Kerri McLean is a British Actress, director, producer and audio producer, she is the youngest of two siblings. Her father is Jamaican and her mother is English of Flemish and Welsh ancestry. She has one son. Kerri is best known for playing the roles of Catherine Despard in BBC's Poldark, Gayle in The Ritual, and Josephine in Small Island. Kerri won the 'Overall Excellence Award' at The New York Festival Fringe 2013 for her production of Kemble's Riot, and she won The Theatre Madness Writer/Director Award and Audience Choice Award for her play 'Reality Check in 2016.
From a young age Kerri had a driving energy and passion for drama, taking part in school plays throughout her early education, she went on to study Drama, Media Studies and Art at A-Level at Josiah Mason College, Birmingham where she played Lucius in the college's production of Shakespeare's' Titus Andronicus. She then went on to play Aaron in the same play which performed at Bosnia's Mostar Puppet Theatre in 1997.
1998 Kerri moved to London and undertook a BA Honours Modern Drama Degree at London's' Brunel University. During this time Kerri was Djing under the name Queen B in nightclubs and parties in London, playing drum and bass and soul and funk music, a keen songwriter and singer, Kerri collaborated with various producers and for a short time sang with the band Fourth Island performing at a few gigs including The ICA.
After graduating Kerri moved back to Birmingham for 18-months and undertook a Teacher/Actor traineeships with Language Alive theatre in education Company. She also performed with Theatre for Science T.I.E Company. Kerri joined Magnet co-op acting agency and started her screen and theatre acting career as well as helping out in the agents' office. Kerri worked regularly in theatre and was regularly involved in performing new writing development at The Birmingham REP theatres writing studio 'The Door'. During this period Kerri also performed at Glastonbury Festival Theatre Field and GHAOS Festivals.
2001 Kerri secured her first agent London agent and appeared in various screen productions including playing Gill Deaking in BBC Doctors 2002, Rachel in BBC's Holby City 2004, Jemma in Eastenders 2004, Young Lifer in BBC's Cherished 2004, Tracey Maduro in BBC's Doctors 2006, Danni Wilson in BBC's Casualty, Jospephine in BBC and Ruby Films' Small Island 2009, Chloe in ITV's Identity 2009, Gameshow Girl in Channel 4's Comedy Roasts 2010, DC Gemma Beckett in Doctors 2012, Duty Solicitor in ITV's Unforgotten 2015.
On stage Kerri played Danni Mann in Office Rocker 2001, Callisto in Prospero's Island at Wolverhampton Theatre, Tanya George in In Session directed by Mike Adwali at The Crescent Theatre, Silence in Silence at The Birmingham REP 2004 directed by Tyrone Huggins, Joan in This Way for The Gas directed by Guy Picot 2007, Sula in Positive at The Birmingham REP directed by Kwong Loke, Storyteller in The Parkers at The ICA in 2012, Storyteller in Memories of Mermiads at The Aldeburgh Festival directed by Annie Blaber 2012, Storyteller in Mandela Tales at The Southbank Centre directed by Shirley Thompson 2012, Rosa Lee in Memories of Mermaids at The Brighton Dome Studio, Bernie Grant Arts Centre and Library Club self-directed 2012 & 2014 and Carrie Baker in Josepine Baker at The Egg Theatre directed by Jessee Britton in 2016.
Kerri set up her theatre company 'Rolemop Arts Ltd' in 2006 where she was Artistic Director, developed and delivered various productions as producer, director and audio producer. Her first production with Rolemop was A Fine Line Between Laughter and Loathing written by Alex Buckley which was programmed in The Brighton Festival 2006 for a one-week run starring James Wiesz, Mina Meene, Adam Lavis, Jon Armstrong, Sally Best, Victoria Grove, Henry Martin, and Briony Bream.Paula Ball. Alex Buckley's comical script fused live music from Bosnian folk band Mysenka headed by musician Will Hood, with contemporary recorded music.
Kerri went on to direct and produce a noir inspired adaptation of Joseph Conrad's The Secret Agent written by Jon Armstrong and Jenny Porteous starring Claire Wilkie as Winnie, David Chittenden as Vladimir, Albert Clack as Verloc, and Seth Morgan as Stevie with performances at The Theatre Royal Margate during The Canterbury Festival, Pavilion Theatre, and The Northbrook Theatre. The production was supported by The Joseph Conrad Society and Brighton Dome.
Kerri produced and directed a further touring production of The Secret Agent, she co-produced with The Greenwich Theatre and The Yvonne Arnaud Theatre in 2008 at The Gulbenkian Theatre, Canterbury 1st October, Greenwich Theatre 2nd, 3rd, 4th (matinee and evening) October, The Oxford Playhouse 6th, 7th, 8th October, The Sallis Benney Theatre, Brighton 13th, 14th October, Quay Arts, Isle of Wight 21st October, Reading Arts 22nd, 23rd October, Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford 30th, 31st October and 1st (matinee and evening) November. Starring Dave Mounfield as Adolf Verloc/Heat, multiple award-winning writer and performer, Seth Morgan as Professor/Stevie, Heather Urquart as Winnie, Ian Shaw as Assistant Commissioner/Vladimir
2008-2010 Kerri studied a Masters Degree in Music Technology at The University of Westminster and went on to engineer various gigs, record and produce bands and musicians including Maestra Ponciano's Capoeira album, Seany Clarke, Honey Pine Dresser and created sound designs for short films including I AM Thou by Andy Mustle-Castle. Kerri continues to undertake sound and recording projects, and is particularly interested in the areas where drama and sound meet.
In 2011 Kerri developed theatre play Snakes and Ladders with BBC Radio drama writer Sarah Naomi-Lee which harnessed an audio archive of black people talking about their relationship with their hair a new theatre production starring Monica-Akila Richards, Irene Mensah, Sheila Auguste and Jodi Stelzer. Kerri created sound designs to accompany the performance and collaborated with Royal Philharmonic composer Shirley Thompson for performances on 21st October, Sallis Benney, 25th November 2011 Snakes and Ladders was performed at The Pavilion Theatre Brighton, 22nd October The Basement, Brighton, 30th November Hove Town Hall as part of Black History Month, and 25th November Pavilion Theatre. Other guest performers included spoken word poet Zena Edwards and composer Shirley Thompson.
In 2009-2011 Kerri developed immersive multi-media theatre piece Broken Loops with writer Alex Buckley, Kerri directed, produced and sound designed the production for performances at Workshop44 and a 1-week run at The Vault Festival 2012 at London's Old Vic Tunnels.
Kerri continued to develop ' and in 2013 Rolemop Co-Produced with Plenty Productions for script development session and performances of the new work at The Soho Theatre and Brighton's Nightingale Theatre which Kerri Directed starring Linda Jean-Pierre, Debra Micheals, Nicola Blackman, Allyson Eva Brown.
2013 Kerri directed and sound designed Glimmers, written by Alex Buckley, for the Brighton Digital Festival 2013, an interactive storytelling meets sites-specific drama meets adventure treasure hunt using an iphone app. Launched during The Brighton Digital Festival 2013, partnered with app developer Ecolocator for a sites-specific outdoor audio drama starring Guy Masterson and Dave Moundfield.
2012 Kerri Co-produced writer Adrian Bunting's play Kemble's Riot with a month run at The Edinburgh Festival at The Pleasence starring Richard Hansell, Jacquline Roberts, Steve North,
2013 saw Kerri take Kemble's Riot into the New York International Fringe Festival which she produced and directed. The work performed at The Players Theatre (Off-broadway New York) MacDougal Street for a 1-week run starring Olivier Award winning Guy Masterson & The Stage Best Actress award winner Beth Fitzgerald alongside New York comics Marla Schultz and Matt Baetz. The production was well received receiving 5 star reviews from New York Times and Time Out New York, and winner of 'Overall Excellence Award' Fringe New York 2013.
2014 saw Kerri and The Rolemop Team co-produce with Plenty Productions the Snakes and Ladders 2014 Tour for a bold and powerful darkly comic drama about race, identity and the testing of family loyalties partly inspired by real life stories and memoires collected from black hairdressers in the South East of the UK. Starring Cathy Tyson (BAFTA & Golden Globe nominee) Simone - Nicola Blackman (Olivier Award nominee), Sista - Janet Kumah, Kittten - Allyson Eva-Brown. Performing at Fairfields Halls, Croydon - 10th & 11th April, The Brighton Dome Studio, Brighton - 19th & 20th April, The Hawth, Crawley - 21st & 22nd April, The Marlowe Studio Theatre, Canterbury - 24th April, Bernie Grants Arts, Tottenham London - 25th & 26th April, LOST Theatre, Stockwell, London - 29th & 30th April, The Broadway, Illford - 2nd May, The Arcola Theatre, London - 3rd May.
In 2012 Kerri started work on a new storytelling production entitled Memories of Mermaids which she wrote and performed at The Aldeburgh Festival, she developed the work into a longer show with performances at The Brighton Dome Studio during Black History Month. 2014 saw Kerri receive an individual award from Arts Council England to develop the work into a full length script. The work played at The Brighton Dome, London's Library Club and at Bernie Grant Arts Centre during 2014's Black History Month. Kerri wrote performed and directed the performances and wrote songs and was accompanied by jazz musician Byron Wallen and guitarist Jack Ross. 2015 Kerri created and delivered a sound design for She Called Me Mother tour with Pitch Lake Productions with Tara Arts for Black Theatre Live presents a new play, 'She Called Me Mother' by Michelle Inniss, starring Cathy Tyson & Chereen Buckley, directed by Cara Nolan.
The piece undertook two tours;
2015 - Stratford Circus Arts Centre, Lighthouse, Upstairs at Western, Theatre Royal Margate, Vivacity Key Theatre Peterborough, Bickerton Village Hall, Unity Theatre, Brunel University, Derby Theatre, Belgrade Theatre Coventry, Theatre Royal Bury St Edmonds, The Lowry Arts and Entertainment, The Witham, Queens Hall Arts. 2017 - Bernie Grant Arts Centre 26th-28th January and Tara Theatre 7-11th February.
2016 onwards Kerri took on further TV and Film acting roles playing Midwife in Big Talks Production of Bliss directed by David Cross 2016, Paramedic in New Pictures and BBC's Rellik directed by Hans Herbot 2017, Jill Two in Channel 4Crazy Diamond, Electric Dreams directed by Marc Munden 2017, Stewardess in Sky's Bounty Hunter directed by Will Sinclair 2017, Surveillance Officer in BBC's Bodyguard directed by John Strickland. She took film roles in Imaginarium's The Ritual playing Gayle in 2016 The Ritual directed by David Bruckner, and DC Richardson in Bruno in 2017 directed by Karl Golden.
Most recently Kerri played the historical figure of Catherine Despard in BBC's Poldark directed by Sallie Apahamian and Justin Molotnikov which airs in July 2019.
2016 saw Kerri enter Faith Drama's Theatre Madness writer-director competition with her short play Reality Check which was performed at The Stratford Circus Theatre. The piece won 'The Audience Choice Award' and 'The Theatre Madness Award' and Kerri was awarded her first writing commission. Kerri completed the 3rd draft of her new play in 2018 currently entitled 'Sense of Self' which is being considered by Faith Drama for programming for their 2020 season which Kerri is set to direct. Kerri continues to write and has several completed three screenplays which are currently in development.
2017 Kerri directed promotion films for The Strand production Company and directed Formula1 Drivers (Lewis Hamilton, Daniel Ricciardo, Max Ferstappen, Carlos Sainz, Kevin Magnussen, Romain Grosjean, Lance Stroll, Valterri Bottas, Segio Perez, Marcus Erikson, Pascal Wehrlein, Fernando Alonso, Stoffel Vandoorne, Nico Hulkenberg, Estaban Ocan, Kyat Danil) for individual title sequences and promo films which were shown during the F1 opening ceremony and broadcast during TV coverage around the world. 2018 during Barcelona testing where she directed all the drivers for individual titles sequence films. Most recently in 2019 Kerri directed the Mercedes Team (Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas) in Banbury UK, she then went to Barcelona testing in Jan/Feb and directed all the F1 drivers for F1 title sequences and promo films for worldwide broadcast.