'My ADHD inspired me to want help young people'
Updated: Aug 30, 2022
Charlotte Nightingale joins Purposely to share her founder story starting the Glass Ceiling Arts Collective.
The charity based in Auckland supports people from marginalised communities, especially young people with disabilities. Charlotte is the co-founder and inaugural artistic director of the inclusive arts provider, helping young people with disabilities to ‘smash the glass ceiling that has been unfairly set in the arts world’.
A teacher and actor by trade she overcame ‘crippling anxiety and a chromosome disorder’ to take roles on the stage and on television. Charlotte has a passion for inclusion and describes how her lived experience of ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) transformed her life and gave her a real purpose, ‘my diagnosis with ADHD in my thirties fuelled my passion to want to help others, it went from being a negative thing at the start of my life to bringing lots of positivity’.
She has embraced a wide-ranging career from studying, acting, teaching, retail, recruitment, and radio. Charlotte points to her ADHD as a factor in trying so many different roles and experiences. She also talks about it being a superpower, enabling her to focus intensely on the task in hand, each challenge ‘obsessed over at the time’.
As well as her own experience of ADHD she sites her family’s experience of disability, her son’s autism, and her grandparents who both had a disability and suffered bigotry because of their differences.
Born in the UK, Charlotte migrated to New Zealand in 2009 and worked as a drama teacher, she then set up her own agency directing theatre productions in local schools. Charlotte announced herself onto the New Zealand television scene with a role on 'Shortland Street', a popular medical drama, playing a high-profile defence lawyer. She also featured in a longstanding and high-profile advertising campaign for a national supermarket. On the stage she held a lead role in an adaptation of Mamma Mia.
During her time in the UK her most high-profile roles were on the UK drama ‘Eastenders’ and ‘Keen Eddie’ as well stage roles performing Shakespeare.
Charlotte launched Glass Ceiling Arts Collective with her co-founder Michael Eaglesome in early 2020 with a presentation of a new work called The Incredible and Glorious World According to The Fitzroys, as part of the Auckland Fringe Festival. The show is about a young boy with autism and was a wonderful opportunity for audiences to explore their own perception of disability. The show was a great success, and they were all delighted to win ‘Best Performance’ (Ensemble).
Charlotte has a BA Hons in Performing Arts majoring in Acting, and a Post Graduate Certificate in Education.