Mark J. Charney hails from South Carolina and Clemson University, where he worked as chair of English and director of theatre, among many other administrative offices. Raised in a mill town in South Carolina, Charney attended Clemson University for his B.A., the University of New Orleans for his M.A. and Tulane University for his Ph.D, graduating in 1987. Because of his extensive scholarship in theatre, Charney transitioned from his home department of English to become director of performing arts, where he worked in the Brooks Center of the Performing Arts and helped to further the major there and the playwriting program.
Charney is both a playwright and an administrator. He serves as national chair of the Institute for Theatre Journalism and Advocacy and the Dramaturgy Initiative for the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, after chairing Region IV for three years and serving on the National Selection Team. He also works as the associate chair of the National Critics Institute for the O'Neill Theatre Center in Waterford, Conn., as conference planner for the Association of Theatre Higher Educators (ATHE), and just finished a three-year stint as secretary of the Southeastern Theatre Conference (SETC). Mark has twice received the Kennedy Center Gold Medallion of Honor from the Kennedy Center for his work advancing theatre in colleges and universities around the U.S.
As a playwright, Charney has won the David Mark Cohen National Playwriting Award for his play "The Power Behind the Palette." His "The Decameron Project" traveled to the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland, where it was featured for two weeks. His semi-autobiographical comedy, "37 Stones or the Man Who Was a Quarry," played both off Broadway and in Washington, D.C., and his most recent play, "The Balloon Handler Makes Good," was developed by ATHE in D.C. and performed in the New Works Festival in Santa Clarita, California, the Ten for TENN Festival in Tennessee, and the Warner International Playwrights Festival in Connecticut. For three years, Mark was co-artistic director of the playwrights lab, WordBRIDGE. The father of twin 19-year-olds, Mark is happily married to advertising executive Sappho Charney.