JULIA Hales is bringing her story to the stage to show the world what a woman with Down syndrome can achieve.
The 37-year-old Subiaco actor is an important voice and leader of her community.
She lives independently and has completed studies at Tafe and WAAPA.
Hales is even in talks with producers of her favourite TV drama, Home and Away, to make an appearance on the show and fulfil a lifelong ambition.
But her proudest moment is now as she gears up to perform her first production at Black Swan State Theatre Company for Perth Festival.
Dedicated to her late mother, You Know We Belong Together is an uplifting look at love, relationships, acceptance and belonging.
“Mum passed away two years ago – I really loved her and she loved me: she did everything for me,” Hales said.
“It was really nice to have a mother figure but now that she isn’t here, I have to do stuff on my own.
“I’ve learned so much from her and that’s why I want to keep that love going and that’s how I got started in this play.
“All Mum ever wanted for me was to make my dreams come true – she pushed me to TAFE and into my apartment.”
The play, a collaborative work of Black Swan, Perth Festival and DADAA, also focuses on the complexity and history of Down syndrome and reveals a community rarely seen on stage.
“About 300 years ago, when they didn’t have any research, they thought most of us with Down syndrome couldn’t handle things,” Hales said.
“We used to get locked up back then – luckily I was born after that.
“The whole play is about being together and the feeling of love and also belonging. We all belong – people with different kinds of disabilities and families and friends, we all belong in the one world.”
What: You Know We Belong Together
When: March 1-4
Where: Studio Underground, State Theatre Centre