Text PAWB to 70580 to donate £12 to our community strand PAWB (costs £12 plus std msg rate). Thank you!

Bringing people together to help fundraise across 12 Days of PAWB.

Following the success of an online festive festival of creativity in 2020, Hijinx will once again be bringing together participants from PAWB, its pan-Wales inclusive community programme, to create, perform and engage online in the 12 Days of PAWB.

Cardiff based theatre company, Hijinx, makes outstanding theatre productions with learning disabled and/or autistic actors. Due to the pandemic, Hijinx’s 2020 festive Odyssey performance at Wales Millennium Centre had to be postponed until 2021. Instead a reimagined seasonal gathering took place online as part of 12 Days of PAWB.

Hijinx will be programming 12 Days of PAWB as predominantly virtual events, which will feature its adult company Odyssey, its Youth Theatre groups in Cardiff and Bangor, Drama Foundations groups and Pathways.

12 Days of PAWB starts on 1 December with the fundraising launch and a dedicated day of fundraising on 22 December. As part of the 12 Days of PAWB, Hijinx has set themselves the challenge of raising £1,200, asking people to kindly donate £12 towards the Hijinx PAWB programme. PAWB runs throughout the year across Wales. Donations will go directly to running PAWB and its programme of activity.

Regarded as Wales’ leading inclusive theatre company, Hijinx produces high quality performances and activities. It strives for equality by making outstanding art with learning disabled and/or autistic actors on stage, on screen, on the street, in the workplace, locally, nationally and internationally for Wales and for the world.

Creating the opportunity for participants and audiences to engage online and in person is so important for us. We won’t stop doing both. We have seen the impact it has had and how access for both is needed. Our Social Impact Report research shows the performing arts are a vehicle for health and wellbeing, and increase happiness in people’s lives. For every £1 invested in Hijinx we turned that into £4.84 of social value. That’s a grand total of £4.5 million. We do stretch our money to deliver as much as we can, but we need your help to keep supporting what we do and in the future.

Sarah Horner, Chief Executive

Last year’s event was so successful in bringing everyone together after the disappointment of not creating something to be performed at Christmas. This year, as well as performing in person our Hijinx Odyssey show, Pinocchio and the Northern Lights, at Wales Millennium Centre, we will continue to run our 12 Days of PAWB throughout December showcasing the many wonderful projects that our participants have been working on right across Wales. We know many of our participants and audiences still want to continue to engage with us online and we want to ensure we can connect with them at this time of year.”

Jon Dafydd-Kidd, Head of Participation

Some of the activity you can expect to see…

Hijinx will be collaborating with illustration students from University of South Wales, Cardiff Metropolitan University and Coleg Menai who will exhibit their work on the Hijinx website, launching on the 3rd Day of PAWB, 6 December. Their work has been inspired by attending different PAWB group sessions, both online and in-person.

Hijinx’s South based Young People’s theatre group Telemachus will be sharing a digital video on Wednesday 8 December of their recent project Light from the Past. Telemachus is a sister project to Odyssey and is an inclusive group for young people with and without learning disabilities aged 16-24.

Telemachus, North Youth People’s Theatre and Odyssey will be hosting an interactive online community workshop on 13 December – booking is required.

Released last year as part of 12 Days of PAWB, Vaguely Artistic’s Christmas Single will be shared online again on Boxing Day. Vaguely Artistic was sponsored by Cardiff & Vale Health Charity and Arts & Business Cymru to create a Christmas single and video and featured a host of familiar faces.

We hope you enjoy seeing the content this year!

Thank you to the Arts Council Wales, the Welsh Government, the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, the Simon Gibson Charitable Trust and the Moondance Foundation.

One of Europe’s leading inclusive theatre companies, Hijinx Theatre, is creating significant life changes for its actors, participants, and their families, as well as changing perceptions of learning disabilities and /or autism (LD/A) on stage and screen, as shown in a new Social Impact Report.

Regarded as Wales’ leading inclusive theatre company, Hijinx produces high quality performances and activities. It strives for equality by making outstanding art with learning disabled and/or autistic actors on stage, on screen, on the street, in the workplace, locally, nationally and internationally for Wales and for the world.

Conducted by Abigail Tweed – Milestone Tweed & Mark Richardson Social Impact Consulting, Hijinx’s Social Impact Report captures the personal life changing stories of the people they work with and demonstrates the huge social economic value of the arts. The research shows the performing arts are a vehicle for health and wellbeing, and increase happiness in people’s lives. 

In 2019-20 Hijinx generated over £4.5 million in social value. That means that for every £1 invested in Hijinx, £4.84 of social value was generated. This is equal to, on average, 73,770 weekly shops in the UK.

The findings in this report clearly demonstrate the life enhancing impact Hijinx has on the lives of our actors and their parents and communities by building confidence and independence and increasing happiness. The report also shows how we create significant value in wider society by changing the perceptions of people who work with us, attend our performances, or experience our training courses.

James Downes, Chair, Hijinx

Some of the key findings included:

Hijinx actor, Lindsay Foster, now lives on her own and tours  the world with Hijinx’s shows. She said:

I went from a meek shy girl who wouldn’t do anything to an independent confident girl who is confident to go travelling and they [my parents] don’t have to worry about me. Thanks to adult placement and Hijinx I’m here doing what I do today. They are awesome. They’ve helped me a lot.

Lindsay Foster, Hijinx Actor

Hijinx parent, Alison Powell said:

Hijinx has given Tom a far stronger sense of himself and his disability – far more self-assured and able to speak up about his strengths and abilities. It’s increased his verbal dexterity, his ability to explain himself and express his needs and preferences and emotions. It’s also transformed his sight reading – utterly transformed. He can now read fairly fluently; certainly he has functional reading where he didn’t have before.

Alison Powell, Parent of Hijinx Actor

I was told in school that acting was not for me and that I should go into accountancy. But I can do it. I look forward to every day.

Ashford Richards, Hijinx Actor

As well as the report demonstrating how arts engagement improves happiness and wellbeing, Hijinx has reported significant change within the sector:

Their pioneering training programme has made significant changes to the perception of how learning disabled and or autistic (LD/A) people are seen on stage, screen and in the community.

BBC Wales | S4C’s Craith | Hidden features Justin Melluish, a neurodivergent actor playing one of the main roles in the new series, which has just finished on S4C but still available on BBCiPlayer, and will be on BBC Wales next year.

Working with Hijinx gave us an opportunity to review our practices, to think how we work and be more inclusive, which we will be taking forward into other productions. Justin is an incredibly talented actor, and working with Hijinx through the Casting process made us aware of the breadth of talent available and I hope other producers will consider their approach.

Severn Screen, Producers of Craith | Hidden

This is the first leading TV role for Justin.

It was a great experience to meet the cast and crew. They are lovely people to work with and I bonded with my brother Sion in the series. Thank you for seven screen to pick me. I can’t believe it, it’s my dream come true.

Justin Melluish, Hijinx Actor

One other industry partner said:

““Hijinx show that it’s possible to work with people with autism or learning difficulties on an equal footing, taking into account our different needs, by providing a structure to work within and support for everyone in the room.

Hijinx create simply the best work. With all, for all, and taken everywhere. They have made inclusive work something we should all be doing.

Parents also shared the importance and invaluable need for Hijinx and the arts over the last 18 months, especially for those who have been isolating, shielding during the pandemic. Amanda Freeman, whose daughter Bethany has attended Hijinx Academy in Carmarthenshire for the last two years said,

They treat Bethany with the utmost respect. During COVID they kept Bethany, and us too, connected and motivated through some difficult times. They supported us and helped us come up with creative ways of doing things.

Amanda Freeman

Hijinx has been pioneering in the way they train, and support, contributing to changing perceptions of people with learning disabilities and / or autism.

Sarah Horner, Chief Executive of Hijinx, said:

At Hijinx we see the power of theatre and the arts to transform on a daily basis and that has been so important over the last 18 months. To see this evidenced so clearly in this report is wonderful. It shows the huge impact that Hijinx, and the arts, have on those involved, and the wider benefit for families and communities. 

We are proud to create work and experiences that change people’s perceptions, and create changes that lead to increased opportunities, but we know we still need to do a lot more, especially at this time of recovery. We want to ensure our communities are not excluded from engaging with the arts after the pandemic. We, alongside many other organisations and individuals, will continue to lobby for inclusive provision for artists, participants and audiences. We want the screen and stage industries to follow the Seven Industry Principles, a new guide to support the industry to make decisions inclusively, to go beyond compliance and celebrate diversity, and to see a truly inclusive recovery.

Sarah Horner, CEO, Hijinx

Phil George, Chair of the Arts Council of Wales said,

The Arts Council of Wales is proud to support Hijinx as a key Welsh theatre company. Hijinx is at the cutting edge of stage and screen work with learning disabled and autistic actors of extraordinary talent. It is internationally recognised and valued for this work but crucially, it changes lives in families and communities in Wales.

This report, showing an almost fivefold return on investment in terms of social impact, is a reminder to us all that the arts can have a huge and inclusive impact in society. Through the staging of shows or creative involvement with films and TV programmes, Hijinx opens up wellbeing and a sense of possibility for participants and for all of us who experience their remarkable work.

Phil George, Chair, Arts Council of Wales

The full report is available download as PDF, audio report and Easy Read at hijinx.org.uk along with interviews and films from those who contributed to the report. 

Hijinx’s Social Impact Report was supported by Lloyds Bank Foundation.

Read our Social Impact Report

Our Impact

Guide me through the longest night,

Out of darkness comes the light.

Thanks to a very clever fairy, Pinocchio is no longer a wooden puppet. But with Geppetto gone, can Pinocchio learn to embrace the memories and find their true self?

Join Pinocchio this Christmas on a journey of discovery through the highs and lows of human emotion.

Out of the darkness and sadness comes a magical adventure. Featuring comedy, original songs, an interactive digital cast live on screen & stage, and a very brave penguin…Pinocchio and the Northern Lights is the perfect family treat. This heartfelt and joyful new adventure by Hefin Robinson is loosely inspired by the work of Carlo Collodi, and based on ideas by the participants of Hijinx Odyssey.

We’re so thrilled that our Christmas show is now on sale and would love for you to join us at Wales Millennium Centre. There are four performances, from 2- 4 December. Thursday’s performance is limited capacity due to socially distanced seating.

Suitable for ages 5+. Contains themes of bereavement and grief.

The Potty-Mouthed Puppet Who Fights Prejudice embarks on a 31 date tour of France this month.

The smash hit award–winning Hijinx theatre show, Meet Fred will be heading out on a 31 date tour of France after waiting checks on Brexit and NHS COVID-19 passes.

Meet Fred is produced by Hijinx in association with Blind Summit. The production was met with rave reviews following a sell-out run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2016, which led to international appearances including at the World Puppet Theatre Festival in Charleville-Mézières, France. It has continued to tour and now, in its fifth year, Meet Fred has been performed over 230 times, seen by over 23,000 people and visited 19 countries including the USA, China, and South Korea as well as across Europe.

Hijinx is one of Europe’s leading inclusive theatre companies, striving for equality by making outstanding art with learning disabled and/or autistic actors on stage, on screen, on the street, in the workplace, locally, nationally and internationally for Wales and for the world.

Meet Fred’s French tour was postponed from 2020 to October 2021 due to the recent pandemic. Hijinx will perform over 30 dates at venues across France including Granville, Rouen, Annecy, Chamonix and Lannion. This will be the second international tour for Hijinx this year, who’s other production Grumpy Unicorns is currently touring the streets of Germany.

Ellis Wrightbrook, Hijinx’s Senior Producer said:

“After 235 performances, Meet Fred has been shaped by the immensely talented artists that have been part of the ensemble over the years. Each new actor or puppeteer brings a fresh perspective and energy into the performance, and with this next leg of touring featuring our biggest cast change to date – it feels like we are premiering all over again!”  

Ellis Wrightbrook, Senior Producer

However, it has not all been plain sailing to get the show back on the road. This will be the first time the Meet Fred team has headed back into Europe since both Brexit and COVID-19. To ensure the team are as safe as possible they have had to form a “bubble” with regular PCR and lateral flow tests now part of their routine. There are vast amounts of paperwork that now must be completed both in connection with Brexit and COVID-19, never mind the risks associated with being out of the country should any of the team get a positive test. Even this week there has been a scare, with a member of the Director’s household testing positive, which has led to Ben Pettitt-Wade now being isolated from the cast and directing the rehearsals via Zoom. So why do it at all?

Ben Pettitt-Wade, Hijinx Artistic Director said:

“Meet Fred is an important show, it tells the story of a person struggling in a world not designed for them, it is a story of difference and one that is not often heard. It is also Hijinx’s most successful show and continues to be in international demand. It is not without its stresses, but we feel it’s important that we do not let Brexit and Covid become a barrier to international exchange.”

Ben Pettitt-Wade, Artistic Director

Meet Fred is the two foot tall cloth bunraku puppet that fights prejudice every day. He just wants to be a regular guy, part of the real world, to get a job and meet a girl, but when threatened with losing his PLA (Puppetry Living Allowance), Fred’s life begins to spiral out of his control.

The show is an original exploration of what it means to be different. With wit and dark humour, Hijinx explores themes of independence, empowerment, care and social injustice, and exposes the ridiculous situations some of the most vulnerable in our society encounter when their support is taken from them. It explodes the myth that ‘we are all in this together’.

Meet Fred will only be performed at Riverfront, Newport on 15 October, 7.30pm. The production will tour France between October 2021 – April 2022. Suitable for ages 14+. Contains strong language and puppet nudity.

Meet Fred in France 2021 – 2022 Tour Dates.


Current Touring Cast.

Follow us on social media for more updates on the Meet Fred in France 2021 – 2022 tour!

We’re delighted that Eye See Ai – a new augmented reality experience created by Hijinx in collaboration with Vietnamese companies Mat Tran Ensemble, Tohe Fun and Viet Interactive, has launched online!

Funded by the British Council Arts Digital Collaboration Fund, which enables organisations from the UK and selected countries overseas to collaborate digitally on international projects, the project will allow for an exciting cultural exchange as participants are given the opportunity to explore Hanoi and Cardiff using digital AR technology in 6 new short digital performances. The project will feature Hijinx actors from across Wales, as well as actors and performers from Mat Tran Ensemble, who are based in Hanoi.

Vietnamese collaborators Mat Tran are a group of Vietnamese puppeteers, pursuing a vision of inclusive performing arts, telling puppet stories without limitation of space and language, connecting people and bringing art closer to marginalized communities. Meanwhile, Tohe is a social enterprise with the mission of creating creative playgrounds for disadvantaged children, supporting young autistic artists to learn and develop through a variety of educational and visual art activities. Technical partners Viet Interactive provide AR technology to create authentic experiences in familiar spaces.

The exchange began in February 2020, when Mat Tran Ensemble were able to visit Cardiff prior to the Coronavirus pandemic and learn from the working practices of Hijinx and various other Welsh venues and companies. When the Covid-19 lockdowns hit, the exchange continued online and developed into a digital project which allowed for the exploration of new and innovative technologies.

Artistic Director, Ben Pettitt-Wade, says of the project:

We were delighted to receive a British Council Digital Collaboration grant to continue our relationship with Mat Tran Ensemble and foster a new partnership with Tohe. The process has been a huge learning curve for us all as we’ve explored together the potential for augmented reality and how it can be used to present the work of artists from Vietnam in Wales and vice versa. We have particularly enjoyed our exchange sessions between our own artists here in Wales and those in Vietnam, and can’t wait for the public to experience our artists work in both our countries.

Ben Pettitt-Wade, Artistic Director, Hijinx

As of today, Eye See Ai has a dedicated Facebook page where you can keep up to date with all the latest developments relating to the project – including details where you might be able to access the AR experience later this year.

You can also keep up to date with all of the latest project developments on Hijinx Theatre’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

We’re sending sincere condolences and appreciation to the family of Rhys Williams, who sadly passed away on 17th July. 

Rhys was a respected member of the Hijinx Board of Management for about five years. His quirky sense of humour and ability to think outside the box brought new insights to discussions at Board meetings. He loved our work, our commitment to inclusion and in believing theatre was for everyone regardless of their background. 

He was Head of English at Lampeter School for many years – inspiring thousands of young people with his love of language and encouragement to believe in themselves and be the best they could be. 

He moved to Cardiff to work for the NUT, before taking up a post at The National Assembly to work in Members Support services. Over the years he supported many members including writing speeches for Rhodri Morgan AM when he was First Minister. He continued working part time for Joyce Watson AM until his health started to fail. 

Rhys was a Ponty boy with a passion for football and a Cardiff City season ticket holder. He brought such joy and laughter into the lives of all who knew him and will be sorely missed, particularly by his wife Margaret and two daughters. His family have asked for donations to be sent to Hijinx in his memory, and we thank the family for their generosity and thoughfulness at this desperately sad time.

We’re so happy to announce that our critically acclaimed online digital performance, Metamorphosis, will be part of Summerhall’s Fringe Festival programme 2021!

The award-winning innovative (and interactive!) live digital experience will be streaming as part of Summerhall’s online programme for 2021, from Saturday 21 August to Sunday 29 August.

Metamorphosis is inspired by Franz Kafka’s classic novella reimagined for online audiences. The production is performed live on Zoom, exploring the advantages, limitations, and comedic value of video calls. Metamorphosis was an experiment for us in recreating the highly interactive nature of our previous touring productions.

Following its world premiere as part of the Green Man: Festival of Streams digital festival in August 2020, Metamorphosis was selected to perform at the global festival and fundraiser, Good The@tre Festival and Awards hosted by the Red Curtain International – where it received the award for both Best Direction and Most Innovative use of Technology.

Metamorphosis follows the story of Gregor Samsa who wakes up one morning from uneasy dreams to find he had turned into a monstrous verminous bug. He is incapacitated, confined to the house, unable to work and unable to hold his family close. This metadrama sees the cast of 12, all of whom have awoken to a different world, forced to reinterpret their profession, their identity, their very worth to the world.

The performance is recommended for ages 14+. During the performance, the audience will be able to interact with Zoom’s polling functions and may even become part of the action, so should be dressed appropriately, or at the very least, dressed! The cast will perform live from their own homes, where an unexpected extra (dog, cat, child or guinea pig) could appear at any given time. There will be audio description and closed captioning available at every performance.

Academy actress Ffion Gwyther, who has recently become a YouTube sensation with her lockdown videos and catchphrase ‘cwtch in and have a drink’, will feature in the online theatre production. Metamorphosis also includes a team of professional Hijinx actors, as well as music specifically created by award winning BAFTA Cymru Composer Tic Ashfield.

Artistic Director of Hijinx, and Director of Metamorphosis, Ben Pettitt-Wade said:

We are thrilled to be returning to the Summerhall for Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2021, all be it under very different circumstances. The Fringe has always been about experimentation and Metamorphosis has certainly been an experiment for us; an urgent repost to the question of how we remain creative when everything we know has gone. We are delighted that more people will now have a chance to enjoy and relate to this satirical snap shot of a year on Zoom.

Ben Pettitt-Wade, Artistic Director

You can stay up to date with all the latest news and information about Metamorphosis at Summerhall by following us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

We’re absolutely delighted to announce a new partnership with internationally renowned Cardiff-based television production company Bad Wolf!

This partnership will support our ongoing film production work into 2022, including the shooting and filming of two new short films this year – Glitch and Stones & Dust. Glitch is currently in post-production, and is a dark and chilling short film developed with Hijinx actors during the Covid-19 lockdown. It stars Tom Powell as Tom, who discovers that his new wifi device has mysterious and terrifying powers. Stones & Dust, on the other hand, follows the story of  Carys as she responds to her dying father’s request to visit him and her younger brother in deepest Wales, as he tries to make amends for years of neglect. This short fiction film will go into production in Autumn 2021.

The partnership will also enable us to build stronger relationships within the screen industry for our learning disabled and/or autistic actors, and increase opportunities for them to be seen, recognised and heard.

Bad Wolf are a television production company who create ambitious, imaginative and relevant drama for the UK, US and global TV markets.  An independent scripted production company based in South Wales, London and Los Angeles, Bad Wolf is the result of over 15 years of creative collaboration between founders Jane Tranter, Julie Gardner and the production and creative community of Wales.  Their recent production work includes His Dark Materials , Industry, I Hate Suzie and A Discovery of Witches, and they continue to enjoy success both in the UK and internationally.

In relation to the partnership, Hannah Raybould, Operations Manager at Bad Wolf  said:

Bad Wolf believes in opportunity, diversity and inclusion and we are very proud to be associated with, and add value to, the work of Hijinx – who share our vision and support us in our aims. 

Hannah Raybould, Operations Manager, Bad Wolf

Thank you so much Bad Wolf for your invaluable support – diolch o galon!

For more information on our film work, please contact Dan McGowan, Hijinx Head of Film – dan.mcgowan@hijinx.org.uk


A satirical take on life in lockdown, created by diverse performers in Wales and China

Welsh Theatre Company Hijinx is working with No Limits Hong Kong Arts Festival (HKAF) to create a new devised show about life in lockdown created by participants from two different countries and cultures. Are you ok? Is a brand new show that will include a diverse group of performers based in Wales and Hong Kong that will be broadcast online on 6 March 2021.

This year’s No Limits Artist in Residence is an innovative co creation collaboration with Hijinx, spanning over 11 weeks, and providing opportunities for people with different abilities to share their stories and to enrich their theatre experiences by holding a series of newly developed online devised theatre workshops, creating a final showcase performance.  

Hijinx’s Artistic Director Ben Pettitt-Wade, composer Tic Ashfield, and Hong Kong based writer/director Michelle Li have been working with an inclusive group of performers to devise the on-line production Are You Ok?, working in two languages, across two continents.

Are You OK? reflects on a world turned upside down and inside out by the pandemic in two different countries. The repetitive routine and the barriers that they have encountered. The moments of joy and the time of struggle.  This diverse group of performers from Hong Kong and Wales look at a world in lockdown, on how life has changed, or stayed the same, on what and who we miss, on how we can help each other without being able to be with each other. 

The actors in Hong Kong have been some of the sweetest, kindest people I have ever worked with. They are very professional, and I am very honoured to be working with them. I hope I can work with them again. I find the traditions and language of the Hong Kong actors very beautiful. People should come to see two different cultures and languages come together as a team and how different countries are managing through the lockdown.”

Faye Wiggan, Hijinx North Academy Actor

Are you OK? will be a live interactive performance, created on Zoom and presented on Zoom from the performer’s own homes. The performance will be in Cantonese and English with captions. The piece will have its own original sound and music created by BAFTA award winning composer Tic Ashfield.

“We feel very lucky and excited to be working with a mix of 28 artists from Hong Kong and Wales, devising “Are you OK?”, a live Zoom performance created across continents, languages and cultures and all without leaving our own homes. We can’t wait to share it with the world on the 6th March.”

Ben Pettitt-Wade, Hijinx Artistic Director

First launched in 2019, No Limits Arts Festival is co-presented by the Hong Kong Arts Festival and The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust, with the aim of creating a barrier-free environment and explore and promote inclusiveness and understanding through the arts.

Hijinx is one of Europe’s leading inclusive theatre companies, striving for equality by making outstanding art with learning disabled and/or autistic actors on stage, on screen, on the street, in the workplace, locally, nationally and internationally for Wales and for the world. Hijinx has continued to explore new ways of using technology to push the boundaries and continue to connect and create online during the recent pandemic, with the creation of a new interactive online commission, Metamorphosis for Green Man Festivals Field of Streams and continue their PAWB programme through online engagement. 

Are you OK? will be streamed live from the performers’ homes in Hong Kong and Wales at 12pm(UK)/8pm(HK) on 6 March. Tickets are free.

To register for the Showcase, please go to: https://go.nolimits.hk/AIR2021regen 

More information about the AIR Programme and the Showcase can be found on: https://go.nolimits.hk/AIR2021en 

For further press information, images, or to arrange an interview please contact, Suzanne Carter Marketing suzannecartermarketing@gmail.com / 07885977044

Notes to the editor:

Hijinx is one of Europe’s leading inclusive theatre companies, striving for equality by making outstanding art with learning disabled and/or autistic actors on stage, on screen, on the street, in the workplace, locally, nationally and internationally for Wales and for the world.

The company’s acclaimed theatre work is original, surprising, edgy, and funny and is in huge demand across the globe, with productions including Meet Fred, The Flop and Into the Light travelling to over 20 countries in recent years.

Around Wales Hijinx Academies provide professional drama training for 70 uniquely talented actors. These Hijinx Actors, who have conditions such as Down’s Syndrome, Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome, are at the heart of the company’s work in productions, in businesses and in community projects. They are promoted to the wider theatre, TV and film industries on www.hijinxactors.co.uk, the UK’s largest casting platform dedicated to actors with learning disabilities and/or autism.

Hijinx’s aim to see more actors with learning disabilities and/or autism on TV and film, as well as on stage. Hijinx Films produces stunning short films to raise the profile and impact of the unique talents of Hijinx actors, and in 2018, the company published recommendations for new screen industry standards for casting learning-disabled (neurodivergent) actors.

Hijinx Pawb offers a Wales-wide network of community drama courses for everyone who wants to act, regardless of ability or experience.

Alongside, Hijinx offers an award-winning, specialist training programme, which empowers staff in a wide range of businesses with the confidence and skills to communicate well with vulnerable customers.

For the latest Hijinx news and updates, see the website http://www.hijinx.org.uk.

Follow Hijinx on Twitter and Instagram @HijinxTheatre or Facebook.com/HijinxTheatre

Hijinx is generously supported by the Arts Council of Wales, The Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, The Julia and Hans Rausing Trust, Lloyds Bank Foundation, Morrisons Foundation, The Rayne Foundation and BBC Children in Need.


Creative Concept & Director – Ben Pettit-Wade

Ben Pettitt-Wade is an award-winning director who has worked with artists with learning disability and/or autism for more than 20 years.

He has devised and directed numerous productions for Hijinx, including Meet Fred, an international touring phenomenon, which has been translated into 11 languages and has toured Europe, the USA, South Korea and China. In 2019 Pettitt-Wade co-directed with Kully Thiarai Mission Control, a Hijinx and National Theatre Wales collaboration with an inclusive cast of over 80, which was staged at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff.

He recently won Best Director at The Good The@tre Festival, an international festival of live online theatre, for Metamorphosis, which was created and presented on Zoom during the Covid-19 pan-demic.

Assistant Director and Text Editor – Michelle Li

Michelle Li is the founder and co-artistic director of Rooftop Productions. She holds an MA in Performance Making from Goldsmiths, University of London, and a BA in English Studies from the University of Hong Kong. As well as a playwright, she is a theatre director, a performer, singer, producer and theatre educator. Her recent local works include, for Rooftop Productions, Testimony, The Furies Variations, Not The Maids, Lost Shoreline, Milk and Honey, The Beautiful Ones, A Series of Unexpected Events; and for the Hong Kong Arts Festival: a rehearsal log of The Wizard of Oz and Danz Up.

Composer – Tic Ashfield

Devising Performers
(Participants from Hong Kong)
YK, Wan Lai-yee, Kathy Ng, Sam Ng, Crystal Lee, Terry Chau, Philip Chow, Gethin Chow, Aranza Rus-sell Terre, Theresa Leung, Sally Leung, Cheung Ling-long Angel, Karen Chan, Lemon Tsang, Leung Ho-hei, Yeung Sze-lok Llyr, Lai Yuk-lam, Clayton Lo, Harmony Timbre, Ben Kwong, Hsu Sing-chin

Lindsay Foster, Michelle McTernan, Richard Newnham, Owen Pugh, Sian Walker, Faye Wiggan

Production Team
Production Manager: Tom Ayres
Senior Producer: Ellis Wrightbrook
Assistant Producer: Carys Mol
Technical Assistant: Sam Jones

(Hong Kong)
Artist Assistant: Karen Ka and Dominic Lee
Technical Assistants: Yu Pui-ho

Cardiff and Vale University Health Board and Hijinx are launching a new series of training videos online to help train health and social care staff to effectively communicate with, appropriately care for, and support people with learning disabilities and/or autism. Extracts of the film will be shared at a virtual screening and webinar on 27 January 2021. The full-length films will then be available online for anyone to access.

With funding from the Cardiff & Vale Health Charity and Arts & Business Cymru, the Health Board was able to commission Hijinx to develop a series of short films filmed on location at the University Hospital of Wales.

The training films cover several topics which were highlighted as particular areas of concern within the Health Board such as communication, treating constipation and taking observations. A number of years ago, an independent study conducted by the Improving Health and Lives Learning Disabilities Observatory found that approximately 1200 people with learning disabilities die avoidable deaths while in NHS care every year.

This training will not only go a long way to address the stark inequality in the care and treatment people with learning disabilities have historically received but could potentially save some patients’ lives.

The training films which include four Hijinx actors are informative and also very engaging with Hijinx’s brand of humour and heart at the core. They will be available to watch from staff across the NHS, as well as those who want to develop their disability training as well for free online.

Andy Jones, Lead Nurse for Surgery, Urology, Ophthalmology, ENT , Dental & Wound Healing at Cardiff and Vale University Health Board said:

I am really excited that these training films will be released and used to promote improvements in practice in the field of caring for patients with a learning disability.

It is well acknowledged that there are inequalities in health care provision to this vulnerable group of our population.

These films have been shaped by the NHS England LeDer report findings and embellished by actors from the Hijinx Theatre Company who themselves have a learning disability and have themselves encountered difficulties obtaining the care and support they are entitled to.

Andy Jones, Lead Nurse for Surgery, Urology, Ophthalmology, ENT , Dental & Wound Healing, Cardiff and Vale University Health Board

Sarah Horner, Chief Executive of Hijinx Theatre said:

It’s great to see these films being shared to support training in such a critical area. We’re proud to have worked with Cardiff and Vale University Health Board in developing these resources and enabling the lived experiences of Hijinx actors to be so central to their creation. We hope they can have a real impact on the quality of care received by patients with a learning disability.

Sarah Horner, Chief Executive, Hijinx Theatre

On 27 January 2021 the videos will be launched at a virtual screening with attendees from the NHS, government, health and business sector. The event will be followed by a short webinar discussion. A limited number of tickets are available for the virtual screening of the films via Eventbrite – more details will be posted when the event goes live. The videos will be all available from the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board from 28 January 2021.

Any business seeking communication training from Hijinx should contact Susan Kingman.  More information is available on the Business Training page.