Susan has enjoyed a diverse and exciting career as an actor in film, television, animation voice over and commercials, as well as in award winning theater with Pulitzer Prize winning playwrights at prestigious regional theaters. She has also directed several plays and staged readings, written original plays and co-wrote and directing a short film.
Born and raised in Baltimore, MD, Susan graduated high school from Baltimore School For the Arts and later received a B.F.A from Boston University. Upon graduating she moved to San Francisco where she worked in commercials and print for companies such as Toyota, Tse, Hidden Valley Ranch, Apple, Hewlitt-Packard and Gap. While in San Francisco she also played leading and supporting roles in theater productions with American Conservatory Theater, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, CA Shakespeare Theater, Shakespeare Santa Cruz, Marin Theatre Company, San Francisco Shakespeare Festival and later at Indiana Repertory Theater.
In Los Angeles, Dalian found more opportunity working as an actor in roles in film, television, and commercials some of which include: The Brothers directed by Gary Hardwick with Morris Chestnut, Shamar Moore and Gabrielle Union, The Kid directed by Jon Turtletaub with Bruce Willis, Emily Mortimer and Chi McBride, Undefeated directed by Walter Hill with Wesley Snipes, Room 6 directed by Micheal Hurst, I'm Through With White Girl's directed by Jennifer Sharp, Chevy commercial directed by Mark Pellington, Star Trek: Voyager, The Practice, Felicity directed by J.J Abrams & Todd Holland, The Hughley's with D.L Hughley, Joey with Matt LeBlanc, the voice of "Storm" in Wolverine and the X-men and Cap Com Video Game, and the voice of "Haku" in the popular anime series Naruto as well as several video games.
Susan has performed lead and supporting roles in stage productions with many Los Angeles theater companies, some of which include: South Coast Repertory in plays with Pulitzer Prize winning playwrights Lynn Nottage (Crumbs from the Table of Joy) and Tracy Letts (The Man from Nebraska) and Bill Rauch (Lovers and Executioners), The Actors’ Gang directed by Tim Robbins (Mephisto, The Guys), Bill Rauch & Tracy Young (Medea, Macbeth, Cinderella) and Tracy Young (Dreamplay), Los Angeles Women’s Shakespeare Company directed by Lisa Wolpe (The Merchant of Venice) and 24th Street Theater (The Importance of Being Earnest) directed by Gregg Daniel.
In 2005 Dalian branched out from acting into writing and co-wrote the play, Ambrosia, that explores the relationships between grandmothers and granddaughters produced originally in Los Angeles and later at the 2005 New York International Fringe Festival (Fringe NYC). She also wrote an original comedy play, The Real Housewives of Tusktown, that was produced in various local restaurants and bars in Mammoth Lakes, CA.
From 2014 to 2018 Susan was Resident Director at Sierra Classic Theatre in Mammoth Lakes, CA where she directed non-traditional Shakespeare productions: A Midsummer Night's Dream set in the 2013 town of Mammoth Lakes, Two Gentlemen of Verona set in "the talkies" era of Hollywood, The Merchant of Venice set in the 1849 U.S. westward expansion era, As You Like It set in 1969 CA "Summer of Love" and Macbeth set in a post-apocalyptic 2069. She has also directed other productions for Sierra Classic Theatre that include John Patrick Shanley's Outside Mullingar, and a staged reading of Gina Gionfriddo's Rapture, Blister, Burn. She also directed The Importance of Being Earnest, and a theater for young audiences play Art Dog for Mammoth Lakes Repertory Theatre.
In 2017, Dalian directed a high concept, virtual reality 3D film of scenes from Macbeth and Hamlet featuring Michelle Hurd, Neil Flynn, Eddie Steeples,and Kelly Perine with Shakespeare in the Sphere.
In 2018, Susan co-directed and co-wrote the short film Bite Me which had its World Premiere screening at Mammoth Lakes Film Festival 2019 and was also selected to screen at the 2019 Catalyst Content Festival & Festival Angaelica. She directed a staged reading of the Stephen Dierkes play Lie After Lie After Lie as part of the Cal Tech: MACH 33 Science Driven Playwright Festival in collaboration with Pasadena Playhouse. Later that year she directed a staged reading of the play The Narcissist Next Door written by Ellen Buckley in November at The Matrix Theater in Los Angeles. In June of 2019 that play received a full production as part of Hollywood Fringe 2019 where it received a Hollywood Fringe Encore Request as well as a Double Sweet Better Lemons Critics and Audience Award.
In May of 2019 Dalian joined several directors from all over the US and the world at the 20th Annual Directors Lab West at Pasadena Playhouse where she was inspired working in a creative lab setting with fellow directors, choreographers, and numerous prestigious guest speakers from various theater backgrounds. During the pandemic from April 2020 until the present, she continued directing play reading productions for Santa Cruz Shakespeare (Henry VI Part 2, Richard III, Troilus and Cressida), AMMO Theatre Company, IAMA Theatre Company New Play Festival, La Mama Experimental Theatre Club, USC MFA Playwriting Program and LA Writers Center. In 2021 she won an Audie Award for her audiobook narration for the novel When No One is Watching for HarperCollins Publishing.
Susan recently participated in one of writer/performer Chris Wells' writing workshops where she is working on her original script about the accomplished and compelling lives of three mixed race women spanning three different eras of history - The Crimean War, Reconstruction, and The Vietnam War.