Susan Pellowe has worn many hats and she's still placing orders with the milliner!
From choral accompanist to British Music Hall performer, junior high newspaper editor to travel writer and book editor, from fairy godmother in a play at the local library when she was six to world-traveling actress, from associate professor of theatre to theatre critic, organist's page-turner to symphony manager, Pellowe has embraced all aspects of the arts.
She has traveled (and written about) Europe, East Africa, the South Pacific, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, and New Zealand.
On graduation from Albion College she began her career at WTTW/Channel 11 in Chicago. She left to study Shakespeare in Britain. On her return, she taught English and journalism at West Senior High School in Aurora (IL) then joined Aurora College/University to become Director of Theatre.
As Associate Professor of Speech and Theatre and Coordinator of Fine Arts, she encouraged the growth of performing and visual arts on campus; oversaw fine arts festivals and concerts; developed a theatre curriculum; and supervised the design and inauguration of the new Perry Theatre.
She has directed over 150 plays, musicals, and operas, with "specialties" in Shakespeare, classical Greek, and medieval theatre. She presently is the Creative Director for 4th Acts, the theatre group at 4th Presbyterian Church in Chicago.
Onstage her favorite roles include the recent Miss Helen in Athol Fugard's The Road to Mecca; Mrs. Patrick Campbell in Dear Liar; Dona Ana in Shaw's Don Juan in Hell; She in Albee's Counting the Ways; Zerbinetta in Moliere's Scapin. Not to forget the myriad of characters in her Music Hall show, Taking Turns!
Pellowe's articles and photos have appeared widely, for instance in the Kansas City Star, Los Angeles Times, London (Ontario) Free Press, and Miami Herald. For 14 years she was the Chicago theatre critic for the British theatre magazine Plays International. An active member of the Shakespeare Globe Center North America, the support group for rebuilding Shakespeare's Globe in London, she edited the Midwest chapter newsletter. She has led study trips to Great Britain, Minneapolis, and Stratford, Ontario, and regularly spends time researching and relaxing in London and Cornwall.
The Current Scene: Following on from 12 years at Aurora University and 16 years at The Art Institute of Chicago, Susan is now the Coordinator of Visual Arts at Fourth Presbyterian Church in Chicago as well as Artistic Director of Fourth Acts. She is working on three books, most immediately on the one with a working title "The Stroke of a Phoenix", recounting her recovery from a stroke in 2005. Read a sneak preview of Susan's story! Left Alive or Dead Right, Driving Safely in Britain is newly updated in print and e-book. Other books to come include one on Lord Melbourne, Prime Minister of Britain and mentor to Queen Victoria, and one on Cornish lads who came to Michigan to become Methodist ministers. Her writings have been "anthologized" in several collections. She is also creating a CD about mermaids and a DVD of the Wesleys.
She and fellow Cornish-American Jim Wearne are co-founders of the Illinois Cornish Society. They both also regularly perform at the biannual Gatherings of the Cornish American Heritage Society. In 1996 she was made a Bard of the Cornish Gorsedd for her services to Cornwall. She is very pleased to have had her Cornish name featured in a Cornish magazine. See more of Susan's Cornish connection.
To learn of her multi Methodist activities and contributions, see Susanna Wesley's biography .
Susan graduated from Adrian High School in Michigan. Her degrees in Speech and Theatre are from Albion College in Michigan and University of Illinois/Chicago, with further graduate work at Northwestern University, University of Illinois/Champaign, and the Shakespeare Institute through Birmingham University. She has twice been the recipient of awards from the Westminster Experiment and Research in Evangelism Trust (London), the most recent to study the Wesleys in Oxford for two weeks in May 2003. In October of 2003 she was named a Distinguished Albion Alumna – a distinction seldom awarded to one in the arts. Read her response The Quest of the Human Heart, which was published in the alumni newspaper Io Triumphe and which speaks to the importance of the arts in our lives.