ECU School of Theatre and Dance director passes away

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — John Shearin, director of the ECU School of Theatre and Dance, passed away Sunday, the university confirmed.

Shearin came to ECU as chairman of the (former) Department of Theatre Arts in fall, 1990, after a successful 18-year career as a working actor-director in New York, Los Angeles, Boston and many points between, according to his bio on East Carolina University’s website.

His acting and directing work onstage included stints on, off, and off-off Broadway and in several Los Angeles area theaters, as well as Arena Stage in D.C. and the Loeb Drama center in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Shearin made multiple network television appearances in such shows as Hunter, Matlock, Designing Women, Dawson’s Creek, Little House on the Prairie, American Gothic and Bret Maverick.

He was a founding member and associate director of the Playhouse West School of Acting in Los Angeles. As head of the School of Theatre and Dance, he has produced 120-plus plays and musicals for the ECU/Loessin Playhouse and Summer Theatre, directed 45 of them, and acted in 7, several of which he significantly reconstructed or adapted especially for the university’s theater and students. He graduated from the College of William and Mary (AB in Theatre) and received his MFA from Penn State University.

Discussions about memorial services are in progress. We’ll update once we know more.

A scholarship fund in Shearin’s honor is also being established.


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