“A Day in the Life” with Vancouver Theatre Actor Melissa Oei

Melissa Oei is fortunate to live, play, and follow her career passion as a theatre actor and director on the traditional, unceded territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. She has been praised for her kindness, openness, empathy, warmth, engaging personality, and strong work ethic. Melissa has performed and directed for and with many BC theatre production companies, collectives, and members, and she experiences heartfelt joy working alongside her friends and colleagues in front of Vancouver’s wonderfully receptive audiences. She is a recent recipient of a Jessie Richardson Theatre Award for her role in LIKE IT OR NOT with Green Thumb Theatre (2021/2022). She achieved career dream gigs by starring as Hippolyta (as well as understudying Titania and Helena) in Bard on the Beach’s production of A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM (2022) and the one-person show THE TWELVE DATES OF CHRISTMAS (2020) with Arts Club Theatre Company. Melissa is a graduate of Studio 58 and holds a diploma in film production from Langara College. She enjoys mentoring others pursuing acting or directing as a career and is always inspired by and learning from the incredible amount of talent in our industry. Melissa and I enjoy spending time together and with family and friends at home, the movies, stage plays, theme parks, art galleries and museums, racing against each other in Mario Kart, and outdoor activities like coffee walks, hiking, swimming and kayaking, and definitely relaxing and exploring when we’re on vacation. After a long pandemic followed by an unprecedented couple of years of work, as a lifelong traveller, Melissa is excited to keep exploring the world.

-Written by Chad Kerychuk, Melissa’s spouse

Melissa Oei
A recent hike in Lynn Canyon in Melissa’s childhood neighbourhood of North Vancouver. Photo by Chad Kerychuk.
Melissa Oei
Melissa and Chad love to regularly visit museums, galleries and exhibits. Here they are at the TELUS World of Science in Chad’s hometown of Edmonton. Photo by Chad Kerychuk.
Melissa and Chad on Cavendish Beach in Prince Edward Island. Photo by Chad Kerychuk.
The cast of Zee Zee Theatre’s upcoming production of Unexpecting by Brownyn Carradine, directed by Cameron Mackenzie playing from May 5-21 at Studio 16 in Vancouver. From L-R: Melissa Oei, Rahat Saini, Elizabeth Barrett, Jessica Heafy. Photo by Tina Kulic.
Melissa in Pi Theatre’s production of Lampedusa in 2022 playing the role of Denise, a bi-racial loan collector living in Leeds struggling to find compassion while making a better life for herself. Photo by Javier R Sotres.
Melissa on the harbourfront in Halifax Nova Scotia. Photo by Chad Kerychuk.
Melissa Oei
Melissa at the Jessie Richardson Theatre Awards. In 2022, Melissa won for her performance in Like it or Not with Green Thumb Theatre. Photo by Rob Trendiak.
Melissa Oei
Melissa as Hippolyta in Bard on the Beach’s 2022 production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Photo by Tim Matheson.

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Which ’hood are you in?

I was born and grew up in North Vancouver in beautiful Deep Cove and then Lower Lonsdale. For the past several years I have been living in Fairview, a quiet neighbourhood in Vancouver just South of downtown that still offers affordable rentals, so many of my neighbours are fellow theatre actors and artists. I am within walking distance of Granville Island, a gem in the city filled with local art and theatres and somewhere I am blessed to work regularly.

What do you do?

I am primarily a theatre actor, but during Covid, my interest in theatre directing grew as important conversations were being had about improvements needed in our industry. As a bi-racial woman, I want to be part of making positive change in this community I love so much, and I want to help elevate voices and improve representation for those who have been historically silenced. In 2022 I performed in 5 theatre productions and directed my first 3, which has certainly been the busiest year of my 15-year-long career. I even had the opportunity to return to my alma mater, Studio 58 and direct a student production. It was a very meaningful full-circle moment for me.

What are you currently working on?

I am currently playing the role of Pam in the world premiere of Unexpecting by local playwright Bronwyn Carradine produced by Zee Zee Theatre playing from May 5-21 at Studio 16 in Vancouver. The show is a heartfelt and hilarious comedy about a queer couple, Annie and Jo, and their ups and downs of trying to start a family. Pam is the single best friend who offers support in her own sassy way!

Where can we find your work?

Live and on stage! My next project is assistant directing Division Infinity Saves the World with Newworld Theatre presented at the Vancouver International Children’s Festival from May 30-June 4. This November I will play the role of Nora in A Doll’s House Part 2 with Western Gold Theatre and in January I will perform in the newest work by writer/director Carmen Aguirre in Electric Company Theatre’s Fire Never Dies: The Tina Modotti Project. I promote my work on Instagram.

 

 

About Demian Vernieri 482 Articles
Demian is an Argentinian retired musician, avid gamer and editor for the Montréal Guardian, Toronto Guardian, Calgary Guardian and Vancouver Guardian websites.