Susan “Susie” Franklin Tanner has worked as a Theatre Artist since 1973. In 1983 she received a California Arts Council Artist in Communities grant to create Theatreworkers Project. As the founder and director, she has led the company in the development of 16 documentary plays including Lady Beth: the Steelworkers' Play that toured 16 cities, co-sponsored by Bruce Springsteen and was profiled in the PBS documentary “A Steel Life Drama”. In 1982, Tanner was honored to share her work on a production of Brecht's A Man's A Man with members of the Berliner Ensemble. She was a member of the Living Stage Company/Arena Stage in D.C. for 6 years, performing and/or teaching workshops for at-risk and underserved children, teens and adults. Her work with the company included workshop/performances in prisons and treatment centers. In Los Angeles, her community-based work has included creating theatre with steelworkers, shipbuilders, critical care nurses, Latino immigrants workers, formerly incarcerated men and women, and youth. Since 2016, Susie has led teams of artists in theatre, writing and movement workshops for formerly incarcerated and those on work release through CAC and California Humanities grants. In January 2019 Susie and her artist teams will bring this work to California State Prison, Lancaster through a CAC Arts in Corrections contract.
As an actor, she has performed at the Old Globe/San Diego, The Mummers Theatre/Oklahoma City, Utah Shakespeare Festival, Mark Taper Forum, LAAT, Ensemble Studio Theatre/LA (EST/LA), LATC and Theatre 40 and is a former intern member of The Actors’ Gang. She worked with the Firesign Theatre as an actor, production coordinator and costumer.
Susie initiated and directed audition prep workshops in partnership with Shakespeare Center/LA and founded and directed Shakespeare Remixed, a summer theatre experience for youth.
She is a member of the SAG-AFTRA Radio Play Committee, for which she has directed 5 live radio performances. As a member of Ensemble Studio Theatre/LA, she has directed numerous staged readings and the critically acclaimed production of “To Serve Butter” for the 2016 One Act Festival, and has provided ongoing opportunities for young artists to work side by side with professionals. Producing/Directing credits include “The Luckiest Girl” and “No Word in Guyanese for Me”, staged at the Atwater Village Theatre, “Lake Titicaca” for the 2016 Short + Sweet Hollywood one act festival, “ISAAK”, which tours schools on an Actor’s Equity Theatre for Young Audiences contract, and "Fathers & Sons".
Susie was an adjunct professor of Theatre for Social Change at Woodbury University for two years. In 2014-15, she collaborated with Woodbury on a project with La Colmenita, the Cuban national children’s theatre, and has collaborated with Mt. St. Mary’s University to implement the Theatre Intervention Project, serving severely depressed and recovering low income women from South Central LA. Teaching Artist positions include/have included LACHSA, Sequoyah School, Mark Taper Forum Saturday Conservatory, College of the Canyons, UCLA Extension, CSULA/EOP, LACC Theatre Academy, College of the Canyons, LAUSD and PUSD.
Grants and awards include: 2011 Bravo Award and CTG JP Morgan Chase Fellowships, a 2014 National Artist Teacher Fellowship and the LA County Federation of Labor Union Label Award for cultural work within the labor movement. Susie has been funded by the California Arts Council for nine consecutive years and her company, TheatreWorkers Project, has recently been awarded an LAUSD Arts Community Network contract to being theatre productions and classes to underserved middle and high schools. for her eighth consecutive
Susie has a B.A. in Theatre from the University of California at Riverside, a Masters in Psychology from International University, a Lifetime Community College Teaching Credential and a CTE Credential in Arts, Media and Entertainment.