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Jo Sanburg

Published August 20, 2019

Visiting Assistant Professor of Lighting
School of Theatre


Jo Sanburg is a lighting and sound designer for theatre, pyrotechnics, and multimedia, a composer, and serves as Visiting Assistant Professor of Lighting at the School of Theatre.

Jo’s lighting design credits include Cosi Fan Tutte, The Sparrow, The Servant of Two Masters, and the world premiere of Kenley Smith’s Empires of Eternal Void. Her sound designs include Henry V, The Comedy of Errors, The 39 Steps, The Secret in the Wings, As You Like It, and Anon(ymous).

As resident sound designer for Victory Pyrotechnics, she is developing new ways to use sound and music to tell stories with pyrotechnics. As a lighting designer, Jo works to explore unique technologies and approaches to theatrical lighting, and her designs employ her musical background through an instinctive understanding of pattern, rhythm, tempo, and beat. Jo has won numerous awards for her design work, including the John T. Spiegel Award for Excellence in Design, Ostrander Award for Excellence in Sound Design, and the Southeastern Theatre Conference’s Award for Excellence in Sound Design. She has designed lights for the American College Dance Association, and her sound design work was exhibited at the 2019 Prague Quadrennial.


BA in Music and Education, Loretto Heights College
MFA in Design and Technology, University of Memphis

Areas of Responsibility

Lighting Design and Technology
Sound Technology
Lighting Software

Teaching Areas

Lighting Design and Technology

Creative Works

  • S.O.S. – Diavolo Veteran’s Project. Lighting Design. Jacques Heim, Director.
  • The Government Inspector adapted by David Mackay. Lighting and Sound Design. David Mackay, Director.
  • Iphigenia and Other Daughters by Ellen McLaughlin. Lighting and Sound Design. Jennifer Vellenga, Director.
  • Cosi Fan Tutte by W.A. Mozart. Lighting Design. Benjamin W. Smith, Director.
  • Empires of Eternal Void by Kenley Smith (world premiere). Lighting Design. Mark J. Schnitzler, Director.

Awards and Affiliations

  • Exhibited work, 2019 Prague Quadrennial, Sound Design: Mindstorm.
  • SETC, John T. Spiegel Award for Excellence in Design.
  • Katie Whitlock Memorial Award for Excellence in Design.
  • The University of Memphis Graduate School, Creative Achievement Award.
  • SETC, First Place Sound Design: Henry V and Anon(ymous).