Colorado Springs Conservatory
SPOTLIGHT SERIES · September 2021
Mark Autry | Colorado Springs Conservatory Alumnus | Current Program Mentor – Voice, Theater & Cabaret
Championed by Oberlin Conservatory and Juilliard School-educated Founder Linda Weise, the Colorado Springs Conservatory attracts and retains the nation’s finest arts educators. We have a deep and abiding respect for our faculty mentors and guest artists/lecturers who share with our students a gift for teaching and a deep passion for the arts. Our teaching method is student-centric, offering a balance of peer-coaching, teacher mentoring, and performance.
We are always honored when an accomplished alumnus returns to Colorado Springs Conservatory to mentor future generations…
This month, we’d like to shine our spotlight on Mark Autry – Conservatory Alumnus and Conservatory Program Mentor in Voice, Theater and Cabaret.
Mark, thank you for sharing your experiences as a Conservatory graduate, a program mentor, and all the travel, education and professional experiences in between!
You started attending Colorado Springs Conservatory at age three! What are some of your fondest early childhood memories at Conservatory?
My fondest memories of my early times at Colorado Springs Conservatory are of watching the older kids work…. Getting to look up to people I saw on a daily basis and learning through watching their process.
At what age did you develop your passion for theater and singing?
I’d say I truly fell in love with performing and singing in high school. I always enjoyed it but had other interests in my life. It was around my sophomore year of high school that I knew this is what I wanted to do with my life.
Did you learn to play any instruments at the Conservatory?
I took piano class like everyone else but really wanted to focus mostly on voice and theatre.
Were you active in musical theater, music and performance at St. Mary’s High School in Colorado Springs?
I never did any shows directly through the high school. All of my training was through the Conservatory or professionally.
Tell us a bit about your educational journey after graduating high school and the Conservatory.
After high school, I attended Marymount Manhattan college in NYC to study musical theatre. It was a very formative time, but I would honestly say my biggest growth and learning has come from the shows I’ve done and the experiences I’ve had outside of the classroom.
You’ve worked professionally with companies such as THEATREWORKS, Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center and Cirque du Soleil! What have been some of your most formative experiences working in theater?
I find formative experiences come from people, mostly. When I was younger, and working in professional shows, it was always inspiring to watch the professionals come in and do their work. I learned to be kind and respectful of the process, which is something I try very hard to maintain now, as a professional myself.
When did you return to Colorado Springs, and what influenced your decision to continue your career here?
I moved back to Colorado Springs the day after I graduated college. I was grateful for my time in New York, but knew it was not the place I wanted to base myself out of. Looking back, that was probably the smartest decision I’ve made so far, both personally and professionally.
How long have you been a mentor at Colorado Springs Conservatory?
I’ve been with the Conservatory as a program mentor in voice, theater and cabaret for about three years.
Why do you think art and theater education are important?
Art and theatre education are important because of the life lessons they teach. It takes discipline, responsibility and courage to be an arts student, and I think those are values everyone can strive to attain.
What are some of your favorite aspects of being a mentor at Colorado Springs Conservatory?
My favorite thing, hands down, is watching students’ growth. There is nothing like seeing a concept click for the first time.
This summer, you taught some of the Conservatory’s musical theater camps! What are some joys and some challenges to teaching/directing a new group of young theater enthusiasts in a short amount of time?
The short amount of time is certainly the biggest challenge. Trying to navigate both product and process can be tricky. But it always seems to work itself out, which is always a joy!
Any advice to parents or guardians who are on the fence about committing to sending their kids to Colorado Springs Conservatory?
My advice would be to just try it. There are so many valuable things to be learned outside of the arts that even if the artistic piece doesn’t stick, the student will absolutely still walk away having learned something valuable.
What is your favorite personal mantra?
My personal mantra has always been “everything happens for a reason.” This business can be brutal, and there have been countless opportunities that I thought I had “lost” that ultimately lead me to something 10x better.
What else in “in the works” for Mark Autry?
Right now I’m just trying to get back into things. After nearly two years of no theatre, it’s tricky to jump right back in, but I am excited to get back to work!
What are Mark Autry’s top three theater production recommendations?
In no particular order: Jesus Christ Superstar, Of Mice and Men, Parade