Mark Robinson is an award-winning, critically-acclaimed stage director, actor, teacher, acting coach, event director, and activist.
Born and raised in the seaside town of Santa Cruz, California, Robinson performed as an actor and pianist throughout high school where he was also a competitive forensics speech champion . He moved east when he was accepted into the Drama Program at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, studying under Wendy Wasserstein, David Mamet and Jack Garfein, among others. While at NYU, Robinson also studied at Circle-In-The-Square's Theatre School and the American Dance Machine under renowned talents such as Lee Theodore, B.H. Barry, Elinor Renfield, Alan Langdon, Michael Kahn, and world-famous mime Marcel Marceau, A multi-year recipient of the Paulette Goddard Theatre Scholarship, he graduated with honors and decided to remain in New York to pursue an acting career.
Robinson appeared on the stages of the Public, the Ensemble Studio, the Actors Playhouse, the Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble, American Playwrights Rep, the Fountain Theatre, Playwrights Horizons and the New Voices Theatre Ensemble, among others. During this time, Robinson made his screen debut in Paul Mazursky's Oscar-nominated film Enemies, A Love Story based on the novel by Isaac Bashevis Singer. He was also an acting ensemble member of both The Acting Company at NYU’s Graduate Playwrights Program and FirstStage in Los Angeles: a developmental theatre/film company where he served on the Board of Directors and spearheaded the development of over two dozen new plays.
During his move back to California in the 1990's, Robinson was chosen to be a staff member of the original California-based American AIDS Rides presented by Tanqueray, which began as one small, grass-roots bike-a-thon from San Francisco to Los Angeles and went on to become a national phenomenon - and the world’s most lucrative fund-raising events in the fight against AIDS. He served as the managing director of the Boston-New York AIDS Rides, which, under his tenure, became the most successful AIDS fundraiser in American history, grossing over $16 million dollars for health services benefiting people living with AIDS on the east coast. During that time, he also supervised the production of the AIDS Ride Closing Ceremonies hosted by James Earl Jones and Desperate Housewives star Doug Savant. In 1998, one of the Ride’s beneficiaries, New York’s Callen/Lorde Community Health Center, opened a new multi-million dollar, state-of-the-art treatment facility funded by proceeds from the AIDS Rides.
Following his AIDS Ride tenure, Robinson began focusing on his directing career when he became a member of Outrageous Fortune Theatre Workshop (formerly Circle Rep.). He received the 2006 New York Fringe Festival Best Director award for the play Don’t Ask. He has directed dozens of plays and musicals throughout the USA.
As an accomplished collaborator and associate, he assistant-directed American Conservatory Theatre's premiere of The House of Mirth; coached Kevin Bacon for his one-man Broadway play An Almost Holy Picture, and was awarded Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation observerships on both the Roundabout Theatre Company’s all-star Broadway revival of The Women staring Cynthia Nixon, and NBC’s hit television series Will & Grace, for which he apprenticed under James Burrows.
He is a proud member of the Society of Stage Directors & Choreographers, the Screen Actors Guild, Actors Equity Association and ASCAP.
Robinson has mentored graduate dramatic writing students as a founding member of First Look Theatre Company at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. He was also a founding member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation’s Artists’ Action Committee advisory panel which creates programming and career-building opportunities for rising stage directors. He has been a guest teacher and lecturer at NYU, Hofstra University, The New School, North Shore Music Theatre’s Summer Conservatory, and the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Upon the nomination by Daryl Roth, he was accepted into the Commercial Theatre Institute’s Producers Training Intensive.
Motivated by a strong commitment to both the theatrical community and social causes, Robinson has lent his time and talents to the production of events for the HIV Experience Resources Organization, Path2Parenhood, Broadway Cares, DanceBreak, LiveOutLoud! and GLAAD. He has also campaigned extensively for New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and the presidential campaigns of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. In 2017, Robinson co-founded the HKDems: a progressive political organization for New Yorkers to become informed, stay connected, and be empowered to take action at the local, state, and federal levels.
Robinson is the proud nephew of both Academy Award-winning animator Will Vinton, legendary Portland dance educator Mary Vinton Folberg, and the grandson of Louis Folberg - a Vaudeville dancer who appeared on the Orpheum Circuit in the 1920's.