Shawn           J. Clerkin

Shawn J. Clerkin

Associate Professor, Theatre
Associate Professor, Fine Arts Program
Director, Liberal Studies
Phone: 814-871-7493
Office: CCA 311

  • Awards/Grants
  • Biography
  • Courses Taught
  • Educational History
  • Service


  • Erie Arts and Culture 2014 Bruce Morton Wright Artist of the Year
  • Erie Arts and Culture Project Grant - Shakespeare Summer Nights - 2003-2016
  • Barker Globalization Grant 2016
  • CETL Technology Grant 2016


Hi. I'm Father Shawn Clerkin. I am an Associate Professor in the School of Communication and the Arts, and Priest in the Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania in The Episcopal Church. Gannon is located right on the Lake Erie (well, about six blocks from Presque Isle Bay) in Erie, Pennsylvania. One of the reasons I love Erie is the snow...we get a lot of it. For its size Erie has quite a bit of diversity. From Nepali and Sudanese refugees to Irish and Scots immigrants, Erie boasts thousands of citizens from all corners of the globe.

I am the Director of Theatre and Program Director for Performing and Visual Arts. I teach art appreciation, theatre performance, directing, theatre and communication criticism, and musical theatre. I also advise the Epsilon Upsilon chapter of the Pi Kappa Alpha social fraternity. As an educator, I have led student trips to New York City, Toronto, Dublin, Edinburgh, London, Paris, and Swansea. Performance for Media and Theatre/Theatre Technologies and Design, and Theatre and Communication Arts majors have more than 50 distinct performance opportunities each year at Gannon's Schuster Theatre. I really love teaching and directing here at Gannon. Some people are impressed that I've studied Shakespeare with Janet McTeer, acting with Alan Rickman, professional performance with Ian McKellen, and even personally toasted Dame Judy Dench at the National Theatre backstage canteen when I studied at the Royal National Theatre of Great Britain.

My research specialty centers on medieval theatre history and Chiristian spirituality and theology. While I have written enough criticism and short form presentations to fill volumes, I have yet to concretize them into a single volume. In the longterm, I hope to marry my passion for theatre and theology in a compendium of medieval theatrical presentations of Jesus Christ, reflecting on how characterizations in cycle plays either relected or led Christological writings of the time. This will be years in the making--but my favorite thing about Jesus Christ is...well...he's always surprising even his most devout followers!

My wife, Almi, is completing her tenure as Executive Director of the Erie Playhouse and we enjoy traveling and watching all kinds of serial television...SHERLOCK anyone?!? Our newest obsession is THE QUEEN on Netflix. In my spare time, aside from watching television, I follow my beloved Julian of Nowich, thirteenth century mystic, and anxiously await the next great accomplishment of my son, Seamus a.k.a. Sea-Moose, who is computer science/software engineering major at Ganon who also loves acting and singing.

I was born in Johnsonburg, Pennsylvania and have lived here in Erie since 1989. From Holidaysburg and Johnsonburg, PA, to Richmond VA, to London, England and Los Angeles, CA, I have studied in a lot of places and continue to sojourn throughout the world, hoping to end my days in a small vicarage on the southern coast of Ireland - Dungarvan, County Waterford, would be heaven on earth to me!

Courses Taught

  • Introduction to Fine Arts, Spring 2017
  • First-Year Seminar/Practicum in Theatre, Radio and Television (COMM 161), Fall 2000 - present
  • Fundamentals of Play Directing, Spring 1991 - present.
  • Human Communication and Society, Fall 2013 - present
  • Interpersonal Communication, Fall 2016 - present
  • Introduction to Theatre/Theatre and Culture (LFIN 250/THEA 111), Spring 1993 – present
  • Writing for Stage and Screen, Fall 2010 - present
  • Fundamentals of Public Speaking (SPCH 111), Fall 1989 – Spring 2013
  • Contemporary Issues in Theatre and Media, (COMM 220) Spring 2007 – Spring 2013
  • Theatre Criticism, Fall 1998 – Spring 2009.
  • Voice and Diction, Spring 1993 – Spring 2015
  • Musical Theatre, Fall 1996 – Fall 2012
  • Television and Radio Performance, Fall 1992 – Spring 2004
  • Fundamentals of Acting, Fall 1989 – Fall 2002
  • Modern/Contemporary Drama, Fall 1991 – Fall 2002
  • Analysis of Dramatic Literature, Spring 2002.
  • Acting Styles, Spring 1994 – Fall 2001
  • Radio Theatre, Fall 2001
  • Mixed Chorus, Spring 1990 – Spring 2001
  • Criticism of Television and Radio, Fall 2000
  • Child Drama, Fall 1990 – Spring 2000
  • Rise of Western Consciousness (break-out leader), Fall 1997 – Spring 1998

Educational History

  • Virginia Theological Seminary, Doctorate of Divinity (anticipated 2019)
  • Oxford University/Summer Studies / Graduate Theological Union, 2009, 2010
  • Bexley Hall Seminary, Master of Divinity, 2008
  • Virginia Commonwealth University, Master of Fine Arts / Theatre Directing, "David Mamet's PRARIE DU CHIEN", 1989
  • Gannon University, Bachelor of Arts / Theatre & Communication Arts, 1986


  • Vicar, St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, Lawrence Park, PA, September 2009 – present
  • Order of Julian of Norwich, Associate Member, August 2004 – present
  • Assisting Clergy, Cathedral of St. Paul (Episcopal), Erie, PA, September 2005 – December 2009
  • Lay Leader/Assisting Clergy, Church of the Holy Spirit (Episcopal), April 2004 – September 2005.