Hijinx Theatre are an award-winning professional theatre company based at Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff who tour small scale theatre throughout the UK and Europe.
What makes them different is that their casts always include actors who have learning disabilities. The ability of these effortlessly talented performers is at the heart of every show produced, creating work that is utterly absorbing, surprising and provocative.
Hijinx have offered several work placements to students from the University of South Wales’ Theatre & Drama and Performance & Media courses to gain experience on a number of different productions. Some of the work undertaken by the students included:
Here’s what some of the students had to say about the experience that they gained there:
“Hijinx was the perfect example of learning in both the industry and life. The kind of experiences you get at Hijinx transcends expectations.”
“It was nice working with actors with disabilities as seeing them doing the tough training and not letting their disabilities pull them down was really inspiring and it pushed me to do my best in the documentary short that I had the great opportunity to do.”
“I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Hijinx working with the management team and learning how they create performance opportunities for those with a learning disability.”
In addition, Hijinx have also supported the GO Wales project, working with the team at USW to “help young students in Wales who face barriers in accessing work experience to develop and refine their employability skills.”
One was a third year Script Writing student who worked with Hijinx’s community theatre group, Odyssey, to produce a performance based on the painting the Raft of Medusa (by Théodore Géricault 1818-1819). The performance took place in Spring 2017. See her feedback here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QNYLi_H9Ac8*
A third year Creative writing student and a third year Performing Arts student gained work experience there assisting with the Academy students, preparing them for performances in weekly workshops, and they have remained with Hijinx after the placement ended.
Finally, Hijinx also had a “brilliant USW GO Wales placement student” with them who spent a week assisting with their social media. Part of the placement was to go to see one of the projects and write a blog post about his observations:
Jacqui Onions, who co-ordinates placements at Hijinx stated:
“We try to provide our placement students with a practical opportunity to gain experience in the areas of work that interest them, a real insight into Hijinx as a company, networking opportunities within the arts sector, and experience of working inclusively with people both with and without learning disabilities – experiences that we hope they will carry forward into their future careers. The help and skills that these placement students bring to Hijinx are invaluable to the company and we look forward to providing more placements in the future”.
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