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John Stark
John Stark
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Head of the Production/Design Area, U.S.A. 829-Scenic Designer, MFA University of Nebraska-Lincoln 1982

Perhaps John's theatrical life was shaped by his award as the Colfax County Junior Showmanship Champion in 1969, perhaps not. He did learn that it takes teamwork to be successful because that award could have just as easily been awarded to "Ellie", John's prize gilt whom he followed around the ring well enough to win the award. Since then he has journeyed from his Nebraska farm roots to produce theatrical designs from sea to shining sea. John is currently the Head of the Design/Production Area for the ISU School of Theatre and Dance. He received his B.S. from Wayne State College in 1977 and his M.F.A. in Scene Design from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1982. John joined Illinois State in 1991 after teaching at Illinois Wesleyan University and Arizona State University were he was named College of Fine Arts Distinguished Teacher of the Year in 1990. He is a member of the United Scenic Artists and he has designed professionally for Chicago Theatre companies such as A Red Orchid Theatre, Victory Gardens, Seanachai Theatre, Drury Lane Theatre, The Next Theatre, Noble Fool Theatricals, and Famous Door where his design of "The Living" won the Joseph Jefferson Award for Scenic Design in 1997. Regional credits include work at Indiana Repertory Theatre, Ball State University, The Sacramento Theatre Co., Nebraska Repertory Theatre, Pennsylvania Center Stage, Diablo Light Opera, Actors Theatre of Phoenix, Childsplay (Tempe, AZ) and Actors Lab of Scottsdale. He has worked extensively at the Illinois Shakespeare Festival where he has produced 26 designs since 1993 including 16 plays in the canon, doubling up on "Hamlet", "A Midsummer's Night Dream" and "As You Like It". John's recent professional credits have been in St. Louis where he has designed at the Mustard Seed Theatre and The New Jewish Theatre. His design of "Way to Heaven" at the New Jewish was nominated for a St. Louis Theatre Circle Award in 2013. In 2012 the production "Falling", that originated at the Mustard Seed theatre, was produced Off Broadway at the Minetta Lane theatre in NYC by Falling Feathers Productions. "Falling" was nominated for three Drama Desk Awards in 2013. John is also an avid baseball fan and has been following the Red Sox since before you were born. Add that to his loyalty to the Nebraska Huskers and you can explain the caps that he frequently wears. He runs, reads and rummages for curbside treasures for the prop shop when he can.... and he visits his New York offspring, Anna and Nathan, whenever possible. Rumor has it that he is in a 37 year relationship with the head of Acting Lori Adams but its only a rumor, I mean they don't even have the same last name!


Upcoming Speaking Events:

  • Milner Library, ISU, Fall 2012
  • Buzz Aldrin Library, Mars, Fall 2013