Emrys Maldwyn Jones was born in Dowlais, Wales on 14 September 1905. His early education was in Edmonton, Alberta, including a B.A from the University of Alberta in 1931.
In the summer of 1928 Jones took a train north from Edmonton to the terminus at Waterways where he boarded a boat that would eventually take him north to the Mackenzie River Delta.
From 1931 to 1939, he taught high school in Edmonton. He returned to the University of Alberta in 1939 where he combined employment as a drama instructor with his graduate studies. He earned his MA in 1943 and spent the next two years studying at Cornell and Columbia universities on a Rockefeller Fellowship.
In 1945 Emrys Jones joined the faculty of the University of Saskatchewan as Professor and Head Department of Drama. He was the first full professor of drama to be appointed at a Commonwealth university. During his career Jones educated hundreds of students, directed dozens of plays, and advanced the dramatic arts on the national stage by founding the Canadian Theatre Centre in 1956. He was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (London) in 1971 and named Professor Emeritus of Drama in 1973.