Jonathan Samuel Deull


When people would ask them what their dad does for a living, my kids have always had trouble answering.  Like many people today, I have had a number of careers.  Unlike many people, I have a number of careers all at the same time.  

It does get confusing, but the fact is that I am very lucky.  Most of what I do professionally stems from my love of the performing arts and media, my respect for the power of education to spark personal and social transformation, and my commitment to making what contribution I can to community, humanity and our planet.  Actually, most of the projects I become involved with sit at or near the intersection of these three domains.

To summarize: I have university degrees in theatre and law. Yes, I admit I am qualified as an attorney, although officially retired. I have worked in government and for international non-governmental organizations developing, evaluating and advocating for programs to produce sustainable positive change. I have produced award-winning documentary films, television and radio programs on global issues. I have written and conducted training programs on hunger, development and environmental issues. I have trained journalists and filmmakers to report constructively on conflict. I have visited and worked in more than 80 countries, including 18 countries in Africa. 

I have also worked in many aspects of the theatre and live entertainment industry. I have produced, directed, designed and stage managed large-scale live events addressing issues of global concern.  I have toured with a major rock and roll band and loaded scenery for the Metropolitan Opera. I serve as an executive with America's leading theatrical transportation and logistics company, Clark Transfer, a family-owned and operated business begun by my grandfather. I have been an IATSE union stagehand since 1978. I have been involved with youth organizations using circus to create breakthroughs for young people in South Africa and North America. I have designed aerial performer rigging systems for dancers and circus artists, including my own very talented daughter. And I have taught and directed theatre at a dynamic and progressive independent school in the heart of Washington, DC, a process which was both satisfying and extremely hard work. I really admire teachers, and wish I were better at it.

Today, I remain actively engaged in many areas of interest, working on a range of interesting projects in association with many wonderful and talented people.  I am returning to the world of freelance theatrical production, design, direction and management, but most of my time and energy is spent on projects to enhance the safety of aerial performance in circuses, theatres and other traditional and nontraditional venues. As an ETCP certified rigger (theatre) and an ETCP recognized rigging trainer, I have taught for universities, production organizations, circus schools, IATSE locals, and other venues around the USA and abroad. I co-led the Jay Glerum Rigging Master Class on two occasions, and did an extended engagement in Hangzhou, China as rigging trainer for Cirque du Soleil. A more detailed bio covering my rigging experience is linked below.

On a personal note, I have been blissfully married to Sheryl Sturges since 1981. We have the two most wonderful children possible: David, a graduate of Brown University, who is married to Dr. Rachel Feldman and works as an economist in Boston, and Sara, a renaissance woman who graduated high school in 2008 and immediately headed off to South Africa and elsewhere to perform and teach circus arts. She lives, works, and plays in Montreal with her son (our grandson), Jack.

This may seem like a joke, but in my spare time I fly airplanes. I am a licensed Commercial Pilot with Instrument Rating, and serve as a volunteer pilot with Angel Flight. Sheryl is also a pilot, and we both ride motorcycles.

For more information, please follow the links below:

Jonathan's Rigging Bio

Representative Media Productions

Edmund Burke School

In addition to having designed the new theater and performing arts facilities for this urban private school in Washington, DC, I served for five years as a faculty member and Director of Production in the Performing Arts Department.

Clark Transfer

Begun by my grandfather, Whitey Molitch, in 1948, and currently led by my mother, Norma Deull, Clark Transfer is the leading international show business transportation and logistics company.  Our motto for more than 60 years: Let's Get the Show on the Road.

Long Reach Long Riders

A group of dedicated and talented theatre professionals who do an annual motorcycle ride to raise funds for showbiz-related charities.

Search for Common Ground

Search for Common Ground is a groundbreaking organization working to constructively address and transform conflict around the world.  I have worked with Search since 1983 on a wide range of media and training projects.

Stolen Childhoods

This documentary film, co-directed by my colleagues Len Morris and Robin Romano and narrated by Meryl Streep, is a compelling look at the global scourge of child labor.

Zip Zap Circus School

Based in Cape Town, South Africa, The Zip Zap Circus School is an extraordinary community dedicated to creating new possibilities for young people and the society they live in.

Angel Flight

As a volunteer pilot I fly patients for this non-profit charitable air medical transportation organization.

Sara Deull

My daughter Sara has been performing aerial circus acrobatics, flying trapeze and aerial dance since she was very young.

Sheryl Sturges

My bride of nearly 40 years is an experienced licensed and certified massage therapist, Reiki master and holistic health care practitioner.