Faculty Profile

John Devlin, MFA

Associate Professor of Fine Arts: Theatre, Resident Designer and Technical Director

MFA in Design, Syracuse University
MA in American History, Syracuse University
BA, cum laude History and Communication Arts/Theatre, Allegheny College
Deerfield Academy

Areas of Expertise:

  • Lighting Design
  • Production Management
  • Properties Construction
  • Scenic Design
  • Stage Management
  • Technical Direction

Half-Courses I Teach:

  • TH101 Life in the Theatre (taught in rotation with Professors Harrigan and Hurst every other Fall)
  • TH161 Scenery/Paint/Lighting Lab (offered three times in four semesters) LSC Artistic Experience
  • TH163 Scenery/Paint/Lighting/Run Crew Lab (offered every semester) LSC Artistic Experience

Full Courses I Teach:

  • TH209 Stagecrafts (offered odd-year Springs) LSC Artistic Experience
  • TH301 Theatre History from Aeschylus to Zannis (offered even-year Springs) LSC Historical Studies
  • TH331 Scene Design (offered odd-year Falls)
  • TH341 Lighting Design (offered even-year Falls)

Professional Affiliations

  • Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival: Co-Chair for Region; Financial Director for Region; Member of the Regional Selection Team; past Co-Chair for Design, Technology and Management
    - 2016 Reader of 52 Tiny Plays Challenge for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Irish Festival and John F. Kennedy Centennial celebration
  • United States Institute for Theatre Technology - national and regional membership
    - National Adjudicator for USITT Scene Design Award sponsored by Rose Brand, 2014
  • Artistic Associate of Vermont Stage since 2003
  • Theatre Communications Group

Quoted at length in Showcase, Second Edition by Rafael Jaen (Boston: Focal Press, 2012).


I have been involved in 406 productions (256 professional and 150 academic). My professional work has been seen with the following companies:

  • Saint Michael's Playhouse
  • Vermont Stage
  • Moonbox Productions
  • Rogue Dance Company
  • Champlain Quadrennial Festival
  • Milwaukee Chamber Theater
  • Black Hills Playhouse
  • Lost Nation Theatre
  • Northern Stage (White River Junction)
  • Milwaukee Repertory Theater
  • Syracuse Stage
  • First Stage Milwaukee
  • Pine Mountain Music Festival
  • Northern Stage (Milwaukee summer theatre)
  • Skylight Opera Theatre
  • Et toi, tu dances?
  • Milwaukee Ballet

Among my credits, I have 56 professional scenic designs; 50 professional lighting designs; 62 professional production management or stage management credits and 39 professional technical direction credits.  

Recent Theatrical Work Includes:

  • Resident designer (38 designs) and Production Manager for Saint Michael's Playhouse, summer 2002-present
  • Saint Michael’s Playhouse Lighting Design for Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner summer 2016
  • Saint Michael’s Playhouse Scenic Design for Sister Act summer 2016
  • Saint Michael’s Playhouse Scenic Design and Lighting Design for Woody Guthrie’s American Song summer 2015
  • Moonbox Productions (Boston) Scenic Design for Barefoot in the Park Fall 2015
  • Moonbox Productions Scenic Design for Kimberly Akimbo Spring 2015
  • Artistic Associate of Vermont Stage 2002-present  (35 productions, 21 designs)
  • Resident Designer and Technical Director for Saint Michael's Department of Fine Arts 2001-present (32 productions, 47 designs)
  • Scenic and Lighting design for A Midsummer Night’s Dream spring 2016
  • Scenic and Lighting design for The Crucible fall 2015 
  • Scenic, and Lighting design for The Menechmus Twins spring 2015
  • Scenic and Lighting design for Proof fall 2014
  • KCACTF Regional Officer 2004-present
  • KCACTF Respondent (35 shows in the region and 7 outside the region) and selection team member
  • Past Co-Chair of Design, Technology and Management

McCarthy Art Gallery Show “A Peek Behind the Curtain:  The Scenic and Lighting Designs of John Paul Devlin 2001-2015”

Named Davis Fellow, Saint Michael's College

KCACTF Region I Certificate of Merit for Scenic Design of Crimes of the Heart

KCACTF Region I Gold Medallion Recipient for service to the region
The citation reads in part:
Each year, the eight KCACTF regions honor individuals or organizations that have made extraordinary contributions to the teaching and producing of theatre and who have significantly dedicated their time, artistry and enthusiasm to the development of the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival. Most importantly, recipients have demonstrated a strong commitment to the values and goals of KCACTF and to excellence in educational theatre. It is the most prestigious regional  award given by KCACTF and is considered one of the great honors in theatre education.

Named Artistic Associate of Vermont Stage Company

KCACTF Region III Certificate of Merit for Scenic Design of The Rise and Rise of Daniel Rocket

KCACTF Region III Certificate of Merit for Scenic Design of Hedda Gabler

Syracuse University College of Visual and Performing Arts Master's Prize

Allegheny College Departmental Honors, Theatre
Allegheny College Robert C. Wilson Theatre Award
Allegheny College Paul Henry and John V. Gilmore Prize in Theatre

My Saint Michael's:

Over the last 13 years at Saint Michael’s and the previous seven years at Marquette University, I have had had the opportunity to work with many young theatre artists. I enjoy taking time to talk with them about all aspects of theatrical work…and beyond. I especially enjoy working with them in the scene shop during the academic year and through the summer as well.

As a theatre artist, I fully embrace “The Doctrine of Applied Sloth.” Students have heard me hold forth on finding safe, but easier ways of accomplishing projects for years. I owe the phrase to a slender book by Jan Adkins called Moving Heavy Things. Under this doctrine, the age-old stagehands adage applies: never lift what you can drag, never drag what you can roll and never roll what can be left alone. I call myself a lazy man because I’m always looking for simplified approaches to projects — I own that I am a workaholic who has averaged a show every 4.5 weeks for the last 33 years. That work would not be possible without the support of my wife, Carol, since 1989 and the understanding of my children Kat and Patrick.

In My Spare Time:

I enjoy building furniture, vegetable gardening, Sudoko puzzles, and reading history books or anything by Wendell Berry. Favorite films include Citizen Kane, Bladerunner, and The Outlaw Josie Wales. Go figure. I’ll listen to just about any music (at least once through), but prefers classic rock and pop from the 60s to today…with a twist of jazz and folk thrown in for variety. I have enjoyed teaching ninth-grade religious education classes (first year preparation for Confirmation) at my parish in Richmond for the last six years; an age group I never thought I'd have to work with after my own high school graduation. I’m still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up.

Favorite Quote:

“To use gifts less than well is to dishonor them and their Giver. There is no material or subject in Creation that in using, we are excused from using well; there is no work in which we are excused from being able and responsible artists.” - Wendell Berry from “Christianity and the Survival of Creation”

John Devlin, associate professor of fine arts/theatre, designed scenery for Sister Act and lighting for Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner? with the Saint Michael's Playhouse. He was production manager for those two shows as well as Baskerville and Pete ‘n’ Keely.  Working with him this summer were Lauren Sousa ’18, Lindsey Baldwin ’17, Anna-Maria Forger ’17, Rissa Jansky ’18, Jenny Burke ’19, Jordan DeKett ’16, Richie Bernache ’16, Katelyn Whitman ’14, Alan Hefferon ’14 and Tracey Sullivan ’05.  John also designed lighting for the Lost Nation Theater production of Sylvia this fall.  And he collaborated with departmental colleague Cathy Hurst on the departmental production of Ophelia, designing scenery and lighting and supervising the construction of the set.
(posted November 2016)

John Paul Devlin, associate professor of fine arts/theater, and Cathy Hurst, professor of fine Arts/theater, accompanied 18 Saint Michael's College students to the regional Kennedy Center American Theater Festival at Western Connecticut State University in Danbury, CT during the week of January 26 - January 31, 2016.  John is currently the Regional Co-Chair for KCACTF and Cathy is the Immediate Past Chair of the region. Four theater majors (Sean Morrissey ’16, Jordan DeKett ’16, Richie Bernache ‘16 and Josh Lacourse ‘18) participated with their scene partners (Emma Drennen ’19, McKenzie Bergan ’17, Ian Underwood ‘18 and Nathan Worthen ’17 in the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship Audition.  Pat Cornacchio (’18) submitted his dramaturgy research from the Saint Michael’s production of The Crucible for award consideration. Rosalie McNamara '18 served as an Arts Administration Intern for the festival.  Also, John Devlin and Paul Ricciardi from Kingsborough Community College were second-year Regional Co- Chairs.  The KCACTF was host to more than 1,000 theater students and faculty from New England and eastern New York, recognizing the finest and most diverse work in university and college theater programs.
(posted June 2016)

John Paul Devlin, associate professor of fine arts/theater, designed lighting and stage managed Rogue Dance Company’s September concert in the McCarthy Arts Center.  He also designed and painted scenery for the Moonbox Production of Barefoot in the Park running through 11/12 at the BCA Plaza theater in Boston —“ John Paul Devlin’s marvelous set (complete with working stovetop) allows us to look through the tall, side by side kitchen windows to see Thompson crossing the narrow ledge (and waving) like a Flying Wallenda.” http://bostonartsreview.blogspot.com/2015/11/quick-take-review-by-beverly-creasey_27.html “John Paul Devlin's set beautifully captures the ethos of a typical West Side 5th floor walk-up apartment that is the starter home for newlyweds” http://whiterhinoreport.blogspot.com/2015/11/moonbox-productions-presents-neil.html
(posted January 2016)

Cathy Hurst, professor, and John Paul Devlin, associate professor of fine arts/theatre, accompanied 18 Saint Michael's College students to the regional Kennedy Center American Theater Festival in Hyannis, MA, Jan. 26 - Feb.1, with students competing and submitting work in a wide variety of categories, from partner scene-acting to stage management, directing and musical theatre; one student also was administration intern for the festival. Cathy received awards for excellence in directing the acting ensemble for Saint Michael’s productions of Proof and Godspell; she also took home the Kennedy Center Gold Medallion Award for “extraordinary contributions to the teaching and producing of theatre” -- the most prestigious award given by KCACTF among the top theatre-education honors.  She is Immediate Past Chair of KCACTF, Region 1. John is one of two first-year regional co-chairs for the event and weather made this festival a “baptism by blizzard.”  Eleven hundred students and faculty were pre-registered with most scheduled to arrive on Tuesday--the day of the 24-hour travel ban/blizzard in Massachusetts.  John and Paul led the 20-member regional board in reconfiguring the festival schedule to accommodate all the late arrivals without depriving them of opportunities to audition or display their work.  They also coordinated the relocation of four of the six productions invited to the festival when the venues intended for them were closed due to snow.  In a testament to regional resilience, only 38 registrants cancelled.
(posted April 2015)

John Paul Devlin, associate professor of fine arts/theater, served as Production Manager for the Saint Michael's Playhouse this summer, supervising the work of 21 professional staff and interns including seven Saint Michael's students: Mary Jo Rodriguez '13, Katelyn Whitman '14, Shannon Carroll '15, Dee-Jai Cowles '15, Grace Scanlon '15, Julia Bianconi '15, and Lexi Goyette '16. In addition to these duties, John designed lighting for Fiddler on the Roof, and settings for Tuesdays with Morrie and Rumors. On September 20, he will be walking with members of the Drama Club and his daughter Kat in the annual Light the Night walk fundraiser for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Drama Club members began the tradition in honor of Patrick Devlin who died of leukemia in 2009. Members provide a lot of volunteer organizational help on the day of the event and have led the walk, carrying the banner in each of the last four years.

John Paul Devlin, associate professor of fine arts, recently designed lighting for the Vermont Stage production of Time Stands Still and built the scenery for 4000 Miles. He also just returned from the United States Institute for Theatre Technology convention in Milwaukee, WI, where he represented the leadership of Design, Technology and Management for Region One of the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (New England and Eastern New York). In addition to several working meetings for KCACTF, he was on a panel presentation entitled "State of the Art: Design Technology and Management." And he also participated in the USITT/New England and New York Metro area working meetings and the Education Commission working meetings planning for future conferences.

Fine Arts/Theatre Professor Cathy Hurst and Associate Professor John Paul Devlin accompanied 18 students to the regional Kennedy Center American Theatre Festival in Hyannis, MA during the week of January 29 - February 2. Marla Caram '13, Dustin Kenyon '15, Zachary Pesner '15 and Michelle Kazanowski '15 competed with their scene partnersm Richard Bernache '16, Ben Lane '16, Jill Holland '15 and Evyn Whiteley '15, in the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship Audition. Alan Hefferon '14 submitted his video projection design from the college production of APPetite for award consideration, Julia Grace Scanlon '15 submitted her stage management book for APPetite and advanced to the final round of competition. Shannon Carroll '15 served as an Arts Administration Intern for the festival. Ashley James '15 was cast in a role in an original 10-minute play which was presented at the festival, and Cathy Hurst and Kit Rivers '14 received awards for excellence in Co-Directing APPetite at Saint Michael's. There were 1100 student, faculty and local participants at the festival. Cathy Hurst is Co-Chair of KCACTF of Region I (New England and eastern New York) and John Paul Devlin is Co-Vice Chair of the region. Both coordinated planning for festival transportation, booking venues, scheduling programming and accommodating visiting professionals from across the country who participated in the festival as respondents to student work.

Learn What Matters