|Snooty Fox Images: Sarah Gordy|
I haven't actually had the pleasure of meeting Sarah Gordy in real life yet, but she has had a huge influence on me and is a great inspiration not only to our family, but to thousands of others.
Sarah is a beautiful, talented, humorous actor, (you may have seen her in Upstairs Downstairs or Holby City), a charity ambassador, a public speaker and a campaigner.
Sarah also has Down's Syndrome, but is is not all she is and she does not let it define her.
Sarah recently agreed to let Family Downs Side Up interview her. Mia (M), Natty(N) and I(H) wrote some questions for her:
Sarah, when did you first discover a talent for drama? (H)
At school my teachers said I made the other children feel confident on stage so I always got big parts. Kaleidoscope Theatre were traveling around the country auditioning people, a friend was going and I went along for the ride. I joined the Company. Later Granada TV were searching for somebody to do three weeks filming for Peak Practice. Carousel Theatre said they didn’t have anybody who could do it but they knew somebody who could. That was my first professional job.
|Snooty Fox Images: Sarah Gordy|
Where did you do your training? (M)
My mum’s kitchen table really! Mum, Catherine (my sister) and me. Mum would ask ‘what ifs’ and we would have to imagine. When we had a story we had to think how the people felt that sometimes made us change the story. We learned nursery stories to train the Little Grey Cells. I also did a course in drama at Sussex Downs College but I learned the most at home.
What’s it really like when you see yourself on TV? (M)
It is not really me, it is the character and it is nice to feel the character again. If it is an interview then I am watching myself, weird but interesting. I was so disappointed because I didn’t get copies of Live with Gabby or This Morning. I would like to have seen them. I have seen other interviews though.
Can you tell us anything about your current project? Or is it top secret ? (H)
‘The Colour of Light' is being filmed in August. The main role is played by Shobna Gulati (“Anita” in Dinner Ladies, Dev’s wife “Sunita” in Coronation Street) I play “Gracie” I went to Wales last week to shoot a teaser scene and some still photos. Funding is there for the film but we need some more we want to make it brilliant. Will tell you about crowd funding later. “Gracie” is a beautiful role, she makes people feel good.
What is a typical day in the life of Sarah Gordy? (H)
Great question, you know what happens if you are filming or doing a play so I will tell you another day. I will exercise to one of three tapes. I will look at Twitter if I have time. I am Director/Trustee of The Oyster Project which is run by disabled people for disabled people of all types. I help run Oyster Drama Group and we do films and plays. Lately we are also doing dance with James Dunbar of Chicken Shed Theatre. This takes a lot of my time. Sometimes I help out at British Heart Foundation shop when I have time. I have to do my share of the housework too.
I know you and your sister are very close too. How would she describe you in 3 words? (M)
Energetic Passionate Happy
What’s your favourite cake? (N)
A BIG one. Chocolate. I love most cakes!
Have you got a pet? I have a Chihuahua. (N)
No. When we were little we wanted one but mum has asthma. Dad said we had to choose. Keep mum or get a dog. He joked that mum could cook and a dog cant.
You are an enormous inspiration and a role model for young people with Down’s Syndrome and their families across the country. How does that make you feel? (H)
Great. I want people to be happy and not limit themselves. I feel wonderful if I make people feel encouraged.
I talked to a Junior school assembly on Thursday (made the kids laugh and adults cry) about how we dream about what we will do when we grow up. I said your dreams more likely to come true if you are fit and healthy and I told them about skipping songs their great great grandparents would have had. I had toured a play called “Walking On Water” with Theatre Centre to schools which had a lot of skipping. I get asked to do a lot of talks but I need to earn a living. Wish somebody would make a film it would tick so many boxes.
What issues would you like discussed/raised by families and support groups working with individuals with Down’s Syndrome? (H)
Mum and I have been talking about habits.
People with Downs Syndrome stick to their habits. My friend is a good worker at Waitrose. He will always do things the way he was taught you can trust him. Another friend got really upset when she came with us to the cinema. We take a yogurt or a sandwich a bottle of water or juice. Her cinema habit is loads of chocolate & popcorn and cokecola. She thought my mum was cruel. I love her but she has diabetis and can hardly walk. Habit learned is for life.
What is Your Dream Sarah? (Sarah's bonus question)
To get a role on TV as a real woman not a ‘Downs Syndrome’. In the old days a black man was just black he could hold a tray, dance etc. I have played complicated characters on stage and the critics liked it, but TV is conservative.
You can watch one of Sarah's inspiring talks for TedX here.
Thank you Sarah. I look forward to meeting you one day soon.