“I am what you would call an advocate,” says Scott Price, who has been with Leisure Networks for many years and one of the stars of Geelong’s Back to Back theatre company. “Not by choice,” he continues, “but by force, because I’ve had a lot of slurs and connotations about my autism and my behaviours.”
Scott has just come home to Geelong from touring the UK with Back to Back theatre’s play The Shadow Whose Prey the Hunter Becomes. Weaving a narrative through human rights, sexual politics, and the projected dominance of artificial intelligence, The Shadow Whose Prey the Hunter Becomes is a story that asks: “how do we come together to make decisions that are in the best interest of a civic society?” It is a play about individual and collective responsibility.
These issues are close to the surface for Scott, who explains his initial journey into the theatre.
“I joined Back to Back in 2007 – I was about 20 at the time and I was quite shaken because of all the bullying that I had at school.
“We didn’t have the NDIS back then, so a lot of people with disability were forced into employment. I fell into that category. It was like forced employment, funnily enough. Which is actually a basic human right to not have forced work.
“So, to put it in context, I went for a couple of auditions, I got a call back and they said ‘you’ve got the job’”
Scott is continuing to process and come to terms with his experience growing up with autism. It has been a bit of an awakening for him to think about other people living with disability who are facing similar issues. He gives an alarming statistic he has heard, that 75% of people living with autism have experienced bullying.
His time with Back to back and Leisure Networks have helped him mature and overcome a lot of personal challenges.
“I have a friendship group [at Back to Back], they are such an amazing group of people there
“I’ve made a lot of friends through Leisure Networks, both staff and participants. It’s been quite cool, I’ve actually made a lot of friends. I was quite amazed at how much Leisure Networks actually do.
“I first came across Leisure Networks in 2004. It was some kind of triple A, all abilities sport. The first activity I actually did was lawn bowls. It was really interesting and I thought, well this is a really good program. I’ve been doing Social Saturdays, ‘Get Active’ and camps, which I’m not sure if you still run because of COVID. Then I have big breaks, because I’m working, but I try to get along to things.
“I think probably the most fun was the snow camp. Everyone just has a good time at the snow.”
His advice to Leisure Networks is: “Just keep doing what you do. I think you guys are so culturally sound and you guys have such a good working culture so just keep doing what you’re doing and I think the next 20years will be the finest.”