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The Magic of Childhood

“See, this is my opinion: we all start out knowing magic. We are born with whirlwinds, forest fires, and comets inside us. We are born able to sing to birds and read the clouds and see our destiny in grains of sand. But then we get the magic educated right out of our souls. We get it churched out, spanked out, washed out, and combed out. We get put on the straight and narrow and told to be responsible. Told to act our age. Told to grow up, for God’s sake. And you know why we were told that? Because the people doing the telling were afraid of our wildness and youth, and because the magic we knew made them ashamed and sad of what they’d allowed to wither in themselves.” – Excerpt from Boy’s Life by Robert McCammon.

There are two events in my life that stand out as helping make me the father I am today. They guide how I am raising my son.

My mother passed away when I was twelve. The harsh reality that is cancer ripped her away from my brother and I.

Seven years later, when I was 19, I read a book. That book was Boy’s Life, by Robert McCammon.

I grew up in a small idyllic town and could not have asked for a better childhood. Every day was an new adventure filled with endless possibilities and the excitement of never knowing what could happen next. There were no limits to what I could do. I lived life to it’s fullest, like only a child can. And then it was gone. In a space of a few minutes, I became an adult. Needless to say, I was not equipped to deal with it, but I managed to get by.

On the surface, Boy’s Life is about a twelve year old boy who finds himself hot on the trail of a murderer in his small, southern US town, an idyllic childhood setting not unlike my own. However, even with such a mature and unusual plot, the author also brilliantly captures the magic of childhood. How it’s the only time in your life that dinosaurs can roam the streets…monsters can live in the depths of a river…you can meet a gunslinger named The Candystick Kid…and all of this surrounded by the best friends a kid could ever have.

When I read this book for the first time (I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve read it), it brought back memories of the first twelve years of my life. It reminded me what it felt like to be a child…to live life with that innocence, wonder and joy. My dog might not have come back to life, and I didn’t have a friend that had a perfect throwing arm, but I built the biggest snow forts that the world has ever seen and I could control waves using the Force. And I did have a bike that could fly.

After reading this book, I decided that if I was lucky enough to become a parent, I would foster this magic in my child. That I would do everything in my power to make it last as long as possible, because I’m all too aware that this magical time is fleeting, and worse yet, it can be taken from you at anytime. For seven years after my mother died I was too busy surviving to keep it alive. Then I read this book, and something in me started burning again. And I made a pledge to myself. I was going to keep the magic alive, and pass it along if I could.

I’m now a Dad and thankfully my wife has joined me on this particular endeavour. One of the ways we’ve been helping him find the magic is to let him explore. Explore his neighbourhood of New Westminster until he knows all of his neighbours. Explore all possible sports until he settles on the one he loves. Explore all the arts until he finds what inspires him. But most of all, let him explore his imagination to its fullest.

My son is now five and a half. He believes he works close to the North Pole, with a bevy of worker friends. Two of them are named George; one is good and never makes mistakes; the other’s real name is Franken and he speaks in farts. He believes that Santa Claus is the boss of everything. He believes if the wind is strong enough, and he jumped really high, that he could fly. He believes that he’s the fastest kid alive. He’s looking forward to going to nerd school so that he can learn to make robots. And he believes he can talk to birds.

I don’t know how long he will believe the above. The world these days doesn’t really inspire such beliefs. Kids are expected to grow up faster and faster. Priority seems to be on making them ready for the future, less so on enjoying the precious years of their childhood. My wife and I have committed ourselves to keeping magic alive and we’ve tried to surround ourselves with people that believe in this gift. People that will help him remain young at heart, and keep those whirlwinds, forest fires and comets inside of him.

I don’t really remember much about my mother. I don’t know what she was like when not a parent. And I don’t know how much of her is in this kid, a kid that will never get to meet her. But she instilled this sense of wonder in me, and I believe she would be proud of me for trying to keep this flame alive, in me and in her grandson.

Fall Priority Registration

We’re excited to announce that Fall priority registration for returning parents is now open. We’re introducing a lot of changes this September, including new names for existing classes and brand new programs. We also have new registration software, which will make it easier than ever for parents to register and keep track of courses we’re offering.

To find out more about our current and new programs, follow this link: Programs.

If you’re a returning parent and would like to register for September 2015, follow this link: Registration ( a $50 non-refundable deposit is required to reserve your spot at this time and an invoice will be emailed to you promptly after your registration is received)

Priority registration for returning families will end on June 7.

If you have any questions or issues with our new registration software, please don’t hesitate to email Martin at martin@thestagenewwest.ca.

If you have any questions about classes or registration options please email stefanie@thestagenewwest.ca

Free Trial Classes on June 13

Due to popular demand, we will be holding free trials of all our classes on June 13. These trials will be for classes starting in the Fall of 2015, for which we will start accepting registrations on that day for the general public.

  • Free Trial Stage Baby | 0-18 Months | 9:15am – 10:00am
  • Free Trial Stage Toddler | 16-35 Months | 10:30am-11:15am
  • Free Trial Stage Season | 3-5 Years | 11:45am-12:45pm
  • Free Trial Stage World | 5-7 Years | 1:00-2:00pm

These usually fill up quickly, so reserve your spot now.

Introducing our Musical Theatre collaboration with Qayqayt School

Our director is teaming up with community schools to bring you an introduction to Musical Theatre at Qayqayt Elementary School.

The perfect program for students just looking to try out performance classes for the first time. This program will introduce young performers to singing, dancing and acting in a fun and energetic class. We will prepare a short presentation to showcase all our hard work at the end of the program.

Follow this link for more information: Musical Theatre with The Stage

Introducing PianoPlay

We’re proud to introduce PianoPlay, our version of piano lessons for kids. We make sure the kids have fun, while learning the fundamentals of playing piano.

Unlike a traditional instrument lesson, PianoPlay strives to involve the whole body in learning theory and piano fundamentals. Each student will participate in an interactive theory lesson as well as a piano lesson in each 45 minute session. Students will learn to create music in a fun, and safe way, that will encourage further study. Proper posture, keyboard skills and music literacy will be explored through game play, drawing exercises & physical activity.

More information on PianoPlay

Two years!

Did you know The Stage celebrated it’s two year anniversary yesterday? The growth we’ve achieved in this short amount of time is amazing, and we have you, New Westminster, to thank.

So thank you.

And we’re not resting on our laurels. We have big plans for 2015 and are so excited to move forward and upward! So keep your eyes open on this page, our Facebook page and our Twitter feed for the latest announcements.



Spring Break Camp

Musical Theatre Day Camps at The Stage are an exciting and engaging activity for your child during Spring Break. Each week, students will participate in creating a musical theatre production; classes include singing, dancing and acting, as well as costume, set and props design and production.

Our Day Camps are a great way for children to try out theatre without having to commit to a longer course. If your child loves playing dress up and make believe, creates skits for Grandma and Grandpa to watch in the living room, or is simply looking for a new experience, this course is for you! Because we believe in small class sizes and quality instruction, scripts are tailor-made for each class to best suit the individual needs of students, whether this is their first time on stage or they’re experienced thespians.

For more info, click on the following dates: