For Marshall Stay, as for many others, the disruption of COVID-19 has “thrown a spanner in the works”. He says the scholarship will allow the time and space to focus on his career in the creative industries “I am humbled to have had this faith placed in me – it’s a very comforting feeling to know that you are believed in and supported for what you’re doing”.
When did you decide to pursue a career in acting?
I actually came into the creative industries quite late in high school, but I think I knew pretty quickly that this was where I saw myself heading long term. Initially, I thought I would actually become a film-maker, but due to a couple of ‘sliding door’ moments along the way, I’ve developed a real passion for theatre and performance.
Things are a bit topsy-turvy right now with COVID-19. What does it mean to get the news about the scholarship as this particular time?
Like many artists across Australia and the world, COVID-19 has really thrown a spanner in the works for study and employment. I am very fortunate that the course I am studying has been able to adapt to the situation without us losing too much, however, the lack of employment opportunities and financial stability meant that school fees and rent became a much larger issue. This scholarship allows me the privilege of being able to focus on my craft and continue my artistic development while knowing I won’t be caught out financially.
For me, a double edged sword of all the training I’ve done is that we are constantly encouraged to step away from our habits and try new things – however, this can sometimes lead me to neglecting the things that make me and my practice unique and special in the first place.
What does this scholarship mean to you?
More than the obvious financial benefit of the scholarship that will allow me to pursue opportunities otherwise inaccessible, I am humbled to have had this faith placed in me – it’s a very comforting feeling to know that you are believed in and supported for what you’re doing, especially at this early career stage where the future can sometimes look very intimidating.
What would be your ultimate dream career achievement?
I’ve found that each time I achieve one of my ‘dream goals’, they don’t seem as dreamlike precisely because I’ve made it to that point – and so comes the next dream goal, and the next. What I’m trying to say, is that it is always changing. Right now, I dream of being employed by one of the international companies I have looked up to and studied with over the last few years. I have specific ones in mind, but I won’t say it here (don’t want to jinx it).
Do you have a word of advice for other young people pursuing a career in acting?
I feel as though I am far too early in my own to be advising anyone on their artistic careers, but I have been wrestling a lot lately with my artistic identity. For me, a double edged sword of all the training I’ve done is that we are constantly encouraged to step away from our habits and try new things – however, this can sometimes lead me to neglecting the things that make me and my practice unique and special in the first place. The infinitely wise Stacy Makishi gave me some advice on this: of course, try new things and extend yourself or you won’t grow – but always know you have your ‘greatest hits’ album in your pocket. These are the things that got you where you are, and you shouldn’t ever feel like you need to push them away.
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