Finding meaningful employment can be tough, especially if you have a disability. But for me it comes down to three things - purpose, passion and people. Allow me to explain….
First, purpose: Find out what you really want to do and go after it. I’ve been a member of Rozelle Neighbourhood Centre’s Ever After Theatre Company since 2014, when I wrote for and performed in the production ‘Social Network Stories’ at Carriageworks. I’ve always been fascinated with the theatre-making process as a member of the audience but felt that my disability would get in the way. So to be on the other side of that process felt amazing. After that I couldn’t get enough. Not only did I continue working with Ever After on a number of great projects (including co-writing my first show), I used the connections I made there to develop my own work, including my first short film ‘I Am Not A Work Of Art’ [see link
Next, passion.This is about enjoying what you do, as well as not letting other people talk you out of it. My mother is my biggest supporter but when I told her I wanted to be a performer she said I should focus on my strengths in other areas. But performing meant so much to me, and so I kept going. I’m glad I did too, because now I’ve found work I love. Something else to keep in mind is that once you have some experience under your belt not to be afraid of asking for payment. Your work deserves to be valued.
Last but certainly not least, people. It’s extremely important to nurture good professional relationships. I wouldn’t be where I am today without a number of great mentors, particularly from Rozelle Neighbourhood Centre, the Australian Chamber Orchestra and Youngcare
Australia but also many others. Building relationships with people who believe wholeheartedly in your abilities can help you achieve your fullest potential, offer guidance on the shape of your career, troubleshoot any problems you may face, and give you a larger pool of resources to draw from for employment
into the future. Never underestimate this. Find these people, acknowledge them and cherish them.
Emily Dash is writer, actor and speaker working across theatre and film. She has created twoshort films, “I Am Not A Work Of Art” and “The Cards I’m Dealt”. Her recenttheatre credits include “Connect” for Red Door Arts and “Water Angel” for CanYou See Me? Theatre. She is also the Policy and Submissions Consultant forYoungcare Australia. You can also find her on Facebook www.facebook.com/EmilyDashWriterActorSpeaker and Twitter @EmilyDash2