At Lights Up, we teach musical theatre fundamentals that help students shine on stage and in all aspects of their lives.
You don’t have to be a budding starlet to benefit from our programs. Theatre is more about the process than the end production. Students learn to work in teams, solve problems, build confidence, be creative, and explore their talents while also making new friends.
Our instructors, like our students, come from a variety of backgrounds, training, and reasons for performing. However, we are united by our goal of inspiring the next generation to find self-confidence, arts appreciation, and skill development. Take a moment to meet our talented instructors and learn a bit more about why they love to teach!
Hilary is originally from London, UK where she worked as a singer in Musical Theatre for over 10 years, Hilary is passionate about providing theatre opportunities to children that contribute to their growth not only in performance skills but in all areas of their lives. Running theatre programs in Vancouver since moving here on 2006, Hilary has unique experience and skills to help each student find their inner star. Hilary has produced shows for our students in some of Vancouver’s finest theatres including the Queen Elizabeth and The Orpheum.
Mike is our general admin superstar and spends a lot of his time keeping things running smoothly between classes. Originally from the UK, he moved to Canada in the mid 2000’s and started Lights Up with his wife Hilary. He also paints some beautiful sets and is prop master extraordinaire! Mike thoroughly enjoys working with children and is proud to be involved with providing these great experiences to our youth.
Billie is the school director at Lights Up’s Vancouver Westside location. She believes that students should be themselves and, when it comes to performing, always remember that the audience wants them to succeed. In high school, Billie sang for the Queen of England during one of her royal visits. If she were to randomly sing any song out loud it would be “I’m Still Standing”, by Elton John.
Billie trained in New York before returning to Vancouver to share her passion for musical theatre with young people.
Rebecca has taught both starlight’s and Sparkles over the years at several Lights up locations. She is now the School director at our Lights up North Vancouver and Metrotown locations. Rebecca grew up in England and studied at Dolphin Dance studios and Elliot Clarke School of excellence, one of the oldest school’s in the world. She gained her BA in Drama and Community Arts from Manchester Metropolitan University and also has her early childhood education certificate. Rebecca’s favourite performance opportunity was singing in Andrew Lloyd Webber and Sir Tim Rice’s Joseph and his Technicolour Dreamcoat on the Empire Theatre Liverpool.
Originally from Red Deer, Alberta, Vanessa Hodgins has been involved in musical theatre all her life and has always had a passion for both performing and teaching. Growing up in a community-based theatre, she fell in love with the arts from a very early age and her passion has only grown. With a keen interest in pursuing theatre as a career, Vanessa eventually found her way to Vancouver and received her Musical Theatre Diploma from Capilano University. Working with Lights Up since 2019, her favourite thing has been to experience the differences in age groups and how over the process of the term they change so much and find their artistic voices!
Ian is an actor, director and theatre educator who has been an active member of the Vancouver Theatre community for over a decade. His passion for arts in education has led him all over the country on a number of National tours with both Green Thumb Theatre and Axis Theatre. He has worked as an arts instructor for Lights Up, Gateway Theatre, Arts Connection, Young Actors Project and has directed and acted for a number of companies in BC. He is a Jessie Richardson Awards recipient and a graduate of Douglas College and the University of British Columbia.
My child has little or no experience with performing arts, are they able to join Lights Up?
YES! Everyone is welcome to give Lights Up a try! No experience is required to join our programs, some students may have lots of past experience, others may be starting out on their performing journey and everyone is welcome. It makes for a great class dynamic to have students of different abilities and skill sets working alongside each other.
We are proud to be a fully inclusive program. Everyone is welcome to join Lights Up regardless of background, medical/learning conditions or individual situation.
What ages do you offer classes for?
We offer weekly classes for students between the ages of 3 and 18yrs; Starlight for 3-5yrs, Spotlight for 6-14yrs (students are divided into 3 different groups, split by age) and The Company for 13-18yrs.
Spring Break and Summer Camps are for 4-13yr olds, half day camps for 4-6yrs, full day camps for 6-13yrs. Students are divided into groups, split by age.
After School programs take place in elementary schools by arrangement with the school/PAC. These programs are for grades K and up.
Will my child be with other children their age? What if they have no prior experience?
At Lights Up, we believe in grouping students by age, not experience or skill level. Students are split into class groups based on age in all our programs and camps so peer groups are maintained and new friendships can flourish!
How long is a term at Lights Up?
There are three terms per year: Winter, Fall, and Spring. Each term is 10 weeks long. During the summer and spring break, we offer week-long day camps. After school programs are usually 8-12 weeks long as per arrangement with the school and PAC.
Lights Up is an ongoing program, current students have a guaranteed place for the next term, no need to register again online! You can book your continuing place via our email confirmation sent to you as the end of the current term approaches.
When are the classes?
Weekly classes run on Saturdays and Sundays (select programs), either morning or afternoon. Day camps run Mon-Fri during Spring break and Summer holidays. Afterschool programs (by arrangement of the school PAC) can operate on select days immediately after school finishes.
What does my child need to wear to Lights Up?
When you first join Lights Up, you pay a one-time $25 sign up fee. This covers the cost of your student kit including; T-Shirt, a bag and a folder for storing lyrics and scripts. We encourage children to pair their Lights Up shirt with black leggings or sweat pants. Dance shoes (Jazz Shoes or gym slippers for younger students) are recommended footwear, they prevent slips and trips and aid dance technique, these can be purchased at any dance store. Please ask us for recommendations and local stockists.
What if I am not able to attend a class?
If you find that you are unable to attend your usual Lights Up class, please contact us via email or through the website, giving as much notice as possible. We encourage students to attend every week, but understand that this is not always possible but having notice of absences helps us plan accordingly.
What performance opportunities do you offer?
There’s lots of opportunity to perform at Lights Up! We are a skills building program with the emphasis on time in the classroom but putting on a show is integral to the work we do at Lights Up and we LOVE to show off onstage!
At the end of each term (Fall, Winter and Spring) we hold performances. This vary from casual in-house presentations, lead by our teachers to large-scale productions at some of the cities finest theatres. In the past we have performed at the Vancouver Playhouse, Queen Elizabeth Theatre, The York Theatre, The Cultch and more!
Find out more about our performance opportunities here.
Do you charge a costume fee for performances?
No! Any costumes required are provided by Lights Up. If we do ask for costuming from home it is minimal (ex. a white t shirt). When performing in a theatre, we do sell tickets to cover basic rental costs, but prices are kept at a minimum to make the experience affordable for family and friends.
What if my child doesn’t like Lights Up after we join?
We are confident your child will enjoy their time at Lights Up, however we do understand singing, dancing and acting may not be for everyone, but everyone is more than welcome to give it a try!
When you enroll, we only take a deposit that holds your spot in the program and also covers your first two weeks of classes (we always suggest trying 2 weeks as week 1 is always new, by week 2 they will have made some friends and have a good idea of what our classes are all about). If after the first 2 weeks, you decide, for whatever reason not to continue for the remaining classes of the term, you can cancel your place but contacting us before the 3rd week, we will unenroll you and your fee balance will no longer be payable or will be refunded.
For afterschool programs, full payment is required for registration, however, we will of course refund any balance of fees if your child decides they do not wish to continue. As for our other programs, we encourage them to try 2 weeks!
How can you help if my child is interested in performing professionally?
We cater to children of all abilities – from the very shy to those who are beginning to perform professionally. Our principals and teachers are all professionals in the performing arts industry and are happy to advise and offer suggestions for those wishing to perform professionally.
My child is very shy. Will Lights Up help them?
Yes! We value meeting students where they are at and helping them to gain confidence and overcome barriers. Many students flourish at Lights Up and other aspects of their lives after being very hesitant to join in at first.
How is Lights Up different from other theatre schools?
We cater to the individual needs of each student. Whether children need a boost in self-confidence or want to become professional actors, we can help and support them on their journeys. We offer well-rounded programs that cover singing, dancing and acting in the same place at the same time. So, there’s no need to drive around to different locations for different classes.
Who teaches the classes?
All of our teachers are trained in performing arts. Many of them have worked professionally and some are still regular performers in the Vancouver theatre community. To find out more about our teachers, click here.
How do I register?
How much do your classes cost?
What is your cancellation policy?
We understand circumstances change, especially with our busy and often complicated kids schedules!
Our terms and conditions allow for stress free switching of classes, timely cancellations, credits and refunds.
Please visit this link for our full terms and conditions for registration;