World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD), 21 March, is a global awareness day officially observed by the United Nations since 2012. Activities and events help raise awareness about what Down’s syndrome is, what it means to have Down’s syndrome, and how people who have Down’s syndrome play a vital role in our lives and communities. In the lockdown of 2021 Blue Apple created a modest but significant intervention for World Down Syndrome Day – it was nothing more or less than a conversation between Down’s actors from different backgrounds. Actors Tommy Jessop, Lawrie Morris and Katy Francis from Blue Apple were in a Zoom conversation with Connor Long and Sophie Silverman from the USA. The five of them discussed what they get out of performing and what they hope for the future.
This year we go a step further and have created a film in partnership with Blue Apple Theatre bringing together actors with Down’s syndrome from a number of different countries – each taking a line in a speech inspired by Hamlet’s “To be or not to be..” soliloquy. This project asks if we don’t all have a right “to be”; and if we can’t find a way to notice and nurture the skills and talents that the Down’s syndrome community bring to the wider world. It is released to coincide with World Down Syndrome Day on 21 March.
Those with Down’s syndrome play a vital role in our lives and communities. We unite with theatre companies across the globe to share the question “To be or not to be..? We think you will find new meaning in an old speech thanks to the talents of actors around the world!
Thanks to ArtStreamers Adam McCrensky and Garrie Barnes for participating in this world-wide version of “To Be or Not to Be”! Thanks to ArtStream’s Theatre Manager Sarah Sandifer for managing the technical video portion. And thanks to our partners at Blue Apple Theatre in the UK for bringing us all together!