts Break: The Vanishing Elephant

Let’s explore puppetry, find creative ways to advocate for endangered animals and uncover the true story of Harry Houdini’s legendary illusion.

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