One of the 4% – Notes on Existing2 min read

// Jas Nisic

// Jas Nisic

YDF24

I always weave my identity into my work whether it is my music or theatre. Since producing my own cabaret, We Need To Talk, a Jazz Cabaret, which was nominated for an OffFest award and was featured at this year’s VAULT Festival, I have found my love for connecting with an audience through storytelling through the medium of words and music. A big part of my identity is being working-class, growing up on a council estate in Harpurhey, attending a school in special measures, and despite that I was the first in my family to go to University, obtaining a First and Distinction in Maths at the University of Manchester. Coming from a low-socio economic background, money is one of the biggest barriers I have faced in my creative practice, the second being imposter syndrome. To attend the Royal Academy of Music to train in Musical Theatre, I worked as a Software Engineer, and saved every penny to afford to pay for fees as well as live in London.

It often feels that working-class artists are overlooked by the creative industry, a spotlight profile and headshot erases a lot of our struggles and hardships. A huge aspect of my aspirations is to break barriers for future working-class artists, setting up To Bee Productions and producing events that spotlights and supports underrepresented artists. A driving force for my career is to build experiences that provide a platform for me to use to keep the door open, rather than closing it. I want to incorporate mentoring and uplifting young artists within my workshops, creating an accessible and safe space to lead discussions that lead to creating a song that is authentic.

Being working-class, LGBTQIA+ and neurodiverse, I use my own experiences to guide the way I work, and whilst it may be challenging, I’m determined to use my platform to help break down imposter syndrome. I recently completed the Managing Creative Projects with Factory International, and it’s paved the way to a new career in the arts, refocusing my energy to Producing. I feel that I’ve finally found a career that incorporates my skills within Maths and Theatre-Making, allowing me to think creatively whilst also bossing spreadsheets; Producing will also allow me to support working-class theatre-makers make their work become a reality. I’m currently working with a playwright to produce an R&D for a play that tackles collisions between northern working class families and the LGBTQIA+ community, and can feel a shift happening within my creative practice.

I want to open the doors to the creative industry for young people, less than 4% of school pupils take an arts subject past year 9, and hope I can be that person to be the driving force that instils confidence into young people that they can realise their full potential and follow their dreams.

Image credit: Ryan Morrison