Hijinx was founded in 1981 by Gaynor Lougher and Richard Berry after they were asked to create a performance for Ely Festival in Cardiff. They enjoyed the experience so much they began to tour small scale productions throughout Wales with the set and costumes stuffed into the back of an old estate car. The company they created together took theatre to people’s doorsteps in places that do not have access to the glitzy arts centres and grand theatres of our towns and cities. At the company’s heart there has always been a commitment and belief that theatre is for everyone.
After touring as a performer with Hijinx for 11 years, Gaynor became the Artistic Director in 1994, taking the lead on shows for the learning disabled community as well as running numerous projects and workshops and setting up Odyssey in 1999, a community drama group for adults of all abilities which is still going strong.
In 2004, we moved into the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff and in 2006 we started to create shows that cast actors with learning disabilities in a professional capacity alongside actors without disabilities.
In 2008, Hijinx founded Unity Festival as a platform for the highest quality inclusive and disability arts from around the world.
Our first Hijinx Academy was introduced in 2012 to support our commitment that all our professional touring shows would now include artists with learning disability and/or autism.
In 2014, Gaynor and Richard were presented with the Special Recognition Award at the Theatre Critics of Wales Awards as the founder members of Hijinx.
After 30 years of dedicated service to Hijinx, Gaynor stepped down from her role in 2015 to pursue a freelance career as director, actor and workshop facilitator. Ben Pettitt-Wade became Artistic Director in the same year, having been with the company in other capacities since 2007. Sarah Horner is now our Chief Executive Officer.
Founded originally as a co-operative, Hijinx is now a not-for-profit company, limited by guarantee, and a registered charity.