The Spirit of Christmas

Hijinx Odyssey spread The Spirit of Christmas with their festive production at Wales Millennium Centre

Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without a stunning tree, the old favourite carols and a room full of family and friends. But the icing on the cake for local theatregoers this festive season is a vibrant Christmas show by Hijinx Odyssey, who bring The Spirit of Christmas (plus trees, carols and friends) to Wales Millennium Centre this November!

Hijinx Odyssey is an inclusive community group for adults with and without learning disabilities who share a passion for performance, as well as the amateur arm of Welsh theatre company Hijinx. The magic of Odyssey, and what makes it a rare find, is that it brings together people with and without disabilities from very different backgrounds to explore, play, and journey together into the world of make believe. This year Odyssey is joined on stage by enthusiastic pupils from Woodlands High School and talented music students at University of South Wales, Caerleon.

Nia Ramage, a long standing member of the group, describes  Odyssey as “like having an extended family,” she continues, “There's an amazing sense of unity between all the members of Odyssey as well as Hijinx staff and volunteers and we pride ourselves on working together as a team at all times. We continuously help each other out whether it's during our Monday night sessions, weekend rehearsals or during our actual performances.”

What better subject matter for Odyssey to tackle in their production, The Spirit of Christmas, than family and friendship. This musical festive treat centres around Megan… who is on a mission to find out about her grandmother, a glamorous performer whom the family never talk about, who emigrated from Cardiff 60 years ago. Armed with a photograph and an invitation to a party, Megan finally has the chance to learn more about the woman she is told she resembles both in looks and talent. As her relatives bring out old photographs, stories come to life helping Megan to piece together her long lost history.

Pulling together as a team to fundraise for The Spirit of Christmas

It is this sense of family and teamwork that has brought the group together over the past year to fundraise towards putting on a Christmas production in the Weston Studio at Wales Millennium Centre. Simon Richards, an Odyssey member with Asperger’s who sits on the group’s fundraising committee, sees the importance of this team spirit, “It’s a cast of people with and without disabilities, but it’s so much more than that...it’s a cast of friends!”

As one would expect from such a creative group, the fundraising activities have been colourful and eclectic, from a Decades Disco packed with psychedelic fancy dress and hits from the 60s, 70s and 80s, to a Curry and Quiz Night with a pass the parcel version of a raffle! But fundraising is not all fun and frolics and the hard work and dedication of the Odyssey members has paid off, raising nearly £1500 towards the production so far.

Performing at Wales Millennium Centre

Gaynor Lougher, Artistic Manager at Hijinx Theatre, is delighted that Odyssey will once again be able to perform at Wales Millennium Centre, “Bringing together the creative ideas of over 40 people on stage is a challenge, but it means that the show, which we first did in 2005, has grown and developed into a joy-filled festive performance that is new for 2014. There is guaranteed to be a huge amount of infectious energy on stage that will sweep the audience along with it!”

Booking

The Spirit of Christmas is at the Weston Studio, Wales Millennium Centre on 27th & 28th November at 7pm, and 29th November at 3pm & 7pm. Tickets are £8 - £12 and available to book in person from the Wales Millennium Centre ticket office, over the telephone on 029 20 636464, or book online.

For further press information, images, to arrange an interview or for reviewer tickets to The Spirit of Christmas please contact Jacqui Onions at Hijinx Theatre on 02920 300331, jacqui.onions@hijinx.org.uk

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