Actor, model and dancer Sarah Gordy has featured on shows such as Casualty, Call the Midwife and Upstairs Downstairs. As well as all this, she was also the first Mencap celebrity ambassador to have a learning disability. Sarah has recently written an article for The Huffington Post stating the importance of seeing young people with learning difficulties on the stage and screen. With this in mind, I asked Sarah Gordy a few questions:
Why do you think it’s important that people with a learning disability are seen on stage and screen?
Because in the real world people come in all flavours. Young, old, men, woman and people with disabilities. We are not rare, we work in shops, we are in the pubs. We are part of society. If people with a learning disability are not seen, then drama and the media does not represent the real world.
What would you say to someone who wants to follow their dreams yet finds it hard with their learning disability/SEN?
I did not set out to be a professional actor, they found me. I have always loved being in school plays and amateur dramatics. Join a theatre group, have fun and see what happens.
What do you think are the main issues people with learning disabilities have at the moment?
If we have the opportunity to work for a month, we should not lose benefits. When we work, they cut our benefits for the period. We are still disabled when the special job finishes and may not get another job for years.
What has been your favourite role and why?
Sally Harper in Call the Midwife because it was a challenging role and they trusted me with it. In fact the writer, Heidi Thomas, checked out my availability before she wrote the episode. We met on Upstairs Downstairs which Heidi also wrote and I played Pamela Holland.
It’s clear that Sarah is a highly passionate actor and continues to go from strength to strength. Let’s hope that more people follow in her footsteps and the fact that an actor has a learning disability becomes irrelevant.