WOWfest brings the magic out at SAIT

Lots of kids attempt to do magic when they are younger.

It’s the mystery of how to do tricks that keep kids and adults so interested.

For six years, WOWfest Magic Arts Festival has been helping kids and adults believe that magic really does exist.

On Feb. 3, the show took place at the Orpheus Theatre at SAIT.

Ryan Pilling, the operator and founder of WOWfest, does a little magic himself.

Before the show started Pilling chatted with kids in the audience and worked with them on how to spin plates on a stick.

“Doing a few small tricks with the kids before the show helps to keep them from getting bored.” Pilling said.

Pilling also hosted the show and introduced the acts.

Magic For Days: Founder and host of Wowfest Magic Arts Festival, Ryan Pilling, kicks off the show in Calgary on Feb. 3. Pilling performed a few fun tricks to start the show off at the Orpheus Theatre at SAIT. (Photo by Ashley Sloan /The Press)

WOWfest started in 2012 when Calgary was celebrating a cultural year.

“There was this program called Grassroots Intuitive Grants. You put a pitch together and the city approved and it has been going on since,” said Pilling.

This is the first time in six years the show has happened in a real theatre.

“This is a major growth for us. Before it was gymnasiums at schools and community centres. This is the first time putting the show on in a theatre this size,” said Pilling.

One of the performing magicians has been with WOWfest since the beginning.

Greg T is more than just a magician. He is an illusionist and is also known as the man of 1,000 faces.

“I have been interested in human psychology for as long as I could remember and I liked to study people, which in all honestly was not the greatest thing to do in high school when you are dating,” T said.

T’s show is unique because he uses mental magic instead of the everyday magic.

His act involved the audience and even amazed some people.

To start the show, T brought up five audience members and showed the watching audience a few mental tricks with a ball.

T then invited a husband and wife to the stage, showing the audience how connected they were by only touching one of them with a feather while the other claimed to have felt it as well.

Believe In Magic: Greg T amazes a volunteer at WOWfest Magic Arts Festival in Calgary on Feb. 3. T had just drawn on her husband’s hand and asked her to look at her own. She discovered the pen mark on her own hand. (Photo by Ashley Sloan /The Press)

Chantall Henson, an attendee, said, “It was amazing to watch what he did with the husband and wife duo up there. I honestly never believed in this stuff but my husband dragged me. Thankfully he did because it was mind blowing.”

“More and more awareness is being brought to this event. People should watch for us because we will be bigger and better than ever soon,” T said.

The second act of the show was Snow Circus.

Skylar Snowden started in magic when he was 17 and the job he was working closed.

“I thought juggling would be a fun party trick at first and it just grew from there,” Snowden said.

Not only did he juggle, he had an audience member throw him knives while standing on a ladder, and balanced on multiple things while juggling.

Playing With Knives: Skylar Snowden catches knives from a volunteer at WOWfest Magic Arts Festival in Calgary on Feb. 3. While he was balancing on a ladder, a volunteer threw Snowden three knives. (Photo by Ashley Sloan /The Press)

“I realized I was juggling for 10 hours a day so I figured it was already a job so I might as well figure out how to excel at it,” said Snowden.

The last act of the evening is one of Canada’s most recognizable magicians.

Murray Hatfield and his assistant/wife Teresa have been doing magic together since 1992.

The magic duo have won numerous awards including Hatfield recently being named president of the Canadian Association of Magicians.

They performed this year on Penn and Teller’s Fool Us, and have performed at the Magic Castle in Los Angeles.

“I started in magic when I was a little kid. My mom hired a magician for my little brother’s birthday by the name of John Kaplan. I watched everything he did that day and actually went home with him as he only lived a few blocks away,” Hatfield said.

Kaplan became Hatfield’s first teacher and mentor and the magic stuck with him all the way through high school when he decided to pursue it full time.

Hatfield and assistant Teresa did amazing tricks that you would only see on TV shows like America’s Got Talent. They wowed the audience as the final act.

Disappearing Act: Murray Hatfield and his assistant Teresa perform at WOWfest Magic Arts Festival in Calgary on Feb. 3. Hatfield is shutting Teresa into the box to make her vanish. (Photo by Ashley Sloan /The Press)

The duo performed the swords in the box trick, Hatfield drew a bowling ball and somehow made it come out of the drawing pad, and made Teresa vanish from a box that never moved.

Connor Manlutte, a 12 year old in the audience, was amazed.

“I have only ever watched stuff like this on TV. To know that there are really cool magicians where I live is pretty awesome.”

AllyHOOPS: Skylar Snowden celebrates after accomplishing a trick at WOWfest Magic Arts Festival on Feb. 3. Snowden had just completed a trick in which he balances and puts his entire body through the red hoop. (Photo by Ashley Sloan /The Press)
About Ashley Sloan 3 Articles
As a writing and communications major in the journalism program at SAIT, Ashley Sloan worked as a reporter for The Press during the 2017-18 academic year.

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