Mr. Mells emigrated to Canada from New Zealand in the 1950s and began his career as a high school teacher in Saskatchewan. After moving to Alberta, he became a pioneer in the creation and development of Alberta’s provincial theatre community.
He was a founding member of Medicine Hat Musical Theatre and directed the company’s first production of Oklahoma! in 1961. He was also a founding member of Lethbridge Musical Theatre in 1964, and directed its first production, Finnian’s Rainbow.
Mr. Mells was also first Director of Operations and the Artistic Director for the Keyano Theatre Company (KTC) in Fort McMurray. The first KTC performance was A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which opened on July 23, 1980. KTC inaugural season opened with West Side Story later that fall. Mr. Mells directed both productions, and served as KTC’s Artistic Director for eight years.
Mr. Mells has been involved in more than 100 musicals, plays and entertainment projects (mainly as a director) in Alberta and British Columbia. He was a theatre administrator, producer, actor and entrepreneur. Theatre Alberta would like to extend our condolences to Mr. Mells’s family and friends, and the many communities that have been impacted by his work.
Click here to view the announcement of Mr. Mells’s passing on the Medicine Hat Musical Theatre website.
Click here to learn more about the creation of Medicine Hat Musical Theatre.
Click here to learn more about the creation of Lethbridge Musical Theatre.
Click here to read about the Keyano Theatre Company (KTC) and the Arts Centre.