Inclusive theatre makers, Hijinx, bring the Edinburgh Fringe hit puppet show Meet Fred to Little Angel Theatre, 1-5 March.
Following a sold out run at Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2016, Hijinx (Cardiff) in association with Blind Summit (London) are bringing Meet Fred to London audiences this March, as part of a 50 venue UK tour.
Meet Fred is a snapshot into the life of a feisty but loveable puppet who fights prejudice every day. Fred is a two foot tall cloth puppet who just wants to be part of the real world: get a job, meet a girl and settle down. But when threatened with losing his PLA (Puppetry Living Allowance), Fred’s life begins to spiral out of his control. NB – contains strong language and puppet nudity.
Meet Fred takes a timely look at what it is to be disadvantaged in today’s society. Following an outsider who tries to make his mark in a world in which he needs a lot of help, the show shines a light on how tasks like going on a date or finding a job present a myriad of problems.
In an incisive and highly comical way, Meet Fred exposes the ridiculous situations some of the most vulnerable in our society encounter when their support is taken from them, exploding the myth that “we are all in this together”.
Hijinx are one of the UK’s leading inclusive theatre companies. From their base in Cardiff, they create shows with casts that always include actors with and without learning disabilities, and tour them across the UK and Europe. The cast of Meet Fred includes two actors with Asperger’s Syndrome and one with Down’s Syndrome, working as equals alongside four actors without learning disabilities. Hijinx are revenue funded by the Arts Council of Wales.
In keeping with Hijinx’s inclusive ethos, all of the performances at Little Angel will be captioned for people with hearing loss.
Blind Summit are one of the UK’s leading contemporary puppetry innovators. Their shows The Table and Citizen Puppet have enjoyed huge success in recent years, both at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and on extensive national and international tours.
Ben Pettitt-Wade, Hijinx’s Artistic Director and “Director” in Meet Fred, said: “Following our run at Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2016, the response we have had on our UK tour continues to be both staggering and humbling, so we’re excited to unleash Fred on the people of London. Added to that, we are buzzing that this week of performances will be at The Little Angel, one of the UK's most respected and longest established puppet theatres.”
Mark Down, Artistic Director of Blind Summit, commented: “We’re always looking for something that’s never been done with puppetry before, and with Meet Fred, Ben and his team have found an ingenious way of using puppetry to tell this important story. We can’t wait for our home audiences to see it”
Tribute to Cast Member, Martin Vick
The 2017 tour of Meet Fred has been dedicated to the memory of actor Martin Vick, who was part of the original cast (as the ‘Stage Manager’) and one of its devisers. Martin, a renowned clown performer who had Down’s Syndrome, died in December 2016 following a stroke.
A full tour schedule for Meet Fred is available on www.hijinx.org.uk/tour-dates-2017
Tickets are available via the tour venues. Meet Fred is enjoyable for audiences of all ages and abilities over the age of 14.
A press call is scheduled for Weds 1 March at 4pm at Little Angel, when an extract from the show will be performed and members of the cast and creative team will be available for interview. Please contact Vanessa Morse (firstname.lastname@example.org or 02920 300 331) if you wish to attend.
For further press information, images, to arrange an interview or for reviewer tickets please contact Vanessa Morse at Hijinx on 02920 300 331 / email@example.com
Hijinx Academy members
Meet Fred’s cast includes actors with learning disabilities all of whom are training at Hijinx’s Cardiff-based Academy, an ongoing performance course for learning disabled actors. Since the first Academy started in Cardiff in 2012, Hijinx have established a further four in Prestatyn, Carmarthen, Cardiff and Aberystwyth.
Hijinx, a pioneer of inclusive theatre, produces theatre in which actors with and without disabilities work alongside each other as equals. Established over 30 years ago, the Cardiff-based company has been touring integrated casts - casts involving actors both with and without learning disabilities - in its professional shows since 2006.
The Director - Ben Pettitt-Wade
Stage Manager - Gareth John
Puppeteer & Voice of ‘Fred’ - Dan McGowan
Puppeteers - Morgan Thomas & Sam Harding
Lucille/Maker - Lindsay Foster
Job Centre Adviser - Richard Newnham
Director - Ben Pettitt-Wade
Lighting Designer - Ceri James
Technician - Tom Gamble
Fred Theme music - Jonathan Dunn
Puppetry Dramaturgs of Blind Summit - Tom Espina & Giulia Innocenti
Meet Fred is devised by the Company