Mark Olsen was born in Denver. In addition to his undergraduate degree in Theatre from Trinity University, Olsen trained with many of the great master teachers in the mime and movement disciplines, attending studios in Paris, Los Angeles, São Paulo, and New York. Olsen completed additional specialty training in clowning with Cheryl McFadden, the Feldenkrais Method with Moshe Feldenkrais, Alexander Technique with Troupe and Anne Matthews, and Yang Family Tai Chi with Don Ahn and Jeff Bolt.
Olsen is formerly the head of Graduate Acting at Penn State University, teacher emeritus and former secretary of the Society of American Fight Directors, and vice president of the Association for Theater Movement Educators. Olsen taught scene study and directed the industry showcase for the Columbia University Graduate Acting Program, stage movement at Carnegie Mellon University, mask performance at Sarah Lawrence College, and stage movement for New York Public Theater’s Shakespeare Lab. Olsen has appeared on Broadway and toured internationally with mime/mask ensemble Mummenschanz. Olsen has directed many professional and university productions and as a movement coordinator/fight director, his work has been seen on Broadway, Off-Broadway, and in productions at the Signature Theater, the Roundabout, American Repertory Theatre, Hartford Stage Company, Long Wharf, Alley Theatre, Houston Grand Opera, New York Shakespeare Festival, and others. In 2010, he was part of the artistic team winning the Drama Desk award for his work on The Orphan’s Home Cycle. Olsen is currently the chair of the Musical Theatre Department for the New York Film Academy and is the author of three texts: The Actor With a Thousand Faces, The Golden Buddha Changing Masks, and Acting: Scene One.
Olsen has been a faculty member since 2008.