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First Actress with Down Syndrome Gets Role in Prestigious National Theater of Greece

Dawn Syndrome actress
The Thessaloniki-based actress signed a contract with the National Theater. Credit: Instagram/Loxandra Loukas

The Greek National Theatre hired last week, for the first time in its long history, an actress with Down syndrome to participate in a theatrical production in Athens.

Loxandra Loukas, a Thessaloniki-based actress, signed a contract to play in the production by Greek director Eleni Efthymiou. The brief video of her signing the contract became viral in Greece.

Louka’s mother, Eleni Dimopoulou, also a director, in a Facebook message thanked all those who rushed to congratulate her daughter. “There were so many”, she said.

Actress with Down syndrome a turning point for Greek arts?

“We have been receiving messages, phone calls from people appreciating what our Loxandra has achieved…It is you, the general public, who allowed her not to be overwhelmed, not to feel alone and unprotected. We, her parents and her siblings, are very grateful to each and every one of you.”

Loucas’ achievement may prove the turning point for your actors and actresses with Down syndrome to finally break-through in Greek Arts and Entertainment.

The National Theatre was founded in 1930 by the Minister of Education, George Papandreou. For many years it operated as a public entity.

In 1994, the National Theatre became a non-profit organization known in English as the Greek National Theatre. Its remit is, through theatre, to promote culture and preserve Greek cultural identity.

Down syndrome student excelled in Greece

In 2017, a Greek student with Down syndrome became the first to enter a Greek University. Maria Nitsa who also has diabetes, struggled for 12 years with mathematics, chemistry and ancient Greek, but finally managed to pass in the Kindergarten Department of the Pedagogic School in Florina, northern Greece, and make her dream come true.

Nitsa said that her favorite lesson at school was mathematics, but she chose the Kindergarten Department of the Pedagogic School, because of her love for children. She also thanked her teachers for their support.

6,000 babies born in the United States have Down syndrome

Down syndrome is a condition in which a person has an extra chromosome. Chromosomes are small “packages” of genes in the body. They determine how a baby’s body forms and functions as it grows during pregnancy and after birth. Typically, a baby is born with 46 chromosomes. Babies with Down syndrome have an extra copy of one of these chromosomes, chromosome 21.

Down syndrome remains the most common chromosomal condition diagnosed in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) each year, about 6,000 babies born in the United States have Down syndrome. This means that Down syndrome occurs in about 1 in every 700 babies.

The extra chromosome 21 leads to the physical features and developmental challenges that can occur among people with Down syndrome. Researchers know that Down syndrome is caused by an extra chromosome, but no one knows for sure why Down syndrome occurs or how many different factors play a role.

One factor that increases the risk for having a baby with Down syndrome is the mother’s age. Women who are 35 years or older when they become pregnant are more likely to have a pregnancy affected by Down syndrome than women who become pregnant at a younger age.


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