Published: June 27, 2024

Bret Mann looks up inside the Black Box studioWe celebrate Bret Mann, technical manager and broadcast engineer for ATLAS B2 Center for Media, Arts and Performance, who retires after decades of service and behind-the-scenes support making the B2 one of the most important production and performance spaces in the region.

With a Bachelor of Science from CU Boulder (Class of ‘88) and a background in music, videography, theater and broadcast/web television, Bret stepped up as a central part of the ATLAS community from its earliest days, before we even had a building to call our own. He advised on ensuring our permanent home would be technologically advanced in its time, and (importantly) adaptable to future innovations. 

Almost twenty years later, we can proudly say that the B2’s 2,700-square-foot Black Box Experimental Studio and three adjacent studio labs are as well-designed, flexible and exciting to experience as they are because of Bret’s expertise. He trained and supervised students, artists, technicians and support staff along the way, empowering them to take full advantage of every aspect of the space’s unique capabilities.

Bret Mann, broadcast engineer extraordinaire, has kept the B2 Center for Media Arts & Performance studios at the forefront of technology since the Roser ATLAS Center was completed in 2006. His contributions to the ATLAS Institute and to the Boulder campus community are legion, and he brings to his work a keen eye, deep technical know-how, and as a drummer, the perspective of a performing artist. An alumnus of CU Boulder, Bret began working as a technical director in 1991, and has generously mentored countless students and diverse members of the faculty from all corners of the campus. - Mark D Gross, ATLAS Director

Bret Mann plays drumsWhen the lower level of the Roser ATLAS Center, which houses the Black Box and several production suites, flooded due to a burst irrigation pipe in 2018, Bret was instrumental in reviving and growing the B2, space by space, component by component. He oversaw key technical upgrades including spatial audio, immersive green screens, motion capture systems, robotic cameras, Dante and more. That it remains a thriving, cutting-edge hub of creative engineering and performance today is due to Bret’s patience, planning and grit.

In a facility designed to push creative and technical boundaries, Bret ensured countless multimedia performances, artist residencies, student projects and ATLAS Expo events ran smoothly, no matter how experimental or complex their needs. 

I cannot overstate Bret’s importance and centrality to the B2. Bret raised this place! He was central to early visioning, when the Roser ATLAS building was merely an idea. For the B2’s existence, Bret has been its most consistent and important steward, advocate, and engineer, deftly ushering it through changing technological eras, from analog tapes to digital signals. Bret has committed his expertise, creative problem solving, deep care and relentless work ethic to turn the B2 into the technologically-advanced multimedia space-of-possibility it is today. He’ll be sorely missed. - Ondine Geary, Managing Director, B2 Center for Media, Art & Performance

Bret officially retires on July 1, 2024. We wish him all the best!