Full-length Bio for Susan Ellenton 

Susan is a long-time, award-winning songwriter specializing in acapella originals, storytelling and audience participation. She writes poetry, memoir and creative non-fiction for performance. She's an artisan silversmith - her 'day job'. She teaches Songwriting and Vocal Pleasure, and is involved in numerous west coast music camps; she directs an experimental non-performing women’s chorus. Born and raised in Waterloo Ontario, Susan has lived in Seattle, Auckland NZ, and Whitehorse Yukon. She now makes her home in Victoria B.C. 

 Education - Formal 

University of Waterloo, Bachelor of Arts, non-major, 1977. Academic scholarships. 

Capilano College, Commercial Music Program 1984/5. 

Humber College School of Writing (correspondence program) creative non-fiction, 1999. Scholarship.

Toronto Conservatory of Music, Grade 8 Piano, Grade 2 Theory, 1969. 

 Education - Short Courses (Selected) 
Solo Performance, Lena de Guevera, Royal Roads, 2015. Classes in Improv with Stephen White, Dave Morris. 

Writing: Amherst Method with Karen Lee Pickett; Non-Fiction with Terry Glavin, 2002; Playwriting with Joan McLeod, 2000.

Voice: National Theatre School workshop; lessons with Jennifer Scott, Kim Scanlon, Louise Rose. 

Movement: Body Jazz - Christian Swenson; many years of Restorative Yoga - Misha Butot; Contact Improv, etc.

Songwriting: Chris Williamson & Tree Fure,  Linda Waterfall, Bob Franke, Lisa Aschmann, David Francey.

Storytelling: The Flame, with Deborah Williams, 2017.

 Presentations and Performance (Selected) 
Singer-Songwriter: at Festivals, Coffeehouses, Folk Clubs and House Concerts, 1982 - present.   Highlights: 

Mariposa Folk Festival; Canadian Heritage Festival, St. John’s Newfoundland; S.E. Alaska Folk Festival, Juneau; Dawson City Folk Festival,  Frostbite Folk Festival, Farrago Folk Festival; Folk on the Rocks, Yellowknife; London Home County, Seattle Folklife, Winnipeg Wymmyn’s club, Lesser Slave Lake, New Lynn Folk Club, Auckland, New Zealand, etc. 

Sing for No Reason - 2017 - 2018. Solo acapella musical with audience participation. Writer, Performer, Producer. 

Theatre: Stepping Out, Kaleidoscope Theatre 1985. Composer, Music Director, Actor. Belfry Theatre,Victoria.

Hagimari No Hagimari, Kaleidoscope Theatre 1988. Composer for lyrics by Marilyn Bowering. 

Resonance - Voices of Northern Women, Yukon 1984. Grant procure, Project leader, Songwriter and Performer.

Cowboy Bob, Director, assistant producer. Victoria Fringe Festival, 1989. 

Presentations: Park Naturalist, CRD Parks 1989 - 1995. Creation and performance of public programs.

Multi-media presentation Heart and Hands at Metchosin Summer School of the Arts, 2014.

Painting the Path, scripted concert, Focus Women's Fest, Open Space,Victoria BC. 1998. Created, workshopped and presented. 

The Secret of My Happiness, Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, 1998. Solo voice - creation and performance. 

Alaska Hit Singles (Various Artists) 1982

Gleeclub (Duo), 1985

In the Backyard (Duo), 1994

Secret of My Happiness (Solo), 1998

Painting the Path (Trio), 2000

The Allison Sessions, (Solo) 2017

Learning to Listen, (Solo) 2020

Poetry: Auditoria, self-published, 2015

Four Ways Forward, in midwinter cache, writings from the whisky jack collective, 2017

Troll Breath and Other Foolishness, self-published, 1999


Songwriting contests won: City of Victoria Official Song (1994). Arctic Winter GamesTheme (1984).

Christine Lavin’s Under the Radar Award, NewYork 'Top ten albums of 1998'. 

Winner: Saltwater Slam Poetry Performance 2004. 

Victoria School of Writing Postcard Fiction, 2002.

Grant Recipient: Canada Council Explorations and Clifford Lee Foundation Grants for Voices of Northern Women, 1984. 


Songwriting @ music camps: Puget Sound, Georgia Strait, Womenfriends, Gabriola Songwriters Retreat, Vancouver Island Music Retreat.

Storytelling @ Songroots music camp, 2017.

Authentic Voices School of Music (Founder, Director) 1994 - 2000.  Songwriting, Vocals, Performance.

Sunday Singers experimental chorus, Victoria BC, 2015 - present.