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Susan Bertoia

Discipline: Theatre
Homebase: Vancouver
Languages: English

Susan is a highly sought-after theatre artist because of her unique and fun approach to theatre classics: Commedia dell'Arte, mask and physical theatre. She holds a BFA from UBC and has advanced studies in commedia and physical theatre from institutions abroad. Susan also serves as a speech arts adjudicator and as an artist in residence at many schools in BC. As a performer she has worked with the Arts Club Theatre, Western Canada Theatre, Firehall Theatre, Richmond Gateway and Boca Del Lupo. Her devised work is extensively movement-based. Accolades include a Jessie Award for Outstanding Performance and a Gordon Armstrong Theatre Artist Award. Susan is Artistic Director of BellaLuna Productions.


Susan has a wonderful ability to relate to the students, which gives them the confidence to experiment and improvise in front of the class. Her positivity and energy are contagious, no matter what age group she is working with. Andrea Superstein, Drama Teacher, St John's School

Project Examples

The Subterranean Project

The Subterranean Project is a site-specific theatrical performance. Theatre artist Susan Bertoia provides artistic leadership and direction through hands-on devising workshops as well as assisting students to explore, to develop and to embrace their unusual hidden narratives which bubble beneath the surface of their day-to-day lives. We discover the effect their movements and attitudes cause in their diverse population at the school. The intention of this theatrical project is to pull these narratives, which range from comedies to tragedies out of their hiding spots and expose to an audience these bold truths. The performance is a physically engaging experience as audiences literally walk through the historic halls and participate in the show around them. In this unique public performance, open to students, faculty, local community and political members, we hope to stimulate engagement and discussions leading to change of our educational institutions in which students thrive and learn.

Physical Theatre

Students are led through a variety of movement exercises based in the Lecoq pedagogy. We explore movement patterns both pedestrian and poetic, ranging from concepts as the four elements (earth, air, water and fire) to colours and animals! We transfer these findings and discover how to can create authentic characters and dynamic theatre moments. This is an excellent workshop for shaking things up a bit.

Commedia dell' Arte

Commedia dell' Arte is the lively form of professional Italian mask theatre that flourished in 15th century Europe and has influenced our modern-day clowns. Commedia dell'arte is an actor's theatre. A fun and fast-paced workshop for anyone who is creative, energetic, witty and relies on his/her intuition as an artist. No previous mask experience is necessary. We cover the stock characters: Arlecchino (the Crafty Servant), Pantalone (the Miser), Il Dottore (the know-nothing Teacher/Doctor), Il Capitano (the Braggart Soldier), Innamorati (the Young lovers), Pulcinella (the Nasty Servant) and Smeraldina (the Servant Girl). This interactive workshop goes beyond just an introduction to these stock characters, taking a contemporary approach through mask, movement, lazzi and improvisation. Also we will discuss the historical, artistic and social impact of the commedia on contemporary theatre. There are several options for the commedia workshop: Introduction Level (brief historical context of commedia, stock characters, physicalization of the characters with masks, solo lazzi); Advanced Level (creating and performing solo and duo lazzi, using stock scenario and creating your own scenario, improvisation with stock characters); or Scenario Performance (cast, rehearse and perform a scenario).

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