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Theatre Peckham’s CEO/AD Suzann McLean a Finalist in the Black British Business Awards 2022

We are thrilled that our CEO/Artistic Director Suzann McLean has been named a Finalist in the Black British Business Awards 2022. You can read the full announcement on the Telegraph’s website.

Susann says: “It is such a surprise to be a finalist in the Senior Leader, Arts and Media category of the Black British Business Awards. I warmly accept this honour. As a creative leader of a charity, it’s not every day your business prowess is recognised as a valuable and necessary skill for success. 

As the CEO/Artistic Director of Theatre Peckham, I craft the strategy and raise the funds that allow me to give direction, inspire hope, and offer disenfranchised young people credible training and the support they need to succeed in theatrical arts. 

As Founder and creative director of the Young and Talented’s Originate actor training course, I am part of a team that prepares young actors for Drama School and the industry via a free intensive eight-month programme. This is in partnership with  RADA, Guildhall School, and Theatre Peckham. 

My graduates are stars that light up the sky. 

Jordan Benjamin heads to the West End and joins the award-winning musical Back to the Future as Goldie Wilson. I have coached Jordan at Young and Talented since he was 10. 

Originate is the home of BAFTA Rising Star Award winner 2021 Bukky Bakray. She won for her breakout role in the feature film Rocks, an authentic British story exploring Black and brown girlhood. 

Back in the day, I also trained Omar Lye-FookMBE, the musician and actor known professionally as Omar. He has recently joined Walford Square as Avery Baker in EastEnders. 

My dedication to this craft and my students has taught me that genius, talent, and imagination are evenly distributed throughout Black and brown communities, but opportunity is not. 

Through my practice I have created a culture at Theatre Peckham where all voices are heard, valued equally, and given a creative platform. 

I am able to do this because I do not light this path alone. 

I would like to extend thanks to the thousands of Black British theatre makers who’s shoulders I stand upon. This includes Mona Hammond OBE a luminary who transitioned recently. 

I will be forever grateful to Theatre Peckham’s chair, Dr Anni Domingo for her mentoring and tutelage that makes me a more skilled and more ethical leader. 

I would also like to thank Inclusive Boards Agency for encouraging my nomination. They believe in the impact I make in the lives of young people and saw it as worthy of recognition. 

And to all the mothers, fathers and carers who trust me with their children’s creative energy, thank you. To all the young people who dedicate themselves to the artists creed, you are as talented as you are brave. I am encouraged by your passion and determination.  

Together we fight the dark narratives that seek to dim our light. 

Together we help each other become the light. 

Together we light the path for others. 

Thank you so much for being my light. 

Again, I am deeply honoured to be finalist for the BBBAwards and like Gwendolyn Brooks, I encourage you all to: 

“‘Live not for Battles Won. 
Live not for The-End-of-the-Song. 
Live in the along.'” 

Suzann McLean  
27th July 2022