Comedian and hypnotist Scott Ward will hold a fundraiser for the cheerleaders at EMCS.

Comedian and hypnotist Scott Ward will hold a fundraiser for the cheerleaders at EMCS.

Prepare to be hypnotized this Friday at EMCS

Sooke's cheerleading squad is fundraising for competitions

Are you itching for a good laugh? Are you looking for a one-off performance from a group of talented cheerleaders? Would you like to be amazed, hypnotized and get your mind blown?

Excellent. Because this Friday, April 10, local hypnotist/magician Scott Ward will be performing at the Edward Milne community school (EMCS) theatre; a show where the audience not only becomes part of the action, but part of the laughter as well.

Tickets are $15 a pop, with all the proceeds going to a noble cause – helping the EMCS cheerleading team reach their projected $12,000 goal; the funds will cover all necessary equipment, travel costs as well as the team’s journey to the provincial cheerleading tournament this April. The cheerleading group will kick off Friday’s event with a brief performance.

“It won’t be your average magic show, so be prepared to be amazed and hypnotized” said Ward, who’s convincingly (and safely) hypnotized over 40,000 people to date. And it’s not an exaggeration, either; the audience really does become the show – he’ll select 24 people to be up on stage with him.

“I’ll start off with a few magic tricks, some comedy, then we do the hypnosis – I have to introduce myself very quickly, shake hands with everyone at the door and build a rapport,” he said. “It’s very interactive.”

And it’s all live; no wires, scripts or prop mirrors. Ward noted that the people in the audience are picked at random — most of whom would have never been hypnotized, or even seen a hypnotist show.

“A lot of people think it’s set up because people think, why would this senior be up there doing Elvis? – or why would this youth become Zayn from One Direction? They must know the person, right? But I don’t,” he said, adding that each show is completely different and you never know what you’re gonna get; it varies from people shaking their booty to becoming a famous singer.

Ward says it’s not only about making the audience laugh, either; but also about leaving everyone with a positive message.

“They’re gonna see their dreams and goals and aspirations in life, they’re gonna walk away with more self-confidence on stage,” he said. “A lot of people say they don’t like going up on stage, so I tell them, come up on stage, let me hypnotize you, if it works it works, if it doesn’t, enjoy the show from your seats.”

There’s certainly more to the man than just the magic. Ward, originally from the Prairies, got his degree in drama education from the University of Alberta,  after which he worked for the local government there as a career and employment counsellor. It was at this point when he decided to take an optional workshop on hypnotism that his passion for the craft really began.

“I took the training at the hypnotism school in Red Deer and started doing shows almost immediately,” he said. “People in the course said to me, hey, you’re pretty good at this, you should take it to the stage. I said, well, I’m a drama teacher… sure, why not.” (laughs)

He is also half Ukrainian and half First Nations Ojibwa, which is why he does a lot of First Nations fly-in shows up in northern communities (since there are no roads) –  in addition, he’s a co-founder of an organization called Going MILES, (Motivate, Inspire, Lead, Empower, Succeed) along with Dakota House, a famous First Nations actor from Edmonton.

This Friday’s show will be Ward’s third in Sooke this year, having done couple of shows already for the Sooke Options for Community Living Association (SOCLA). For Ward, an EMCS cheerleaders fundraiser seemed like a perfect opportunity to help out.

“I figured, the cheerleaders need to kick off their fundraiser, so I figured, hey, I’ll do a show and all the proceeds go to you guys!”

So far the cheerleading youth have raised about 50 per cent of the money they need for their competitions and equipment. They have around $6,000 left to raise.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. at the Edward Milne community school theatre and the show starts off at 7 sharp. Tickets can be purchased from EMCS, Shoppers Drug Mart, Stick in the Mud, and the Sooke River Store.

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