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Michael Cade: Passion for arts

Michael Cade is the executive director at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre.  - JENNA HAUCK/ PROGRESS FILE
Michael Cade is the executive director at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre.
— image credit: JENNA HAUCK/ PROGRESS FILE

I have great admiration for passionate people. From what I’ve observed, people with great passion often create great things. For Michael Cade, his passion has always been in theatre. He lives it and breathes it, and for him, he wouldn’t want it any other way.

Michael was the baby of his family and they doted on him. His father was a postal supervisor while his mother took care of their four children. “Once I was old enough, mom took on a job outside the home as a home care aid,” he said.

As a youngster, Michael was a model child who was enthralled and very involved in the arts. “I put on puppet shows at the church and did plays for the neighbourhood kids. I was also into drawing and painting,” he explained.

In school, he excelled at math and theatre and admits that if he hadn’t gone into theatre, he would have probably gone into accounting. Michael concedes that no one in his family, to the best of his recollection, was artistic. “My family loved me and supported me and there was always a willingness on their part to let me do what I wanted to do and what I had to do. I loved the arts and they let me be me,” he said thankfully.

Through high school, Michael was the biggest and brightest star on stage. He loved performing and once he left school and began attending the University of Victoria, for two years, he dreamed of becoming a great actor. Then eventually, upon reflection, he recognized that the lifestyle wasn’t for him. “Many performers, even though they were good, were waiting on tables and driving taxis to supplement their income. Being a starving actor was just not for me so I chose to be good at what I did in a different way. It was just not my calling in life, so I took a year off and worked to save some money and then went to UBC. I loved what I was doing but I didn’t particularly like UBC so again, I took a year off and worked. I even worked at Canada Post while going to school,” he said. Michael eventually returned to UVic both as a student and as a staff member. “I headed up their props department and once my studies were complete, I earned a degree in Technical Theatre and Theatre Design.”

He worked in Victoria for a time then left for Vancouver, did a stint in Kelowna and then Regina and eventually wound up in his hometown of Kamloops. “I was there for 14 years and then moved to Vernon and worked there for nine years,” he reflected. Three years ago, Michael moved to Chilliwack to take on the position of Artistic Managing Director for the Chilliwack Arts and Culture Society, in addition to being Executive Director of the Chilliwack Cultural Centre. He successfully launched the facility here after having launched new theatre buildings in Victoria and Vernon, something that he found very gratifying.

Michael reflects, he analyses and calculates before making a decision. “I had never done weaving before, for instance. At this facility, I decided to take it on because it’s important to understand the rhythm of the various things,” he noted, as I admired his woven creations, lying on a wall cabinet behind his desk.

His job is intense and time consuming; a challenge that he welcomes. “I go to a show once every two weeks and I also attend national booking conferences. At these conferences, I’ll watch 11 to 15 shows or parts of shows per day,” he said.

During his off time, Michael loves movies, as if there was ever a question. “I have a passion for popcorn and big budget movies,” he chuckled. He admits to being totally addicted to reality TV and is fascinated and captivated by Disney theme parks. “To me, they’re pure art. I’m passionate about public art.”

While he’s thankful for many things, one of the things that Michael cherishes most is the time that he was able to spend with his mother before she passed away from the ravages of ALS, a disease sometimes known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. “I was very close to mom and I’m so glad to have spent as much time with her as I did. She was a loving, generous and free-spirited woman who loved life and who always had a free smile and laughter. Even as the disease progressed, she still loved life. What an incredible person she was!” he said, with sheer admiration.

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