Suzan Zeder is a freelance playwright and the former head of the playwriting in the Department of Theatre & Dance at The University of Texas at Austin. Not only is she one of the nation’s leading playwrights of plays for young and family audiences, she also lead the formation of the Cohen New Works Festival in honor of David Mark Cohen.
When did you know that you wanted to go into theatre?
I knew when I was 5 years old that I would have a life in theatre. I saw my first play in New York starring Ethel Merman and I was a goner! Playwriting came later, but no less passionately!
What are you currently working on?
An epic musical titled: The Battlefields of Clara Barton, a Civil War activist, nurse, relief worker, feminist and the founder of the American Red Cross.
What kind of new work excites you?
All kinds, but particularly new work done by students, both graduate and undergraduate, who literally hold the future in their hands, hearts and minds.
If you could go back and give yourself advice at the start of your career, what would you say?
The BEST is yet to come!
Zeder’s work has been seen all over the United States, and she has been produced and published in Great Britain, Germany, Australia, Japan. Israel and Switzerland. She is a four time winner of the Distinguished Play award from the American Alliance of Theatre and Education, has chaired the Playwright’s Fellowship panel for the National Endowment for the Arts and Theatre Communications Group, and in 1997, she was inducted into the College of Fellows of the American Theatre. She has played an integral role in the Cohen New Works Festival since it was established as the New Play Festival in 2001.