News: Mary McCluskey stepping down as Artistic Director of Scottish Youth Theatre

After 26 years, Mary McCluskey will be stepping down from her position as Artistic Director of Scottish Youth Theatre (SYT).

Formally of the RSC, Mary took up the role at SYT in 1992. During her tenure, SYT performed at a number of highly prestigious events including Tartan Week in New York 2008, the Cultural Olympiad in 2012, The Commonwealth Games’ Festival 2014 and The State Opening of the Scottish Parliament in 2016, in front of Her Majesty the Queen. The company also performed on the Olivier Stage at the National Theatre, London and was part of the Antigones Project at the Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford Upon Avon.

Mary’s determination to provide young people with an environment to learn and grow has provided firm foundations for actors who worked with Mary. These include Karen Gillan (Dr Who), Andrew Still (Hollyoaks), Jack Lowden (Dunkirk), Robbie Jack (Gary Tank Commander), Jamie Parker (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child), Gail Rankin (GLOW) and many more.

Mary’s achievements were formally recognised in 2002 when she was awarded the prize for Pedagogy at the Rainbow Festival in St. Petersburg, Russia and in 2015 when the University of Dundee awarded her an honorary doctorate for her contribution to theatre and her work with young people.

  SYT’s Chair, Harry Warnock said:

“Mary’s approach of looking for the best in everybody has allowed participants to explore their creativity and shine. In addition to those who have forged a career in the industry, there are many more individuals who have gone on to prosper in other careers armed with the skills they learned at SYT. On behalf of the Board and the company, I would like to thank Mary for her commitment, hard work and passion over the many years at SYT. Her legacy continues in the many young people she has worked with over three decades.”

Of her time at SYT, Mary states:

“Scottish Youth Theatre has been my passion for almost 27 years.  To me there is nothing better than seeing a young person grow in confidence, self esteem and self awareness whilst engaged in the theatre process. Thank you to my many work colleagues and to the young people I have worked with at SYT.  They have all inspired me to keep doing what I do.”

Before her departure in September, Mary has one more SYT project to complete – Tell Us Who We Are – a large scale collaborative piece, performed by participants from all the National Youth Performing Arts Companies in Scotland. Mary is directing the piece, which has been specially commissioned by Festival 2018, the cultural programme for the Glasgow 2018 European Championships.  

SYT will be marking Mary’s departure with an appropriate send off on Sunday 9 September at the SYT Venue. If you’d like to attend, send a message or contribute to a gift please email

Thank you and good luck Mary, from everyone at Scottish Youth Theatre.

26th June 2018 By Scottish Youth Theatre

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