News and Blog

Suzanne McLean announced as new artistic director of Theatre Peckham

Theatre Peckham today announces the appointment of Suzann McLean as their new Artistic Director. McLean takes up the role in September 2018, taking over from Teresa Early who stepped down, earlier this year, after 33 years.

Suzann McLean said today “I am thrilled to be joining Theatre Peckham at this exciting time when it has an impressive new building to serve its local community. It will be an honour to lead a venue that truly values young people, their talent and their ability to positively impact the community. Young people have always been at the heart of all my work and I look forward to continuing the inspired work of Theatre Peckham’s founder Teresa Early. It’s wonderful that support from Arts Council England and the Borough of Southwark means we can build on the theatre’s reputation for staging great shows and reach out further to the excitingly diverse communities of South East London. I firmly believe that theatre does change lives and am proud to be championing the cause, in all its forms, as the new Artistic Director of Theatre Peckham.”

Sioban Whitney-Low Chair of Trustees, Theatre Peckham said of the appointment, “As Chair of Theatre Peckham, I am thrilled to welcome Suzann McLean to the team. Suzann’s rich experience in working with children and young people – directing, writing and producing – ensures she will carry forward the outstanding legacy of our founder, Teresa Early. Under the leadership of Teresa Early and Suzy Smith, Theatre Peckham has established a creative home for its local community.  Suzann will carry on this work, keeping true to the company’s mission while taking us to exciting new places as well. Suzann will champion the voice of children and young people, raising the profile of Theatre Peckham’s work. As a passionate believer in the arts for, by and with children and young people, I am confident that Suzann’s advocacy will put Theatre Peckham centre stage.”

Joyce Wilson, London Area Director, Arts Council England said, “Theatre Peckham welcomes a new Artistic Director, Suzann McLean, to continue its work with children and young people started by the founding artistic director, Teresa Early, over 30 years ago. Arts Council England has supported Theatre Peckham throughout this time and would like to pay tribute to the huge contribution made by Teresa to the local community in Peckham. Suzann brings a wealth of experience of working with children and young people through her own company, Young and Talented, and more widely with Theatre Royal Stratford East, Pilot Theatre and NT connections. With a new purpose-built theatre and new artistic leadership, Theatre Peckham announces an exciting new chapter in its remarkable story.”

Founded in the early 1980s on the North Peckham estate, Theatre Peckham has since become a renowned training hub which introduces thousands of young people to theatre every year, and sees its Alumni employed across the Creative Industries. The new Theatre and studio spaces now deliver an extensive education and performance programme for young people from across inner city London. Current patrons of Theatre Peckham include Sir Ian McKellen, Jenny Agutter OBE, David Harewood MBE, Paulette Randall and John Boyega. After stepping down Teresa Early will take on the role of the theatre’s Director Emeritus.

Suzann McLean is an award winning actress. Associate Artist at York Theatre Royal, associate of Pilot Theatre and associate of the young people’s work at Theatre Royal Stratford East. Founder and director of the award winning theatre School Young and Talented now in its 14th year.

McLean was a selected as a Torchbearer for the 2012 Olympics as recognition of her work for the community. Other directing credits include Robin Hood (York Theatre Royal), Extremism (Dorfman Theatre /Connections 2017), Catcher (Pilot Theatre), Rebellion (Hackney Empire), The Sisterhood (in Bermuda) and most recently director for Platform Shift+ European Youth exchange in Italy. As an actress Suzann has worked extensively on both stage and screen, credits include Good Omens, The Honourable Woman, Dr. Who, Little Miss Jocelyn, Measure For Measure (National Theatre), A Raisin in the Sun (Synergy Theatre), Dog Beneath the Skin (Jermyn Street Theatre) and Winner of British Arrows Gold award for Best Performance 2017. Suzann trained in Acting at Italia Conti Academy and has an MA from Middlesex university in Directing and Producing theatre for social change.