Alumnus: Theatre Arts — Production and Design Track ’12
Conor Mulligan’s rapid ascent in the lighting design field began at Towson University, where he majored in theatre arts and was introduced to the elements of theatre design and lighting. Just three years after his graduation, Mulligan was nationally recognized as one of the country’s “Young Designers to Watch.”
Before transferring to Towson University from Cecil County Community College, Mulligan worked as a production assistant for a local theatre. “I quickly fell in love with design and wanted to finish my education and pursue a career in lighting,” he notes. At TU he began to see himself as an artist for the first time. “I felt very welcome in collaborations with faculty. My experience at Towson University fueled me in a different way, and inspired me to think about graduate school.”
Mulligan completed his MFA in design and technical theatre at San Diego State University in 2015 and was awarded a prestigious Hemsley Lighting Internship, named for renowned designer Gilbert V. Hemsley, Jr. As part of the internship, Mulligan worked as a lighting design assistant for the Lincoln Center Festival, the San Francisco Opera, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, and the New York City Ballet, among others.
“As an artistic medium, lighting is fascinating,” describes Mulligan. “You can make it emotional, almost like another character in a play.” As he pursues a freelance design career in New York, Mulligan remains surprised at his success. “My professional career is putting me in the same room with people I looked up to as a student or wrote papers about.” Mulligan was recently hired to draft designs and assist Tony-Award winning lighting designer Ken Billington. In addition, he is the lighting director for Vocalosity, a vocal group currently touring the United States.
“I am proud to have attended Towson University,” says Mulligan. “Finding the balance of how to stay creative and move forward in a freelance career is challenging, but Towson University gave me an opportunity to gain so much experience. It was there that I started bringing a photographer’s eye to the theatre.”