This month, Scottish acting troupe Cutting Edge Theatre is touring the country with a new production that features a young woman with Down syndrome in the lead role.
Titled “Downs with Love,” the play tells the story of a girl named Beth, who falls for a local musician before realizing that he has developed feelings for her support worker. This season, Beth is played by a 28-year-old actress named Abigail Byrdon, who is using her own life experiences to add realism and depth to the character:
“Parts of the show are based on my experience. It’s important to show people what it’s like for someone with a disability because the same things might happen to other people.”
When discussing her vision for the play, playwright Suzanne Lofthus shared that she wants to help the arts better represent the real world:
“I want to challenge perceptions about disability. Can we accept a couple, one of whom has a disability and one does not, and if not, why does that make us uncomfortable? …
We need to see more positive representation of learning-disabled people on our stages and screens – but we can’t just talk about it, we have to do it.
Abigail… [is] out there doing just that, telling a real-life story, challenging the audience about their perceptions and also showing the world what [she] can do.”
If you’re interested in learning more about the program or want to see a trailer for the show, you can visit Cutting Edge’s website here.