The Pennsylvania State University
116 Theatre Building
University Park, PA 16802-2900
Susan graduated summa cum laude with a PhD in Theatre Studies from Florida State University in 2008, and in 1979 she received her BA in Theatre from St. Andrews Presbyterian College in Laurinburg, NC. Between educational pursuits, she experienced a twenty-five year career as a professional actor on and off-Broadway, in regional theatre and at opera companies across the country. As a professional playwright, her worksOlympia (1998) and Present Perfect (1999) have been produced by the Emerging Artist Theatre in New York City and Lincoln Center, her playSevere Clear was a semi-finalist in the 2006 O’Neill Theatre Center Playwriting Competition, and her 2009 play Ecoute: Pieces of Reynaldo Hahntoured 40 venues in the United States starring PSU School of Music faculty member Norman Spivey. In 2007 she created CULTURAL CONVERSATIONS, which is a new visual, theatre, and dance festival devoted to promoting and fostering new works that circle themes of global and local diversity. She is editor of the academic journal Cultural Conversations: Works in progress/Writers in the Making, and her 2010 bookBody Language: Cultural Conversations Reaching Out and Reaching In is the first in an on-going series of texts designed to offer day by day templates for school systems on how to use playwriting, media, and public performance to explore issues that affect middle and high school students. Russell teaches playwriting, History of American Musical Theatre, Women in Theatre, and graduate literature and criticism seminars in ancient theatre.