Dr. C. Lowell Lees Biography

Dr. C. Lowell Lees Biography

Dr. C Lowell Lees was born in Salt Lake City, Utah on May 22, 1904 to Charles Milton and Elizabeth Bishop Lees.Active in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints he graduated from LDS high school and went on to attend the University of Utah where received an A.B. degree in 1926. He furthered his education at the University of Northwestern graduating with a Masters of Art in 1932 and received a Ph.D from the University of Wisconsin in 1934 where he was an instructor for 3 years. He later taught at the University of Minnesota from 1937-1943 before returning the U.

Head of the University speech and theatre arts department from 1943-1964, Dr. Lees had a profound effect on the theatre community during his 21 years at the University.  He was the leading force in establishing a professional theatre on the University campus to serve the Salt Lake community and University students as well as simultaneously meeting the demands of theatre-goers, but also serve as a model of standards and practices in the profession. This vision eventually became Pioneer Memorial Theatre which began construction in July of 1960. The building, a predecessor to the Salt Lake Theatre was dedicated on October 10th, 1962, with funding appropriated from the Utah State Legislature, Kennecott Copper, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and the public.

Dr. Lees left the University in 1964 to work at the Pasadena Playhouse in California. He later came back to the U in 1971 and was appointed adjunct professor for the Department of Theatre by PMT Artistic Director Dr. Keith M. Engar. He died November 29th, 1973 from a heart attack at his home, he was 69 years old. Lees Main Stage is named in honor of Dr. C. Lowell Lees.

“The Friendships I have known and the many expressions of sincere gratitude for whatever I have contributed to this community will be the strong basis for my creative work in another place….Wherever I may go, or whatever I may do, my dedication will always be the same…to help Salt Lake and Utah attain the great theater and art center that was implied in their pioneer heritage.” –Dr. C Lowell Lees