Sisters challenge stereotypes about Down's syndrome in Fringe show

Emily Potter and her sister Sophie have written a play celebrating what life can be like 'with an extra sparkly chromosome'.

Two sisters are challenging stereotypes about Down’s syndrome in a series of shows at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe this weekend. 

Sophie Potter, who lives with the condition, and her younger sister Emily have written a play inspired by their childhood in Hull, saying it celebrates what life can be like “with an extra sparkly chromosome”. 

Emily, who runs Down the Lens, an organisation that runs theatre workshops with people with learning disabilities, told STV News: “Sophie’s my older sister so [the show] is all about my experiences of growing up with someone who has a learning disability, who lives with Down’s syndrome.

“It’s all about fun times, the not so fun times, but I guess it’s mainly a celebration of what life can be like, living with somebody like Sophie.”

The play has already caught the attention of Fleabag star Phoebe Waller Bridge.

It was selected by her new Keep it Fringe fund, launched this year to make the festival more accessible to emerging acts.

The grant is covering the cost of Sophie and Emily’s venue and accommodation. 

Emily added: “We would never ever have been able to come to Edinburgh and done a show at the Fringe if it wasn’t for this funding. 

“I do so much work with people with learning disabilities, and a lot of the stuff that I see is always kind of the doom and gloom or ‘how sad, what a shame’, the negative connotation attached to it. 

“It’s so important that people see real life stories about what life can be like, and not just made up narratives.” 

The show also features some nineties and noughties nostalgia with a playlist curated by Sophie, including songs from the Spice Girls, Sugababes and Shania Twain.  

Emily added: “The dream would be we’re going to do this play again in London and then what we would really like to do is get some stuff made for screen, so it’s more accessible for us to share our stories and our lived experiences digitally.”

Sophie told STV: “I’m so proud of her, doing this play.”

Emily added: “The play wouldn’t be happening if it wasn’t for you.”

“Sophie” will run at Just The Tonic at the Grassmarket Centre until Tuesday

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