On the Couch with Cameron Bajraktarevic-Hayward

CAMERON BAJRAKTAREVIC-HAYWARD AAR On the CouchWho is Cameron Bajraktarevic-Hayward?
I am a nonbinary performer usually based in Naarm but very excited to be back in my home city to make my Hayes debut!

What would you do differently from what you do now?
If this means instead of being a performer, it’s one of three things: human rights law, directing/producing or living in a cottage with lots of books, a big garden and SO many cats!

Who inspires you and why?
As an actor, Debra Lawrence, who I’ve had the honour of sharing the stage with, has been a huge source of guidance and inspiration. Her commitment to her craft and her willingness to share her depth of knowledge has always been incredibly inspiring to me.

As a person? It’s pretty cliche but truly my Mum. She is probably the single most inspiring person I know. She came here as a refugee leaving her life in Bosnia behind, her promising career in Astro-physics behind and instead retrained as a social worker and now has dedicated her life to providing support for other refugees and asylum seekers for the last 25 years. The way she has committed so much of herself to helping others makes me the proudest kid ever.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I think when I’m older, I’d love to produce theatre or be an artistic director of a theatre company with the sole intention of lifting up others and helping them tell their stories. I am a very privileged person and I would love to help create space from a position such as that for work by diverse and emerging playwrights, directors and performers to tell their stories.

Specifically I’d love to help produce theatre work with refugee communities, creating a collaborative space in which group healing and sharing of stories can lead to something magical. A show that honestly changed my life was The Baulkham Hills African Ladies Troupe, where four women who fled their countries as refugees came together with actors and musicians to create a work that told their stories on the stage.

They performed themselves but to ensure mental and emotional safety for them the process took months and every actor on stage could step into one of their roles if needed. I remember being I think 14 when I saw this masterful piece of theatre and thought ‘If I could be so lucky as to be involved in work like that I would be happy with my life’.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
In Australia, probably the Snowy Mountains during summer. It’s so quiet and the hikes are so peaceful and beautiful. Otherwise, my favourite place I’ve been overseas would hands down be London. Gosh I LOVE the cold!!

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to and why?
If I’m here on Gadigal land probably somewhere in nature like the Blue Mountains or the Sydney Harbour National Park. Why not soak in all the natural beauty of the land!! I would FORCE them on a little hike even if they grumbled!!

What are you currently reading?
I’ve been re-reading Little Women of course which just feels like the warmest hug. But I’m about to start the Bee Sting!

What are you currently listening to?
Yebba, Sammy Rae and the Friends, and Beyoncé are on repeat. ALWAYS!

Happiness is?
I think true happiness feels like your heart has opened gently to the world. It’s peace.

What does the future hold for you?
Well, following Little Women, I’ll be making my Melbourne Theatre Company debut in My Brilliant Career which is the last show in their 2024 season! I’m incredibly grateful for the whole team and cast involved.

Cameron can be seen in Little Women – which will be presented by Joshua Robson Productions at the Hayes Theatre Co from 12 July 2024. For more information, visit: www.hayestheatre.com.au for details.

Image: Cameron Bajraktarevic-Hayward (supplied)