Award-winning actress, screenwriter, director and playwright, Sally McLean began her work in the entertainment biz as an actor in her mid-teens and has since performed leading roles in numerous Australian and British film, theatre and television productions.
A graduate of The Actors Institute, London, with additional training undertaken at the Howard Fine Studios Australia, she has played lead, guest and support roles on numerous UK and Australian television series including Upper Middle Bogan, Utopia, Worst Year Of My Life – Again!, Party Tricks, Elephant Princess, The Flying Doctors, Bingles, The D-Generation, Totally Full Frontal,Comedy Inc., Blue Heelers and the BBC mini-series Bootleg.
Sally has played roles in over thirty UK and Australian theatre productions, her most notable being The Comedy of Errors and Romeo & Juliet with the Australian Shakespeare Company, Hamlet, Annabel’s Requiem, Lovepuke, the professional Australian premier of I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, The Auxilary, Chasing Pegasus (a play in ten chords), PS I Love You and the all-female Macbeth, described as ” an utterly convincing performance as the old Scottish King, belying the fact that McLean is not only young and a woman, but also Australian.” – Time Out, London.
Film work includes Raymond Taylor’s Earnest Adventure In Love, A Little Rain Must Fall (UK), Evie Wants A Baby, Just Move Your Lips (UK) and Interchange, amongst others.
In the late 1990’s, she created her own film production outfit, Incognita Enterprises, under the patronage of respected British actor, Sir Nigel Hawthorne, known internationally for his starring role as “Sir Humphrey Appleby” in Yes, Minister and Yes, Prime Minister and his Oscar nominated performance in the titular role of The Madness Of King George. Her association with Sir Nigel continued until his passing in 2001.
Completed film projects as a writer, producer and/or director to date include the 45 minute UK drama – A Little Rain Must Fall (invited to screen at the Cannes Film Festival), three shorts in Melbourne (which she also directed) – fixNATION (screened on OutThere, Foxtel 2005, Selected: Best of Anything Goes Film Screenings 2004, Melbourne), Brigit & Benny (a modern faerietale) (Selected: The Festival of the Spirit, US) and Speaking Daggers (2017) (Selected: Shakespeare Birthplace Trust Shakespeare Film Festival, UK – starring Nadine Garner, Michala Banas, Scott Major and Christopher Kirby), the 23 minute mockumentary Why Must The Show Go On? (2010) and short documentaries The Gyuto Monks – An Australian Awakening (20 mins, 2001) and The Giant, the Witch and the Waterhorse (15 mins, 2002).
When not on stage or screen, Sally has worked in production for the Nine Network, Endemol Southern Star, Crackerjack Productions, FremantleMedia and Network Ten, as well as three years with the BBC in London (during which time she also Chaired the BBC Alternative Program Development and was Deputy Chair of the Australian Program Development Committee). Sally was also served numerous times as a Juror for the prestigious Australian Film Institute Awards (now AACTA Awards), and continues her involvement in the organization as a Professional Member (Actor). She has also been a Juror for the ATOM Awards in the categories of Best Documentary – Biography and Best Documentary – History.
In May 2017, Sally accepted a position as a member of the Board of Trustees for the Howard Fine Acting Studio Australia. As of September 2017, Sally additionally accepted the position of General Manager of Melbourne WebFest, the first and largest web series festival in the Southern Hemisphere.
Other work includes 3RPP-FM (co-presenter for the popular Dawn Patrol Breakfast program and presenter of Drivetime) and Radio Trader (Advertorials), working for The Buzz music magazine, Fierce.com and The Independent newspaper group as a feature article contributor/reviewer and copywriter for radio stations 3RPP-FM and 3GL.
As a playwright, Sally wrote, directed and produced the Melbourne and regional seasons of her play Chasing Pegasus (a play in ten chords) (starring Bridget Neval and Jennifer Hansen), the WW2 play ‘Till The Boys Come Home (workshop version, titled PS I Love You), and is at present immersed in her current work-in-progress Bayonets and Bully Beef (excerpts from which were performed under her direction at the Melbourne Arts Centre as part of the Your Text Here emerging playwrights showcase).
Sally also supports many charities, including Suicide Awareness, Childwise, and is one of two World Smile Ambassadors for Australia (the other being Jill Perryman) for the Harvey Ball World Smile Foundation (USA), who work towards a brighter future for children around the world, in association with UNICEF and many other international children’s charities and organisations. Fellow international Ambassadors include Brooke Sheilds, Patch Adams, Brigitte Bardot, Phil Collins, Peter Farrelly, Sir Derek Jacobi, Michael York and Prince Albert of Monaco.
In addition to her continuing acting work, Sally is currently working as creator/director/producer (and ensemble member) with the award-winning online Shakespeare project Shakespeare Republic (now in it’s second season), starring Alan Fletcher, Michala Banas, Nadine Garner, Dean Haglund, Christopher Kirby and others and as writer/director/co-producer for the landmark feature documentary Champion, featuring John Landy, Ron Clarke, Sir Roger Bannister, Sir Christopher Chataway and Ralph Doubell, among others as well as continuing to develop various feature film and theatrical projects.