Writer, Director, Performer, Educator
Developing Ensemble Works
Writer, Director, and Performer Susan Galbraith has worked in both classical and contemporary theater and dance repertory with nationally and internationally renowned directors and choreographers including Peter Sellars, Emily Mann, Anthony Cornish, the Kabuki team Leonard Pronko and Takao Tomono, Virginia Freeman and Drury Pifer. She was an ensemble member of Peter Sellar’s Boston Shakespeare Company.
For eleven years she served as Artistic Director of Performers Ensemble where she developed her combined interest in western and far-eastern dance and music-theater forms to create hybrid works and develop ensemble, touring to festivals pieces such as the highly acclaimed Journeys Through Imaginary Landscapes, a masked dance-theater piece inspired by Hiroshige’s prints with set by Isamu Noguchi, and Smile at the Foot of the Ladder, a Picasso-like circus piece based on the novella by Henry Miller. Her playwriting credits include A Balancing Act, Holding Patterns, Three Marias, and a trilogy about the Atomic Veterans.
Trained in both directing and performing for Music-Theater by the late opera director and teacher Wesley Balk, she continues his work in her evolution in theater. She is a founding member of the Alliance for New Music-Theatre and currently serves as its Artistic Director. With composer Robert Bartlett Johnson she has written libretto for Our Medea and Chinese Village and A Woman Changed Into a Fox. Together they joined forces with composer Ann Hoopes to create Waiting for Amelia, a musical about the pilot A. Earhart and the fame that made her an icon. She collaborated with composer Kit Young to develop and produce Sandaya:Burmese Lessons.
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 The Prague Fringe Festival and where Susan was nominated for both best actress and best director/creative originality. Continuing the strong relationship with the Czech Embassy, in September 2014, Susan directed her own stage adaptation of Kafka’s Metamorphosis incorporating animation, original music, and live cello. Most recently, she continued the commitment of Havel’s “Vanek” plays, by directing Protest, to celebrate the 80th anniversary of Václav Havel. It was performed as a private “apartment performance” at the Ambassador’s residence, then at President Woodrow Wilson’s House followed by a performance in NYC at the Cultural Center before returning to the Prague Fringe in 2017.
Susan has teamed up with composers Milad Yosofi and Dawn Avery and with poet Yalda Baktash to adapt Euripides’ classic anti-war play into Women of Troy/Voices from Afghanistan, that will serve as true bi-cultural collaboration and a celebration of the arts of Afghanistan and the resilience and strength of its women. It debuts as the Alliace contribution in January 2018 as part of the Women’s Voices in Theater Festival.
In April 2018, Susan Galbraith and composer Maurice Saylor presents their second collaboration, R.U.R.: A Retro Futuristic Cabaret Musical, a work created site specifically for Alliance’s debut season at Dupont Underground.
Susan has taught language arts at all levels and for many years worked for the Great Books Foundation, engaging students and teachers in inquiry-based conversations developing critical thinking and respect for multiple perspectives. In her capacity as Vice-President of Global Programs for the company, she helped train teachers in China and worked with developing a Great Books curriculum Grades 1-12.
Susan has also taught many forms of theater and movement styles, from playwriting to improvisation, and from classical dance to Tai Chi and yoga. As an international educational consultant, she has led trainings in playwriting, movement and performance, and interpretion/adaptation of literature.
Susan adds her voice to the conversation about the performing arts in Washington by writing for DCTheatreScene on opera, dance, and theater. To see articles and reviews, http://dctheatrescene.com/author/susan-galbraith/
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 was awarded a post-graduate Fulbright Scholarship in the study of Japanese music and Kabuki dance-theatre performance. Susan also received Boston Mayor’s Special Award for theatre work that served community. She is proud to have also been awarded a special residency with Pete Seeger and Jane Sapp in arts for social justice at Blue Mountain Center. She holds a Directorial Award in D.C. from the Source Theatre Festival.