Billy Suter

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Billy Suter (1956-) is a Durban based arts and entertainment journalist.


He always had a passion for the world of entertainment, his interests having started at a young age with early singing, then drama eisteddfods. He would later form, produce, design for and choreograph The Harlequinns, an amateur 20-member Durban lip-sync troupe (member ages 9 to 35) that performed extensively to raise funds for charity from 1975 to 1985.

After matriculating at Mansfield High School in Durban, and completing a year of compulsory military service in the South African Air Force, he studied journalism at Durban’s Natal Technikon (now Durban University of Technology). Halfway through the first of three years of study, he was employed by The Mercury, the newspaper going on to pay for the remainder of the course.

Contribution to South African Theatre, Film, Media and Performance

Initially he covered various news beats at The Mercury, and initiated and produced a weekly live-music column, Bandstand, which ran for more than a decade from the late 1970s. He then went on to write for the newspaper’s Woman’s Weekly lifestyle supplement (for 2 years), before becoming the newspaper’s full-time film reviewer (3 years) and going on to news and feature sub-editing and layout and ultimately deputy features editor, specialising in fashion and feature layouts.

In late 1993 he was appointed as Arts Editor, specialising in film and, more so more recently, theatre. This appointment lasted till November 2016, and in this time he also edited and did layout for the Independent on Saturday’s Arts & Pleasure pages, writing under the pseudonym Bill Ryan for four years. He also contributed, over the years, to arts sections of The Daily News, the Sunday Tribune and the ArtSMart website.

Long an FNB Vita Award judge for theatre and, in more recent years, a judge for the Durban Theatre Awards.

In recent years he has tried his hand at scriptwriting, having been commissioned to write a monologue for the popular touring Clinton Marius play, The Penis Monologues.

In 2016 he opted to take voluntary retrenchment from The Mercury and began writing his online blog ...SoSuterBill..., containing much information on South African arts and culture.


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