WTF Festival celebrating Pride Month

Martha Chaves

The WTF Festival is feeling proud. To celebrate Pride Month, organizers are pleased to announce that comedian and LGBTQ+ activist Martha Chaves will be performing at the event’s Night of Hilarity & Awe. The variety show is taking place at the Machine Shop on June 7 at 8 p.m.

Chaves, a Canadian Comedy Award winner, was born in Nicaragua. Her family fled the country during the Contra War crises and eventually settled in Canada. She started doing stand‐up in the mid‐1990s and, after coming out publically in 2009, began working her experience as a homosexual person of colour into her material.

“I’ll be at the WTF Festival representing!” said Chaves. “I’m hands down the funniest, multilingual, Nicaraguanborn LGBTQ+ comedian in Canada – it has nothing to do with the fact that I am the only one!”

Taking place from June 6 to 8, the 2019 WTF Festival features a number of family‐friendly entertainment, including a star‐studded variety show, magic and improv workshops, and a Grease movie showing and sing‐along. For ticket and other information, visit This year’s lineup includes the following events:
Thursday, June 6
– Jokers Poker Tournament is taking place at Gateway Casinos Sault Ste. Marie. The shuffle‐up‐and‐deal start time is 6 p.m.
-Ryan McFarling: The Imposter is performing An Evening of Stolen Original Magic Tricks at the Water Tower Inn. Doors open at 7:45 p.m. Ryan has modeled his show after those performed by the great Houdini at the turn of the century. It’s close‐up, relaxed and mind‐blowing.
Friday, June 7
– The Night of Hilarity & Awe is happening at the Machine Shop. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. and showtime is 8 p.m. The event is being hosted by Naomi Snieckus and Matt Baram, who both won Canadian Comedy Awards in the Best Improviser category. Naomi is known for her regular role as Bobbi in the television series Mr. D, and Matt is an alumnus of the legendary Second City Comedy Theatre. The variety show will also feature the return of David Merry, one of Canada’s premier magicians, along with Men in Tights: The Kings of Shakespearian Improvisation and Canadian Comedy Award‐winning stand‐up Martha Chaves.

The evening will close with Sean Cullen, an author, actor, singer and comedian. During the show, the Dave Broadfoot Award for Comedic Genius will be given to Sean Cullen, and the Roger Abbott Award will be handed to Carly Heffernan. Both awards will be presented by Don Ferguson, an original cast member of the Royal Canadian Air Farce.

Saturday, June 8
-Actor, author and stand‐up comedian Sean Cullen is doing a Reading and Signing of his children’s books from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. at the Machine Shop. The event will include a meet and greet with the author, question and answer session, and draws for book giveaways.
– Stand‐up comedian and magician David Merry will be teaching his workshop, Magic Tricks With Household Items, from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. at the Machine Shop.
-The WTF Improv Workshop, presented by Men in Tights: The Kings of Shakespearian Improvisation, is taking place from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Machine Shop. During the improv training session, the audience can explore and learn various performance styles from some of the best comedians in the business.

-Magician Ryan McFarling is holding an Illusion Workshop from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Machine Shop.

Following an ice‐breaking baffling demonstration, open discussions will cover magic, magicians, secrecy and the golden rules of magic. Each attendee (must be eight years or older) will be taught the basics of magic and a trick or two that they can show off later to family and friends.

-Learn to Dance the Hand Jive Workshop will take place in the Machine Shop at 6:45 p.m. before the start of Sing‐A‐Long Productions presents GREASE. Attendees can come on out a little early and learn all the moves they’ll need to own the dance floor during the show.

– Sing‐A‐Long Productions presents GREASE will cap off the festival. Grab your leather jackets and head down to the Machine Shop for a showing and live sing‐a‐long of the musical comedy film Grease. The show starts at 8 p.m. Have you ever been to a film musical and had the uncontrollable urge to burst into song? The evening will begin with host comedian Sean Cullen leading a vocal warm‐up. Before the show, the audience will receive a free interactive prop bag and learn appropriate heckles and accompanying actions to use throughout the movie. Just sit back and watch Danny & Sandy and the gang, while singing
and dancing along to the lyrics on the screen. It couldn’t be easier, or more fun! The first rule of Sing‐along‐a is: there are no rules! Fancy dress is strongly encouraged and full audience participation essential.

Space is limited for all the events. For ticket information, along with more details on the performances and workshops, please visit