Local artist profile: Susan Jane Willingham - The Community Leader and Real Estate New and Views


Susan Jane Willingham is the President of Wynnum Manly Arts Council Inc.

Susan retired from banking and finance in 1997 after 25 years to pursue her interest in the arts. Her banking career included analysing financial statements and establishing revolving credit limits for major corporate customers. Her years in the banking industry and its specific areas for study led to her becoming an Associate of the Financial Services Institute of Australasia in 1989.

Her public office commenced as a Justice of the Peace in 1989, and she has transferred to a JP Commissioner of Declarations.

Susan has volunteered for various community theatre companies in Brisbane with backstage, on stage, front of house and management positions. The early formation years of Community Radio Station BAY FM caught her attention, and she volunteered in administration and radio production. The volunteer work was coupled with professional acting work in film and television. She studied privately in theatre craft with Martin Overson, combining live theatre direction with film and TV direction. This prompted Susan to formalise her theatre training by enrolling in an Advanced Diploma in Performing Arts with Southbank TAFE in 2001. It was here that she was mentored in stage direction by Norman Price from the Institute. She then continued her studies with USQ becoming an Alumni in 2014 after attaining her Graduate Certificate (Arts).

In 2000 the Wynnum Manly Arts Council Inc was formed with the core members from Harlequin Theatre upon the retirement of Martin Overson. Since that time, Susan has been President and Production/Artistic Manager. She has led the local arts council to its being accepted as a Deductible Gift Recipient on the Register of Cultural Organisations with the ATO and a registered charity with the ACNC.

Susan has updated many incorporated associations’ constitutions and assisted with administrative tasks, including Community Lease renewal documents for Brisbane City Council halls leased by various organisations. She has also worked on the management committee for the community orchestra of Redland City, assisting them with their Business Plan and applying for and obtaining various grants.

Volunteering is high on her agenda, and she was Treasurer for the Wynnum Manly Jazz Festival Inc, which Brisbane City Council funds. Susan also assisted with establishing the Wynnum Manly Regional Development Partnership Inc in 2000, which shared its launch with Wynnum Manly Arts Council Inc at the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron at Manly in December 2001.

Susan currently works part-time for an accounting and taxation firm.

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