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.
She collaborated with the artist Prince on songwriting, performance, and the first draft of his film Purple Rain.
Susan helped found the Alliance for New Music-Theatre. In the company’s first few years she collaborated with several composers, including Robert Johnson (Woman Changed Into a Fox and Chinese Village, about China and the global population explosion, and Ann Hoopes(Amelia in America, about Amelia Earhart’s rise to fame.)
Alliance for New Music-Theatre became a producing entity in 2012, 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 formed what would become a lasting partnership with the Embassy of the Czech Republic when she was invited to return to the stage to work with director Mirenka Čechova and performed in the much-acclaimed Unveiling by Václav Havel. She also devised and directed a companion piece about Havel entitled Vaněk Unleashed with composer Maurice Saylor. Both works were produced 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. Following this, Susan directed an adaptation of Kafka’s Metamorphosis that incorporated animation and live cello onstage that was produced at Woolly Mammoth’s before returning to Prague.
She began a second embassy partnership with the Afghan embassy in 2017 continuing her commitment to cross-cultural collaboration. She led a series of workshops in collaboration with Afghan co-writer poet Yalda Baktash and composers Milad Yousofi, Quraishi, and Dawn Avery in an ambitious work, re-imagining Euripides’ great drama to feature the women of Afghanistan, Women of Troy: Voices from Afghanistan.
In all her work, Susan resists being siloed but rather continues to reach out in partnerships and believes in nurturing Washington’s theatre community as a whole. With Alliance Executive Director, she launched a community engagement program, Live & About. She was a proud contributor to DCTheatreScene’s coverage of shows and conversations about Washington’s rich community of theatre and was sad to see the loss of Lorraine Treanor and her outstanding on-line arts magazine. She continues to write occasionally for her esteemed colleague John Stoltenberg and his team at DC Theater Arts.
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.