Maxine Peake: Headline Speaker

ASFF is delighted to announce that British actress Maxine Peake will be joining the festival’s industry masterclass programme to discuss her unique career in television and film.

Maxine Peake began acting in her teenage years, joining the Octagon Youth Theatre in Bolton before enjoying a spell at the youth theatre of the Royal Exchange in Manchester. She later studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, where she was awarded the Patricia Rothermere Scholarship. Her efforts to find sponsorship to study at the renowned drama school were even the subject of a 1996 documentary by The South Bank Show.

Her early forays into television included a recurring role as Twinkle in the popular sitcom Dinnerladies. She later starred in Channel 4’s award-winning Shameless, from celebrated writer Paul Abbott. During this time, she also gained critical acclaim for her role as Moors murderer Myra Hindley in See No Evil: The Moors Murders, co-starring with Sean Harris.

Peake has twice been nominated for a BAFTA for Best Actress, initially for her role in Hancock & Joan (2008), in which she played Joan Le Mesurier opposite Ken Stott as iconic comedian Tony Hancock. She followed that with a second nomination for Peter Moffat’s series The Village (2013).

On film, Peake featured in the stellar British ensemble for Red Riding: The Year of Our Lord 1980, one of three films adapted from the books by David Peace. She reunited with her Red Riding director, James Marsh, on his Stephen Hawking drama The Theory of Everything, which was nominated for five Oscars. In 2017, she took the lead in Funny Cow to huge acclaim, playing a stand-up comedian. A year later, she collaborated with Mike Leigh in Peterloo, his drama about the Peterloo Massacre. Peake has also ventured behind the camera, directing two shorts: Shattered (2017) and Time Away (2018), and the BBC4 documentary The Last Testament of Lilian Bilocca, telling the true story of the eponymous activist, the leader of the so-called ‘headscarf revolutionaries’ who campaigned for improved safety in the fishing industry.

Peake was most recently seen in the hugely-acclaimed BBC production of Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads – as Miss Fozzard, the role originally played by Patricia Routledge – and on the big screen in Thomas Clay’s much-admired period tale Fanny Lye Deliver’d. She has also narrated Transmissions: The Definitive Story, an eight-episode podcast about the history of seminal Manchester bands Joy Division and New Order, which launches on October 29.

For ASFF’s essential masterclass (4 November, 14:00), Peake will be accompanied by award-winning producer Mia Bays (Scott Walker: 30 Century Man, Six Shooter), as she reveals the inspirations and choices that have led to her remarkable body-of-work.

Unlimited Screening Passes, Week Passes, 24-Hour Passes and Film Only Passes are available. Prices start from £25 and cover an entire household. To book your ticket, visit

1. Still from The Theory of Everything, dir. James Marsh.

2. Still from Black Mirror – Metalhead dir. David Slade.
3. Maxine Peake ©.