A YOUNG woman who has Down’s Syndrome is the star of a hard-hitting new play which begins a Scotland-wide tour on Thursday, May 24 at the MacRobert Arts Centre, Stirling.

Abigail Brydon, 24, will take the leading role in Downs With Love, a new play by Scottish company Cutting Edge Theatre, which sensitively explores questions of love and disability, and invites audiences to think about their own preconceptions.

Abi plays Beth, a young woman who lives a happy, independent life.

Beth has her eye on Mark (Stephen Arthur) who sings in the local pub on Friday nights, but when Mark starts to fall for Beth’s support worker Tracy (Katie Milne), everything is set to get a lot more complicated.

Suzanne Lofthus, writer and director, said: “Downs With Love challenges us all to think about what we consider acceptable.

"Can we accept a couple, one of whom has Down’s and one does not, or would that make us feel uncomfortable?”

Suzanne worked with Abi, exploring her own feelings and her experiences of growing up with Down’s, to create the character of Beth.

Abi has written a powerful monologue about her experiences which is used in the play.

Suzanne said: “Abi is in a very strong position throughout the play.

"She doesn’t leave the stage. We’re not aiding her in any way - we’re all equals on stage.

"She’s an actress is her own right doing what she does, and that makes the story even more powerful.”

Abi Brydon said: “Beth is a bit different from me.

"When I change my hairstyle, I know I’m playing Beth, not being myself.

"I like acting a lot - my dream is to be on Coronation Street!”

Abi is studying Acting and Performance at Fife College, and has appeared on stage in several local productions.

She has been a member of the INSPIRE programme, created by Cutting Edge Theatre, offering drama to young adults with additional support needs.

Suzanne said: “At the heart of Cutting Edge is helping people to realise their potential, whatever that is, enabling them to do things they never thought they could do.

"When I heard Abi say that her dream was to be an actress, I thought: ‘I can make that happen’. We’re delighted to be helping her to realise that dream.”

Downs With Love is on a 10-venue Scotland-wide tour, funded by a grant from the National Lottery People’s Project, after votes from the public made it one of this year’s top three projects. 

The play is written and directed by Suzanne Lofthus; the movement director is Tony Mills, artistic director of dance company Room 2 Manoeuvre; lighting designer is Andrew Wilson.

The play uses original music by James Siggens.