Pushing through for more disabled Australians to work both on screen and behind the scenes
Posted on: Thu 18 May 2023
Growing up can be unbearable, complex and stressful for many young people, but it can prove to be much more intolerable for those who live with a disability or impairment. Wanting to watch someone who identifies just like them on their favourite television program or film is another deposition that many unfortunately aren’t making headway with, as the Australian screen industry remains glaringly underrepresented when it comes to addressing limited career opportunities for disabled screen practitioners, including actors, writers and directors.
Increasing the number of disabled people hired, recruited and casted into roles and/or positions both on screen and behind the scenes is what Oli Pizzey Stratford, a young actor, model, disability advocate and public speaker from the south-east Melbourne surburb of East Brighton, believes is possible. Pizzey Stratford, who was born with a spinal cord injury resulting in quadriplegia, is adamant that those who are disabled can absolutely become involved and should be given the chance to persue their dreams albeit in a very tough and competitive environment.
Pizzey Stratford recounts on his own emerging career in the industry with De-Stigmatised‘s Jarad McLoughlin, where he recollects on his breakout role as Josh in The Legend of Burnout Barry, what it felt like portraying Zane Wozniak on Neighbours and why he thinks that diversity quotas might have a negative impact on the legitimacy in how disabled characters are conceptualised, developed and perceived by audiences who watch them.
Produced by Jarad McLoughlin
Photo courtesy of Oli Pizzey Stratford