Scots actress with Down’s Syndrome lands dream role in moving play

Abigail Brydon plays the leading role in Downs with Love, which challenges perceptions about disability and relationships.

An actress with Down’s Syndrome has taken on the starring role in a powerful play about love and diversity.

Abigail Brydon, 28, is leading the cast of Down’s with Love as it goes on a 14-venue tour of Scotland.

Abigail plays Beth, a confident young woman who falls in love with local singer Mark in her pub. But Mark is already falling for Beth’s support worker Tracey, leaving them in an awkward love triangle.

Downs With Love challenges society’s perceptions of what is considered socially acceptable when it comes to disabled people pursuing a relationship.

Abigail, who studied acting at Fife College in Dunfermline, worked with Cutting Edge Theatre to incorporate some of her own life experiences into the script.

She told STV News: “Parts of the show are based on my experience. One of them is being discriminated against. It makes me upset and makes me feel like people are judging me.

“It’s important to show people what it’s like for someone with a disability because the same things might happen to other people.”

But despite some emotional scenes, Abigail wants the audience to come away from the show feeling uplifted.

Abigail has always wanted to be an actress and landed the dream job after joining the INSPIRE programme, created by Cutting Edge Theatre to offer drama training to young disabled adults.

Talking about her inspiring message to others, she said: “Don’t give up be yourself and forget what other people think about you.”

The show is now on a three-week tour during Down’s Syndrome Awareness Month.

Explaining why she created the show, writer and director Suzanne Lofthus said: “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?

“If we were to see somebody who is a disabled person walking down the street hand in hand, romantically involved and loving and kissing somebody who is not disabled. Why do we as a society struggle with that?

“We know we shouldn’t, but we do and so it’s just simply asking that question ‘why’?”

Downs With Love includes integrated BSL interpretation in every performance with actor and BSL interpreter Rachel Amey joining the cast to play Julie, Beth’s confidant.

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