An award-winning, multi-hyphenate, neurodiverse creative, who is primarily an actor, writer and director, Sally McLean began her work in the entertainment biz in her mid-teens and has since performed lead, guest and supporting roles in numerous Australian, US and UK film, theatre and television productions.
A graduate of The Actors Institute UK, with ongoing work with teachers such as Howard Fine and David Coury, Sally’s notable screen acting credits include the lead role of “Angie Powers” in the BAFTA Award-winning BBC mini series Bootleg opposite Tim Robinson, lead guest role of “Stacy” in the AACTA Award-winning ABC TV series Utopia opposite Celia Pacquola and recurring guest roles of “Miss Giddens” in the ABC/CBBC TV series The Worst Year of My Life – Again! opposite Tiarnie Coupland and “Barb” in the USA Sony/AMC TV series, Preacher opposite Pip Torrens & Christopher Kirby.
Predominately working in comedy on screen, Sally is also an experienced dramatic Shakespearean actor with Musical Theatre roots, playing over thirty lead and support roles in theatre in both Australia and the UK. Highlights include roles in The Comedy of Errors and Romeo & Juliet with the Australian Shakespeare Company, the West End premiere of the drama Annabel’s Requiem and the professional Australian premier of the hit Broadway musical I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change.
After graduating drama school, Sally created her own boutique production business, Incognita Enterprises, under the Honorary Patronage of Oscar® nominated actor, Sir Nigel Hawthorne KB, CBE in 1997 – an association that continued until his passing in 2001.
She is currently the Creator/Director and lead ensemble member of the multi award-winning digital series Shakespeare Republic (streaming on Ozflix) which has been officially selected and screened at over 100 international film festivals, nominated for over 90 awards and won over 50 awards to date including Best Director, Best Web Series, Best Actress (for Sally personally) and Best Ensemble Cast in numerous festivals and industry awards. A highlight was being the recipient of the prestigious CINE Golden Eagle Award for Best Digital Series in the USA in 2017, which saw Sally join the ranks of fellow CINE alumni such as Steven Spielberg (the then CINE President) Oprah Winfrey, Ron Howard, Martin Scorsese, Jim Henson, Mike Nichols, Robert Altman, Spike Lee, Billy Crystal, Robert De Niro, Martin Scorsese and Sydney Pollack, among others.
Her Shakespeare short film, Speaking Daggers, a spin off from the series, was selected for 22 international film festivals, including the Academy Award® accredited St Kilda Film Festival – and won 3 awards, as well as a “Highly Commended” Finalist nod from Sir Kenneth Branagh in his role as Jury President for the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust’s Shakespeare Film Festival in the UK in 2017.
As well as directing, she appears on screen in both projects alongside Nadine Garner, Michala Banas, Alan Fletcher, Scott Major, Christopher Kirby and Dean Haglund, among others
Her work with Shakespeare Republic has been the subject of several academic presentations and plenary panels at Early Modern Literature and Shakespeare seminars and conferences in Australia, the UK and USA from 2016 to now. Her first published work on Shakespeare, an essay exploring her methodology behind Shakespeare Republic and Shakespeare performance in general, was published in the UK by Routledge Press in 2020 as part of the academic essay collection, Playfulness In Shakespearean Adaptations edited by Marina Gerzic and Aidan Norrie. The third season of Shakespeare Republic is currently being taught at Syracuse University, USA, has been discussed in papers presented at the Shakespeare Association of America Conference (USA) and BritGrad Conference (UK) and is also further explored in the Arden Shakespeare collection, Lockdown Shakespeare: New Evolutions in Performance and Adaptation edited by Gemma Kate Allred, Benjamin Broadribb and Erin Sullivan, published in July 2022.
She additionally teaches Shakespeare as an industry guest teacher as part of the Howard Fine Acting Studio faculty in Melbourne, Australia.
Upcoming screen projects include the next instalment from the Shakespeare Republic universe – Dark Arcadia – opposite Christopher Kirby and Bad Behaviour for Stan, playing “Miss Constantine” opposite Markella Kavenagh, Jana McKinnon, Tuuli Narkle and Yerin Ha.
Sally continues to work as an actor in film & TV while developing several projects – Shakespeare-related and not – for the stage and screen.
Photo credits (Top to bottom): Sally McLean by Julian Dolman; Nadine Garner and Sally McLean in the proof of concept teaser for Till The Boys Come Home; Christopher Kirby and Sally McLean in the pilot scenes from Till The Boys Come Home; Dean Haglund and Sally McLean in Shakespeare Republic: #LoveTheBard; and Ben Steel, Michala Banas, Alan Fletcher, Rowena Hutson, Sally McLean and Billy Smedley at the publicity shoot for Shakespeare Republic (Season One).