BAFTA winner Bukky Bakray ‘will continue to grow’ says her theatre coach

Lizzie Edmonds
·2-min read
 (via REUTERS)
(via REUTERS)

The theatre coach of EE Bafta rising star winner Bukky Bakray has said the teen star was “humble” following her win and continued to want to "improve herself as an actress” despite her success.

Suzann McLean is the CEO & Artistic Director of Theatre Peckham - where east Londoner Bakray, 18, is currently studying the Originate Actor Training course.

Star Wars actor John Boyega, 29, started acting as a child at the same theatre.

McLean spoke to the Standard after her pupil Bakray took home the EE Rising Star Award at an all star 74th Bafta Awards.

She is known for the film Rocks - about two east London teenagers left to fend for themselves when their mother abandons them - which is Bakray’s first professional acting role.

For her portrayal of 15-year-oldShola “Rocks” Omotoso, she was also nominated the leading actress Bafta, alongside Frances McDormand and Vanessa Kirby.

Bukky BakrayPA
Bukky BakrayPA

Rising Star has previously been won by Kristen Stewart and Boyega himself.

Bakray has received a Critics’ Circle Film award for her role in the movie, which was directed by Sarah Gavron, who was behind 2015 film Suffragette.

Bakray is currently juggling her A-Levels with various filming projects - and the Originate Actor Training course, which is run in partnership with RADA and Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

When asked how Bakray was as a young actress and how she would be accepting her prize, McClean said: “She is so humble. And really wanting to learn. When you go and win a Bafta it can give you the opportunity to think that is all the learning that there is. She is not in that space at all.

“Bukky really wants to build herself as an actress, so she wanted to take this course so she could continue to grow and learn.”

She said Bukky’s win - and the success of actors like Boyega - was proof of how necessary grass roots organisations like hers were to the British arts scene and to young people generally.

She said: “Places like Theatre Peckham that is so grass roots - are important in that they tell people to be who they are, and teach them to be their authentic self. Bukky’s acceptance speech, she was just her. And that is what I want young people to understand. [She is proof that] this industry is really tricky to get into, but actually you don’t have to change yourself to be in the industry.”

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