Mark Baer is lifelong actor, director and producer of live theatre with a passion for cultivating communities. After gaining a BS in Theatre Performance from The University of Findlay (OH), Mark traveled the Midwest acting with many theatres in small communities including Virginia Shakespeare Festival (Williamsburg, VA), The Warehouse Theatre (Greenville, SC), Kentucky Repertory Theatre (Horse Cave, KY) and Commonweal Theatre Company (Lanesboro, MN). Favorite roles include Toby Belch in Twelfth Night, Joshua in Anouilh's Ring Round the Moon and Hovstad in Ibsen's An Enemy of the People.
In 2002 Mark accepted the position of Managing Director of St. Croix Festival Theatre, a small professional theatre in St. Croix Falls, WI. In his tenure Festival Theatre produced over 20 plays and musicals including the anti-war drama There Shall Be No Night by Robert Sherwood, under Mark's direction. His time in St. Croix Falls only served to strengthen his resolve that live theatre can make a difference in small town America.
Mark received his MFA in Directing from Illinois State University. His ISU productions included Bloody Poetry by Howard Brenton, The Winter's Tale, Timberlake Wertenbaker's Our Country's Good, and Stephen Sondheim's Into the Woods. While at ISU, Mark also directed The Birds by Aristophanes at Eureka College, Once Upon a Mattress by Mary Rogers at St. Croix Festival Theatre, and engaged an internship under Peter Rothstein on M.Butterfly at The Guthrie Theatre.
In the fall of 2011 Mark accepted a tenure-track appointment as Asst. Professor of Acting and Directing at Indiana University Northwest. Now a tenured Associate Professor, Mark teaches Acting (all levels), Directing (all levels), Script Analysis and Sound Design. He produces and directs a play nearly every semester for Theatre Northwest. Recent productions have included Well by Lisa Kron, afterlife: a ghost story by Steve Yockey, Failure: A Love Story by Phillip Dawkins, Eurydice by Sarah Ruhl, The Miser adapted by Timothy Mooney, Little Shop of Horrors by Ashman and Menkin, and Hedda Gabler adapted by Jon Robin Baitz.
In 2016, Mark received the IU Northwest Board of Trustees Teaching Award. He is committed to the support and success of his students, serving as faculty adviser to all students majoring in theatre and mentoring most student capstone projects. Mark is proud to have served as producer of many student productions including A Doll’s House and Othello and a biennial 10-minute Play Festival. Mark has received the 2016 Board of Trustees' Teaching Award.
Mark serves on the Northwest Indiana Regional Arts Council, the Northwest Indiana Excellence in Theatre Foundation, and the St. Croix Festival Theatre Board of Directors. He is a member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society and the Society for American Fight Directors. In addition to his work in performing arts, Mark has been elected to the IU Northwest Faculty Organization Executive Committee for seven consecutive years. Recently he was a leader in the successful campaign to introduce a First-Year Seminar requirement for COAS students.
Mark continues to act, direct and produce in Northwest Indiana and beyond. Recent directing work has included Chess in Concert and Sondheim's Sweeney Todd for City Circle Acting Company, Victor Gialanella 's Frankenstein at Chicago Street Theatre, John Goodrum's The Nightmare Room (regional premier) and Robin Hawdon's Perfect Wedding (US premier) for Towle Theatre, and Sondheim's A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire for St. Croix Festival Theatre.
In 2013, Mark became one of the founding members of Gary Shakespeare Company, a non-profit theatre company dedicated to providing free public performances of the work of William Shakespeare. Now looking forward to its seventh season, GSC reaches over 1000 audience members each summer in various outdoor venues around Northwest Indiana. Mark wears many hats in this young company having performed several roles including MacBeth and Benedick (Much Ado About Nothing), directed As You Like It, Twelfth Night, Much Ado About Nothing, and Hamlet, and currently serving as the President of the GSC Board of Directors.
Mark now makes his home in Crown Point, IN where he lives with his wife Kelly and daughter Samantha.