March to the beat of your own drum

Fri, May 6 2016


Musician. Globetrotter. Audio ace.

Some people would cringe at the idea of teetering 50 plus feet above the ground, waiting for the precise moment to jump forward and reach for a trapeze bar that hasn’t quite arrived yet.

But Wade Staples isn’t one of those people, and he seems almost nonchalant when he talks about the time he did just that at the Adelaide Fringe Festival.

“We were walking through the fringe and they had a huge, full trapeze area set up. So I convinced several members of our group—there were about six or eight of us—to do the workshop. We got to do the full routine—swing a few times, then hook on by our knees, grab onto the catcher’s arms and then let go of our bar to land in the net. It was a blast.” 

“ I do all of these things and it may sound like a lack of focus, but it's really because I like exploring.” 

Wade’s recounting of his trapeze experience may seem casual, but the sparkle in his eye is unmistakable. The music and theatre production alumnus loves an adventure, so when he sees something that interests him—music, theatre production, special effects, travelling, photography, scuba diving, designing, teaching—he goes for it in the same way he went for that swinging bar … all in and without hesitation.

“I do all of these things and it may sound like a lack of focus, but it’s really because I like exploring,” he says.

Indeed, as a student at MacEwan more than 20 years ago, Wade approached his education with the fervor and fascination of an explorer facing a new land and pursued each interest as it evolved before him. It’s how his original two-year music diploma stretched into six years at MacEwan—he not only completed the general stream, but also went on to conquer the performance and recording majors, and then capped it all off with a diploma in theatre production.

“I had a friend doing lights for bar bands who told me about the Theatre Production program because he was going to take it. I was really interested in light and sound—the technical side of things—so I thought I’d stick around for another couple of years,” he grins.

Throughout his education, Wade jumped at every opportunity to perform, manage, design and learn. He got his rigging, pyrotechnics and other certifications, became a member of the stagehand union and ensconced himself in the music and theatre worlds working on concerts, rock shows, theatre productions—he even started his own production services company.

He credits the faculty in his programs with helping him make connections that led him to many of those opportunities, and he tries to do the same for his students today as a faculty member with the Theatre Production program. “There are so many opportunities for students to get involved in the community because of the connections faculty have.”

Because for every door someone opened for him, Wade found 10 more beyond that he was eager to throw open himself, leading him to discover passion after passion, adventure after adventure.

 “I remember meeting Dr. MacEwan years ago and he talked about the idea of lifelong learning as exploring. This is what keeps you going; creating new stuff, challenging you. Whether it’s designing … scuba diving … or travelling … or teaching, I like exploring just how far we can go, and encouraging others to do the same.”

Wade is an alumnus of the Music and Theatre Production programs, and is currently a faculty member in the Theatre Production program. Find out more at and