Susan Benson has created set and costume designs in Canada, the United States, Europe, and Australia. Her designs have included costumes for The Ballad of Baby Doe for the San Francisco opera and New York City Opera, production design for the world premiere of The Golden Ass for the Canadian Opera Company, Die Zauberflöte the Minnesota Opera and Dallas Opera, and Romeo and Juliet for the National Ballet of Canada, the Finnish National Ballet and the National Ballet of China; costume design for The Front Page for the Dallas Theater Center and A Doll’s House at the Guthrie Theater, Minneapolis. Her sets and costumes for Indian Ink were seen in a co-production for Toronto’s Canadian Stage Company and Ottawa’s National Arts Centre.
Ms. Benson designed for the Stratford Festival of Canada for twenty-one seasons, where her many productions included Noises Off, The Relapse and A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Maggie Smith, Long Day’s Journey into Night with Jessica Tandy, Cabaret with Brent Carver and Sheila McCarthy. The Mikado appeared at the Festival for five seasons and toured across Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom. Production designs for other companies included The Taming of the Shrew for the National Ballet of Canada and the Boston Ballet, Madama Butterfly for the Canadian Opera Company; La Finta Giardiniera for the Opera Theater of Saint Louis; The Marriage of Figaro and Cosi Fan Tutte with Colin Graham at the Banff Centre and The Gondoliers for the Australian Opera Company. She has also designed costumes for Death in Venice for the Canadian Opera Company and the San Francisco Opera, and Don Quichotte for the New York City Opera.
Ms. Benson received her training in the United Kingdom before emigrating to Canada in 1966. She was elected a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts in 1986. She has represented Canada at five Prague Quadrennial Theatrical Design exhibitions. She is the recipient of The Banff Centre National Arts Award, the Canadian Institute for Theatre Technology Professional Achievement Award, a Guthrie Award, a Jessie Award (Vancouver), a Cable ACE Award, eight Dora Mavor Moore Awards and Canadian Actors’ Equity Award for outstanding contributions to the Theatre and Performing Arts in Canada. In 2019 She was honoured to be awarded the Order of Canada for her design work and mentorship of young designers and artists and a book about her design work Susan Benson: Art, Design and Craft on Stage by Patrica Flood was published by Firefly Books.