James Padley (CC2008) will be a familiar face to those who attended Cornish in the early 2000s, remembered for his leading role in the 2005 secondary musical ‘Man of Steel’, talent for public speaking, service on numerous student councils, and time as Head Boy of the campus in 2006. James has continued to inspire others and pursue the performing arts in a wide-ranging, international career:

It has proved an interesting task to reflect upon my career to date, given that it has not necessarily followed a linear trajectory. After finishing my VCE in 2008, I studied a Bachelor of Music Theatre at the Victorian College of the Arts, graduating in 2011. Following that, I travelled internationally as a performer for Life Like Touring’s theatrical production of the beloved ‘Peppa Pig’ franchise, as well as the odd performance during Fringe and Comedy festivals.

Much of my success has come from various voice-over roles for clients including Monash University, Specsavers, Simonds Homes, and others. I hosted ‘The Breakfast Show’ on Kiss 87.6 FM from 2019 to 2021, and currently provide the voice over for ‘Live from St Kilda with Ben Murphy’ on Foxtel and Channel 31 – the latter for which I also serve as a writer and camera operator.

When I jot down these accomplishments, it all sounds quite glamorous and busy, but the truth is that the arts is a punishing industry with jobs often appearing few and far between. To compensate, I have spent the past eight years as a Team Leader and Senior Presenter at Elevate Education. This is a position that asks me to deliver engaging, funny, and interactive seminars to students, parents, and staff across a diverse range of schools.
I never expected to pursue such a career, yet have found it to be incredibly rewarding and one that has provided amazing opportunities to live and work in both the UK and across Asia for extended periods. At all times, my goal has been to help students improve their study habits and mindset towards school.

Given recent challenges owing to the pandemic, I have decided to return to university to complete a Master of Media at RMIT University. It is my hope that additional knowledge of the media industry will enable me to ‘pivot’ into a somewhat more consistent full-time role whilst creating my own work outside of standard hours.

For soon-to-be Cornish graduates seeking a career in performance and creative industries, do not be disheartened if things evolve more slowly than you had hoped; you must be willing to play the ‘long game’ and work a variety of jobs – not all of them particularly glamorous. On the plus side, you can broaden your knowledge and perhaps even discover things that bring you joy in unexpected places. I find it hard to envision what my career might look like next year, let alone five or ten, but that is ‘the nature of the beast’. As long as I am playing a role in the creation or telling of stories, then I will be happy.