A graduate of The Actors’ Institute, London (UK), Sally McLean now wears several hats, which include the titles of actor, director, producer and writer.
In 1997 she created her own film and theatre production outfit, Incognita Enterprises, under the honorary patronage of esteemed British actor, Sir Nigel Hawthorne – an association that continued until his passing in 2001.
Under the umbrella of Incognita, Sally co-produced and co-wrote the UK 45 minute feature film A Little Rain Must Fall (invited to screen at the Cannes Film Festival), as well as writing, producing and directing the short films fixNATION in 2004 (screened on OutThere, Foxtel 2005, Selected: Best of Anything Goes Film Screenings 2004, Melbourne) and Brigit & Benny (a modern faerietale) (Selected: The Festival of the Spirit, US) in 2005. She additionally wrote and directed the independently commissioned short documentaries The Gyuto Monks – An Australian Awakening (5×5 mins, 2001) and The Giant, the Witch and the Waterhorse (15 mins, 2002).
Sally then branched out into the area of writing, directing and producing for the theatre with her first play Chasing Pegasus – A Play In Ten Chords, first workshopped in front of audiences in December 2003, then professionally staged in October 2006. She followed this with PS I Love You, exploring women’s roles on the home front in Melbourne during WWII, which made it’s first workshop appearance on the stage in July/August 2004. Current plays in development include Till The Boys Come Home and Bayonets & Bully Beef.
Sally began her work in production with the BBC in London (UK) in their Music & Arts Dept. on program strands such as Bard On The Box, One Foot In The Past, Poetry Nation, and the BAFTA award-winning documentary series, Bookmark, under Editor, Roland Keating, before moving with Roly to work on the establishment of the BBC Commercial Channels (now UKTV). During this time, she was invited to Chair the BBC Alternative Program Development Unit and Australian Program Development Unit, which resulted in successful submissions of several high-quality program proposals to the Controllers of BBC1 & 2.
On her return to Australia, Sally has additionally worked as Production Coordinator (Melbourne Live Nights) and Assistant Script Coordinator for the highly successful GTV9 sketch comedy program, Comedy Inc. and undertaken production work for Big Brother: Hunt for a Housemate (2004-2007), the Australian Idol auditions (Melbourne, 2005), Series One of The X Factor and Series One of 1 vs 100 for Endemol Southern Star.
She began her apprenticeship in directing for theatre under the guidance of New York theatre director, Andy Gale, working as his assistant director during the professional Australian Premier of the off-Broadway musical, I Love You, You’re Perfect Now Change, at the Athenaeum Theatre, Melbourne in 2000, of which she was also a member of the cast.
Previous writing and presenting positions have included feature writer for The Buzz Music Magazine (Melbourne), Content Coordinator and feature article writer for the Multimedia Internet Network, three years as a radio presenter for 3RPP-FM (including the Breakfast and Drivetime shifts) and presenter for the kids’ TV show Streetwise and magazine program Peninsula Update. She still occasionally works as a freelance journalist and photographer for various local papers and magazines when time permits.
As an actor, Sally’s film credits include leads in numerous independent short and feature films in both Australia and the UK. She has also played leading roles in over thirty Australian and UK stage productions including Annabel’s Requiem, Hamlet, Macbeth, The Auxiliary, Young Turks, Lovepuke, three seasons with Australian Shakespeare Company with Romeo & Juliet and The Comedy of Errors (Shakespeare In The Park) and the professional Australian premier of I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change at the Athenaeum Theatre Melbourne. Her television credits include Utopia, Upper Middle Bogan, Jack Irish, Elephant Princess, Neighbours, Flying Doctors, Bingles, Blue Heelers, Channel 9’s Comedy Inc., BBC’s The Bookworm and the Logie and BAFTA Award-winning BBC mini-series Bootleg in the role of “Angie Powers”.
Sally is currently co-writing two feature film screenplays Dalny, and This Wooden ‘O’, writing, directing and producing the documentary Champion: The Franz Stampfl Story as well as writing the mini-series Christie and co-writing the comedy series The Kingdom (working title). She is also the creator, director, producer and an ensemble member of the award-winning Shakespeare Republic, a web series dedicated to celebrating the brilliance of the Bard.
In her spare time, Sally is also an “Internet Entrepreneur” (which is apparently what it’s called), designing for various online stores for t-shirts, gifts and other apparel. Shops include Incognita Store – t-shirts and gifts for showbiz& entertainment folk and The Shakespeare Shoppe – t-shirts and gifts for lovers of The Bard and the Elizabethan era.
For more information, visit her official website: www.sallymclean.com
Featured image: Michala Banas (Ensemble) with Sally McLean (Director/Ensemble) of the award-winning web series, Shakespeare Republic during filming for Season Two in September 2016