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Bachelor of Arts majoring in drama and literature
Currently working for:
I'm self-employed; I have my own consulting and entertainment business, Trent McCarthy & Associates. I'm also a Local Councillor at Darebin Council.
How long have you been working for this organisation?
I started my own business in 2002, in partnership with another Deakin graduate. I was elected to Darebin Council in 2008.
Position title and short job description:
I have three job titles (and possibly three personalities):
Comedian / Director: I write, perform, direct, produce and promote comedy and theatre, often with a social justice edge. I've staged shows in the Comedy Festival and Fringe Festival over the past few years, as well as touring to regional festivals and venues. I also create theatre and special events for businesses and organisations, as well as emceeing and performing.
Consultant / Facilitator: I develop and facilitate social and environmental leadership projects for governments, businesses and community organisations. This work is mostly creative, encouraging people to approach their challenges from new perspectives and communicate their ideas with confidence and clarity.
Local Councillor: I'm one of nine Councillors at the City of Darebin and I represent the interests of residents and traders in the Northcote/Thornbury/Fairfield area. I'm the first and only Greens member elected at Darebin. As Councillors, we set the direction and policies for the organisation and oversee a budget of over $100 million, so it's a great opportunity to have a positive impact on the local community.
Working highlight so far:
Over the past four years I've led a team of actors, comedians and volunteers to raise $935,000 for Whitelion, a great organisation that works with young people in state care and the juvenile justice system. We put together an interactive theatrical event called the 'Bailout', which sees us dress as police, lawyers and judges and lock up over 100 businesses leaders in the Old City Watch House. These 'crooks' must then raise their 'bail' to be released. Although we all do this event voluntarily, it's by far the most rewarding professional experience I've had because it's all about using theatre as a tool to inspire the most powerful people in our society to support the least powerful.
I also recently met Wangari Maathai, the founder of the Green Belt movement and the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize. That was a buzz!
What are the things you enjoy most about your job?
I'm pretty lucky I reckon - every day I get to use the skills I learnt at uni - developing ideas into action, working collaboratively and creatively. I also get to meet people from all walks of life. One minute I might be addressing a room full of political heavyweights and the next minute I'm running a comedy workshop for young people from refugee backgrounds, so it's always interesting and I'm always learning new things.
An area in which you have needed assistance:
Planning my creative projects and getting the basics right - sometimes the things you least enjoy can make the real difference in the long run. Simply asking for help is the other big challenge.
What do you intend to do in the future?
I'm currently preparing to take a new theatrical comedy show on tour in Melbourne and then regional Victoria. I'm also writing a book, but that'll take a while, I expect...
#1 tip for current students studying your course:
Get involved in the arts industry / community while you're still studying and take full advantage of all the great resources you have available to you right now. Figure out what you want, go after it and create your own luck. You don't need anyone's permission to succeed, but you do need to back yourself 100%. Enjoy the ride.