Susan Wales Hampson

Sep 19 2019 | By More

Amateur theatre stalwart dies aged 72

Susan Wales Hampson, a pillar of Edinburgh’s amateur theatre scene in both an official and personal capacity, has died on Sunday 15 September 2019. She was 72.

Susan worked in the law offices of both the old Lothian Region council and post-reorganisation West Lothian council. She first took up community theatre in the late 1990s, following the death of her second husband in 1998.

Susan Wales in 2017. Picture and copyright: Walter Hampson.

Her service to community theatre was diligent and often tenacious, from her active membership of the SCDA, serving on its committees to the highest level, her work with broadening its communications and the SCDA library, to her involvement with individual companies including Leitheatre, EGTG and the Mercators.

Susan will be remembered by many for her personal support in their theatrical endeavours. Particularly in moments of crisis, but also with her underlying belief that things were possible and that ideas could be made to flourish into actions and tangible events.


Susan was born in Manchester on June 26 1947 and brought up in the city. Grand mal epilepsy curtailed her early education, but she became involved in local politics as a young teenager. A lifelong supporter of left wing causes and trade unions, she married a fellow activist in 1969, moving to Scotland in 1972.

She continued her education as an adult and gained employment in the old Lothian Region’s solicitor’s department, where she worked on reorganising the law library. She continued her involvement with left wing politics and Trade Unions.

Susan left her marriage in the early Eighties and moved to a flat in Edinburgh. She married Bob Wales in 1986 and took up his passion for walking, climbing and cycling. In 1997 she moved to West Lothian legal services.

community theatre

When Bob Wales died in 1998, Susan looked for new areas to focus her energies and, thanks to her friendship with Alan Jeffries, was introduced to the world of community theatre.

Her first production was with Theatre Workshop, performing as Rose in David’s Gift. Through her involvement with the costume department she became involved in first Leitheatre and then EGTG, the Edinburgh Graduate Theatre Group. She also became minutes secretary of the Scottish Community Drama Association.

As her involvement with both EGTG and the SCDA grew, she began to focus on increasing the communications and promotions sides of their organisation, working in particular on Dramanews as well as developing websites for both organisations.

She continued to perform, notably with the Mercators. Her favourite roles being Kate the bag lady in On The Outside and Mrs Camp in Tributes to Dickens.

script library

Her work with the SCDA stretched to the script library, where she was instrumental in organising the creation of an online database of available texts. She also helped develop the SCDA’s full length festival, donating a runner-up trophy in 2018.

While at West Lothian council she met Walter Hampson. They shared a love of walking and their relationship developed after the death of her mother in 2005. Partners of 12 years, they were married on Susan’s birthday in June this year.

Susan had successful treatment for breast cancer in 2008. However the cancer came back in 2018. In August this year, she announced that she was now on end of life care.

Susan’s cremation will take place at 10am on Wednesday 25 September 2019, at West Lothian Crematorium, Starlaw Road, Livingston EH54 7DA. Following the non religious service, mourners are invited to Howden Park Centre, and are asked to inform Walter if they intend to do so.

Æ has now (25/9/19) published a longer piece about Susan’s life: A Second Life in Theatre, based on her own autobiographical notes.


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  1. A second life in theatre : All Edinburgh | Sep 25 2019
  1. Walter Hampson says:

    Thank you for that Thom –

  2. Jan Penner says:

    Good-bye for now, Susan. Although I never met you in person, I so enjoyed “knowing” you through the facebook. I admired your engagement with life – fully and honestly. And now you have returned to the great divine. You are safe and loved, both here and there.

  3. Margaret Blair says:

    A wonderful tribute to a very lovely lady . I did not know Susan personally but met her through Walter who is an amazing photographer. I can see she will be mourned by many and I send my deepest sympathy to all .

  4. Steve Clifton says:

    Susan was my aunt, and in many ways she was the older sister I never had. She had a wonderful talent to relate to children, and we always got on very well. Susan was definitely very politically active from a young age. I can distinctly remember her reaction to my unhealthy interest in rockets and missiles as a small child: she explained the plot of a Japanese film she had recently seen called “The H-Man” (later research showed me that it was released in 1958) as a way of making me aware of the horrors of nuclear weapons. I can only have been about five years old at the time. An amazing person with many facets. I will miss her.

  5. Joe Culley says:

    Susan will be sorely missed. She was my best link back to my favorite home back in Scotland.