One could call David Page a jack of all trades. As an accomplished actor, composer and writer he’s carved quite a niche for himself in Australia’s creative scene. He’s composed for ABC, SBS, a swag of short films, Bangarra Dance Theatre, The Australian Ballet, the Sydney Olympic Games and more recently the Melbourne Commonwealth Games. As an actor he’s appeared in countless productions since 1987, and his one man, autobiographical show ‘Page 8’ toured nationally and internationally to great acclaim.
So how does he feel being named one of the most influential gay Australians? “Well, you don’t usually think of being in that position when you’re just doing what you’re doing. I love my work, I love what I do.”
Since 1995, David has received four Deadly Sound Awards, an ARIA nomination in 1996 and was given the first Indigenous Artist Award for The Sidney Myer Foundation in 2000. David says that while such accolades aren’t the things that drive him, they do remind him that people are watching. “It’s funny, you look for inspiration from other peers - I know I did when I first got into this sort of work, so I suppose now it’s my turn. I’m willing to pass my knowledge onto the younger generation. That’s what we do, it’s part of our culture - we tell stories, especially in this field of work. It’s just a natural thing.”
When asked about the role models who have influenced him throughout his career, David says there are too many to count. “They vary. I don’t like pinpointing certain people, because there are lots of them. I guess I’m influenced by anybody who goes out there and does it for themselves in a really honest way. They have to be real, none of this climbing the ladder stuff. They have to be people who give something back. I look at Kath Walker, I look at Bob Maza, I look at Lydia Miller.”
When it comes to career highlights so far, David says that performing his one man show, ‘Page 8’ is definitely up there. “I toured it, went to Belvoir, Opera House, Melbourne, New Zealand, regional, national, I went to England for seven weeks. It was hard work, but it was also pretty special in terms of getting out there on your own and challenging yourself as an artist, telling a story about your own life – sharing it, exposing it. It was like coming out again – to a lot of people!” he laughs. “That was definitely a highlight, that and working with Bangarra, that’s also been great.”
At the moment David’s writing a film inspired by ‘Page 8’ with Louis Nowra and his brother Stephen. “It’s all about going home and looking after my godparents who have dementia. I’m in a little town and the only gay person – the only gay in the village. It’s a really great story – the character goes back in time because of the dementia, because of that disease of memory, and learns a lot about himself.”
By Christian Taylor
The Same Same 25 is an annual celebration of the 25 Most Influential Gay and Lesbian Australians. They are publicly nominated, and chosen by a panel of community leaders.
For the past two years, the announcement of the 25 Most Influential Gay and Lesbian Australians has attracted widespread national media attention and focused on the achievements and influence of a varied and inspirational group of people.