Born in Indonesia, raised abroad in European and Asian capitals, she was trained as both an actress and dancer in styles that include both western and far eastern performance.
Susan has directed and also performed in repertory theatre, new plays, and experimental cross-over forms of dance-theatre. As a performer, she has worked with directors including Peter Sellars, Emily Mann, Jim Nicola, Drury Pifer, Virginia Freeman, Mirenka Čechova, Thomas W. Jones II, and the Kabuki team of Leonard Pronko and Takao Tomono.
Susan helped found the Alliance for New Music-Theatre and, since 2012, has served as the Artistic Director.
She has worked in several collaborations developing libretto for operas (Our Medea and A Woman Changed Into a Fox) and book/lyrics for musicals (Amelia in America, about Amelia Earhart’s rise to fame, and Chinese Village about China and the global population explosion.)
Alliance for New Music-Theatre became a producing entity, when in her first year of leadership she launched Radical Transformations, a series of four shows and community workshops to celebrate the diversity of music-theatre styles and cultures represented in the Greater Washington area. She wrote and directed Sandaya: Burmese Lessons as part of that series.
In 2013, Susan returned to the stage after some years’ absence to work with director Mirenka Čechova and performed in the much-acclaimed Unveiling by Václav Havel’s as well as devising and directing a companion piece about Havel entitled Vaněk Unleashed with composer Maurice Saylor. Both works performed in the Washington area before traveling to the Czech Republic where they were enthusiastically received at Prague Fringe Festival and where Susan was nominated for both best actress and best director/creative originality. In 2014, Susan directed an adaptation of Kafka’s Metamorphosis that incorporated animation and live cello onstage that was produced at Woolly Mammoth’s before performing at both Washington and Prague Fringe.
Susan continues her commitment to cross-cultural collaboration, working in collaboration with Afghan co-writer Yalda Baktash and composers Milad Yousofi and Quraishi as well as Dawn Avery in an ambitious work that celebrates the women of Afghanistan, Women of Troy: Voices from Afghanistan.
As a theatre-maker, Susan is committed to not being siloed but nurturing Washington’s theatre community as a whole, and, to this end, launched a community engagement program, Live & About, now in its 10th Anniversary Season, of taking participants to support and be enlivened by theatres across the Washington area that are producing works across the spectrum of music-theatre. She also is proud to contribute to DCTheatreScene’s coverage of shows and conversations about Washington’s rich community of theatre.
Susan holds a BFA in Drama and English from Tufts University where she graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. She received an MFA from the University of Minnesota and went on to be awarded a post-graduate Fulbright Scholarship in the study of Japanese music and dance-theatre performance.
While directing in Boston, Susan received the Mayor’s Award for her work using theatre to bring community together with her anti-racism project, Opening Doors. Upon her first year returning to Washington she was awarded Outstanding Director/Producer by the Source Theatre’s Annual Festival for an evening of Yukio Mishima’s Modern Noh plays in collaboration with the Japanese Cultural Center.