A University of Northampton drama graduate is helping to lead the fight against prejudice in schools and the acting industry.
Dan Edge, a wheelchair-using wrestler and star of a national television ad campaign has enjoyed a varied career since graduating from the University a decade ago.
Since graduating he has had parts on stage and screen, modelling shoots, an appearance in the 2012 Paralympic Games opening ceremony – while also enjoying a dual role as a wrestling promoter and professional fighter.
Dan, who has cerebral palsy, fights for the rights of acting union Equity’s deaf and disabled members – and has just secured a role with charity Scope, which sees him visit schools to bust the myths surrounding disability.
While his drive, determination and talent has given him a spread of work, Dan has said the importance of the University in helping to set him on his amazing career path.
Dan’s career took off almost immediately after graduating – which is perhaps the only thing his University tutors got wrong.
He said: “It was drummed into us that you should never expect to get the first job that you go for, but lo and behold, I actually did get it.
“I’d say I’ve been very fortunate over the years, employment-wise.
“Acting can be very hit and miss, with long periods of waiting for that next job, but I managed to pick up an agent very quickly after leaving uni, and they found a role for disabled performers and I got it.
“It might have only been a corporate video, but it was good fun and gave me great experience.”
Dan feels having a disability has helped him to land some roles.
He added: “To an extent, being disabled opens up opportunities that others wouldn’t be considered for, but by the same token, I also don’t get considered for roles because I use a wheelchair.
“This is something that I am working on with Equity, to try and change the way the industry works.
“As a member of its Deaf & Disabled Members Committee, I help actors who have experienced prejudice, run campaigns, raise awareness of the issues and lobby politicians for change.
“Change has been slow and there is still a long way to go, for actors and off-camera.”