October 25, 2021.
International • Theatre
Fred in France!
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.
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