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Fonds F0111 - Victor Mitchell fonds.

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Victor Mitchell fonds.


  • [192-]-2006 (Creation)

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.65 cm of textual records and graphic materials

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Name of creator

Biographical history

Victor Edward Mitchell was born January 29, 1929 in Vancouver B.C. He graduated from Victoria High School in 1947 and received his B.A. from the University of British Columbia in 1950. After completing a Professional Teaching Certificate he taught drama in Ladner and served two years as the High School principal in Slocan. He moved to England for a short time to study theatre at the London Guildhall School of Music and Drama and was a tutor at Westminster City School in 1959. Mitchell received a Canada Council grant to study theatre production at Stanford University where he received his Master of Arts in 1964. He was in the midst of writing his PhD dissertation when he was hired at the University of Calgary.

Mitchell was the Head of the Drama Division in the Department of Fine Arts from 1965-1968. He then became first Head of the new Department of Drama 1968-1974 in the newly formed Faculty of Fine Arts. Under his direction the department grew rapidly in the 1970s, following Mitchell’s production centred curriculum that blended academic and practical studies around the preparation and performance of stage plays. Mitchell chose plays that challenged both his students and the audience including Volpone, The House of Atreus, In the Penal Colony, and Spring Awakening. He also conducted summer theatre study tours for the Faculty of Continuing Education: London, Stratford and Edinburgh in 1982; and Stratford, Niagara-on-the-Lake, and New York in 1983. Mitchell retired from the University in 1984 and was awarded Professor Emeritus status.

Mitchell was very active in educational and community theatre groups in Calgary. Among his many activities he was a founding member and on the Board of Directors of MAC 14 Theatre (1965-1968), the Musicians and Actors Club that was the precursor to Theatre Calgary; a founding director of Prairie Players, a professional touring company (1966-1968); and a founding member with Joyce Doolittle of Calgary Youth Drama Society and the Pumphouse Theatre. Mitchell was also the founder and director of several productions for the Riverside Theatre Company and The Alternative Theatre Company. Among the many productions he directed and/or acted in were: The Importance of Being Earnest, Every Man in his Humour, Ten O’Clock Mail, Echoes in the Attic, Hosanna, and Saved. Mitchell continued to act and direct in his retirement in Victoria, and was honoured with a theatre named for him at the Pumphouse Theatre in 1984.

Mitchell travelled widely in his retirement, touring Vietnam and Turkey, visiting friends in England and Europe and frequently spending his winters in Thailand and the Philippines. He died in Victoria, B.C. on July 22nd, 2006.

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Scope and content

The fonds consists of records created or collected by Dr. Mitchell over the course of his life and his career. The records include school photographs, his work as an actor and director in early productions in high school and while teaching at high schools in British Columbia. The records also document his education at Stanford University and include degrees and certificates, newsclippings, reviews and photographs of productions, and Mitchell’s Master of Arts thesis. The records also reflect Mitchell’s teaching career at the University of Calgary, and his work in establishing various community theatre ventures including the Alternative Theatre Company and the Pumphouse Theatre. The records also include photographs and slides of family, friends, and his trips to Europe and Asia, and three scrapbooks of playbills, newsclippings, reviews, photographs, cards and correspondence.

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System of arrangement

The fonds is arranged into five series: Personal records; Education; Department of Drama; Community Theatre and: Scrapbooks.

Only a small portion of the records were found in file folders. The majority of the records were found loose in the boxes and were not organized into any discernible order. Order has been imposed by the arranging archivist in chronological sequence. Where file titles were not apparent, these have been created according to the content of the records. The scrapbooks have been dissembled for preservation purposes. The contents of the scrapbooks remain the order they were found in, either inserted between the pages, or affixed to the pages.

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See also the Department of Drama fonds at the University of Calgary.
See also Theatre Calgary fonds at the Glenbow Museum and Archives (Series IV on the MAC-14 Society) and the Victor Edward Mitchell fonds at the City of Victoria that contains photographs of Mitchell, family homes, friends, relatives, family vacations, and theatre productions.

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