Biography

Mark Jensen, a Core Writer Alumnus of the Playwrights’ Center of Minneapolis, grew up on a farm near Kensington, Minnesota. Mark holds a MFA in Playwriting from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and a BA in Theatre and English Writing from Concordia College, Moorhead, MN. Mark is also a past member of the Playwrights’ Center of San Francisco.

His plays include Independency, Atomic Summer, Runestone, The Benevolent Women’s Craft Society, On-Line/Off-Line, Weldings, and A Chat with Him and Her. On-Line was chosen as a finalist for both the 2006 STAGE International Script Competition and the 2004 Metropolis Performing Arts Centre New Play Festival. In 2008, this play received a Sloan Foundation Grant from the Ensemble Studio Theatre of New York to develop Off-Line, a companion play to the original one act.

Atomic Summer was given staged readings both at The Asylum Theatre of Las Vegas and the Utah Shakespearean Festival; the play had its professional debut at Theatre in the Square in Marietta, GA. Creative Loafing Magazine ranked this production as one of the top ten plays in Atlanta during the 2002 season.

The Mountain Playhouse of Pennsylvania selected his comedy, The Benevolent Women’s Craft Society, to be the national winner of the 2003 Grindstone Award for New Comedy. Green Bay Community Theatre performed this play during their Off-Broadway Theatre Festival that same year. The Prairie Wind Players of rural Minnesota and the West Sacramento Community Theater both mounted productions of The Benevolent Women’s Craft Society in the fall of 2005. The Rochester Repertory Theatre Company performed this play in November 2006, and the Grand Marais Playhouse later performed the comedy in November 2007.

The Tony award-winning Utah Shakespearean Festival selected Mark to be their 2003 Playwright-in-Residence; during his residency he developed Independency, a historical play about Ben Franklin’s Loyalist son. A history play about the Kensington Runestone, titled Runestone, was developed during the Raw Stages Festival at the History Theatre in St. Paul and then through a second reading at the Playwrights Center of Minneapolis.

Mark has developed several literary adaptations for Hardcover Theater. He first adapted a classic mystery, Sherlock Holmes: Murder at the Abbey Grange; Hardcover Theater produced this play during the 2004 Minnesota Fringe Festival. He later co-wrote their stage adaptation of Jack London’s The Sea Wolf. City Pages ranked this production as one of the top ten plays staged in Minneapolis/St.Paul during the 2005 season. He next co-wrote this theatre’s Victorian era pulp fiction project – a play series called London After Midnight: Victorian Tales of Crime and the Supernatural – a five part play series that ran for two years from 2005-2007. He also contributed a short play, Fitcher’s Bird, for this theatre’s production of The Dark Side of the Brothers’ Grimm.

Steppingstone Theatre for Youth Development has commissioned Mark to write several plays. The theatre first commissioned him to co-write a drama for Deaf and hearing youth, The Finger Dance: A Deaf Girl’s Journey Through Music. This play was performed in March 2001. The National Theatre for the Deaf recognized this piece as an “Outstanding Play for Young People” in 2002. His second commission for Steppingstone Theatre, Young Lindy, a historical musical about the childhood of Charles Lindbergh, was performed in October 2003. Steppingstone next commissioned Mark to write a musical about St. Paul’s Landmark Center. Funded in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities, History Detectives: Landmark Center was staged in November 2007. For his fourth commission for Steppingstone, Mark adapted an American classic, Tom Sawyer. The theatre produced his musical adaptation in November 2012. He is currently working on his fifth commission for Steppingstone, a musical adaptation of Wind in the Willows.

He has written short plays for senior adults, many of which are published in anthologies by the Dramatic Publishing Company. Another short piece, Zombie Chick, is part of the anthology Lucky 13: Short Plays about Arizona, Nevada, and Utah, published by the University of Nevada Press. He later turned this play into a screenplay for A Product of Mayhem and Foolishness, and this short film was screened during the 2011 Vegas Independent Film Festival. Heinemann Drama published two monologues in their anthology – The Playwrights’ Center Monologues for Men. He also co-wrote, with Dr. Ann McDonough, a theatre text book called Scripting Our Lives: Oral History Theatre. Then in 2013, North Star Press of St. Cloud published HR Pioneers, a history book of Control Data Corporation he co-wrote with former executives from the company.

Mark lives in Minneapolis with his wife and family.