Why is it so significant having actors who have Down’s syndrome appearing on prime time television?
Most of the roles on mainstream television, radio or stage are supporting roles or they may be about the issue surrounding a disability and do not really reflect the role people with learning disabilities now play in our communities. So, to have a powerful character like the ones Tommy played in Coming down the Mountain, Casualty and Holby City is important in helping the rest of us think again about people we have often ignored.
Why is it so significant for Tommy to have played Hamlet? To put someone with Down’s syndrome on stage as Hamlet, one of the highest profile roles in the whole of world literature, and see them speaking Shakespeare with such emotion and such power and really being in the character is fantastic and will, we hope, open more doors in theatre and socially.
Did Tommy enjoy playing Hamlet? Tommy loved the role, he loved working with people’s emotions and going deep into Hamlet’s mental angst. He loved the sword fighting and the romance with Ophelia.
How far do you feel you are challenging prejudice? Tommy has broken through barriers on screen and on stage. He has proved that people with learning disabilities deserve to be taken seriously as actors. But the most important thing to Tommy is to be able to perform. He loves being in front of a camera or on stage reacting with the audience.
Apart from acting, what does Tommy do in his spare time? Watching TV, listening to music, going to the theatre, dancing, playing football, badminton, cricket and going to the gym.
What is Tommy’s favourite meal? pizza
What is Tommy’s dream holiday? Hawaii