Perry-Mansfield History

Pioneers of Imagination, Spirit and Performance – est. 1913

Over a hundred years ago, two ladies came to the frontier mountain town of Steamboat Springs, Colorado with a mule named “Tango.” Although the town was populated with people primarily engaged in mining and ranching, it was Charlotte Perry and Portia Mansfield’s vision to explore and teach “natural dance forms” and “artistic expression close to creatures and mountains and out-of-doors.”

Quickly regarded by the locals as the “mad ladies of Steamboat,” Charlotte and Portia founded Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School and Camp in this spectacular mountain setting – a 76-acre campus 7,000 feet above sea level and 150 miles northwest of Denver.

From their humble beginnings in a few rustic cabins and some lean years when the “scenery was the salary,” Charlotte and Portia nurtured Perry-Mansfield into one of the premier performing arts schools and camps for children and youth of all ages. Their bold vision for the camp, “Creative practice through art and nature manifests in an insightful, compassionate and courageous life” still guides us today.

Today Perry-Mansfield is the oldest continuously operating performing arts school and camp in the country that attracts 250 students (ages 7 through adult professional students) from across the country, and showcases over twenty performances each summer. With the nation’s best faculty, staff and students, Perry-Mansfield is the place where innovation and imagination are expressed in theatre, musical theatre, and dance.