Cutting Edge Downs

Jun 4 2018 | By More

Downs With Love for Assembly Roxy

A young woman who has Down’s Syndrome is the star of a hard hitting new play from Edinburgh-based Cutting Edge Theatre which tours to the Assembly Roxy for one night only this Wednesday.

Abi Brydon from Fife is playing the lead role in the play which explores questions of love and disability, while inviting audiences to think about their own preconceptions.

Abi Brydon, Stephen Arthur and Katie Milne. Pic Neil Hanna

Brydon 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?”

The play was originally created in 2016 by Cutting Edge’s Fife project INSPIRE for performance during the Fringe. In 2017 Cutting Edge won a People’s Project grant to create a touring version of the production and expand its work supporting young people with learning disabilities.

Loftus and Brydon worked together to create the character of Beth, using Brydon’s feelings and her experiences of growing up with Down’s. She has written a powerful monologue about her experiences which is used in the play.

equals on stage

Loftus says: “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. Pic Neil Hanna

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!

She 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 Lofthus added: “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.”

Movement direction for Downs With Love comes from Tony Mills, artistic director of dance company Room 2 Manoeuvre, with lighting design from Andrew Wilson and original music by James Siggens.

Listings and links

Downs With Love
Assembly Roxy, 2 Roxburgh Place, EH8 9SU.
Wednesday 6 June 2018
Evening: 7.30pm.
Tickets and details:

Cutting Edge Theatre website
Twitter: @Cuttingedgethea

INSPIRE on Facebook Inspirecuttingedgetheatre

Down’s With Love on tour:
Tuesday 5 June. Greenock
Beacon Arts Centre
01475 723723 Book online
Wednesday 6 June Edinburgh
Assembly Roxy
0131 623 3001 Book online
Thursday 7 June Dumfries
Theatre Royal
01387 254209 Book online
Sunday 10 June Eaterhouse
0141 276 9696 Book online
Tuesday 12th June Inverness
Eden Court Theatre
01463 234234 Book online

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