Meet Sally McLean, the award-winning actress, screenwriter, director and playwright with a passion for Shakespeare | Melbourne WebFest Advisory Board (archived from MWF)

by Kristen Settinelli | Jun 18, 2020

We’re extremely thrilled to welcome former Melbourne WebFest alumni creator Sally McLean to the 2020 festival Advisory Board.

An award-winning actress, writer and director, Sally McLean is currently the Creator/Director and lead ensemble member of the critically acclaimed and internationally award-winning web series Shakespeare Republic, alongside fellow cast Nadine Garner, Michala Banas, Alan Fletcher, Christopher Kirby and Dean Haglund. The series is currently in development for Season Three as an Ozflix Original. 

A graduate of The Actors’ Institute, London (UK), McLean’s acting credits include lead and supporting roles in numerous Australian, UK & USA television and film productions including The Worst Year of My Life – Again! (ABC/CBBC),  Elephant Princess (Channel 10), Upper Middle Bogan (ABC), Preacher (AMC/Sony), Utopia (ABC), Jack Irish (ABC), Comedy Inc. (Channel 9) and the BAFTA award-winning BBC mini-series Bootleg (BBC/Channel 10). 

McLean has also played roles in over thirty UK and Australian theatre productions, including the professional Australian premiere of I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, the world premiere of Annabel’s Requiem on the West End and the all-female Macbeth. Sally teaches Shakespeare as a faculty member of the highly respected Howard Fine Acting Studio Australia, is a Trustee of HFAS Australia and continues to work professionally as an actor in the Australian, UK and USA film, theatre and TV markets.

Established in 1997, McLean created her own boutique production business, Incognita Enterprises, under the honorary patronage of respected British actor, Sir Nigel Hawthorne KB, CBE – producing new theatre works and original film and TV ideas, using established practitioners working alongside the next generation of writers, filmmakers, directors and actors. 

As a multi-hyphenate creative who continues to work both in front of and behind the camera, McLean inspires others like her to discover the flexibility and possibilities of digital series, and the different ways the medium can be utilised to tell stories and share the human experience. “I feel that we will see much more activity in this area over the coming years,” says McLean.

“Add to that the uncertainty our industry is facing in this new era of social distancing and periodic isolation, more intimate stories are likely to be told simply due to logistics and health and safety concerns, and those kinds of stories lend themselves perfectly to short form series.”

McLean believes animation series, in particular, will potentially increase – with the restrictions of the current COVID-19 climate restricting filming live-action.

“Short-form web series is a great place to test out concepts and ideas before going more long-form. In our “new normal”, I see web series playing an even more important part in the development of our emerging practitioners, but also providing a fertile playground for established writers and directors to try out new ideas and push boundaries.”

McLean is currently working on a stand-alone season of Shakespeare Republic: #AllTheWebsAStage, a direct response to the current pandemic, exploring the human experience in isolation.

“The relatively quick-turnaround nature of the format when working with a small number of cast and crew, using smartphones and other modern technology means that web series may also become even more important in telling stories that reflect the current state of the world via the drama and comedy genres than traditional television or film,” says McLean.

“Not filming on a full camera rig with a full crew is more common in short-form web series, for example, than other mediums, and may be a primary way we are still able to tell original stories using live-action in the midst of restrictions and lockdown.” 

In this brave new world of content, McLean is excited to see what short form web series creators can create – and we’re just as thrilled to see what she’s been up to.

You can check out McLean’s new Shakespeare Republic series, Shakespeare Republic: #AllTheWebsAStage here.

Article archived on Wayback Machine.