Hijinx Unity Festival 2016 launched

Published: 19 April 2016
Reporter: Othniel Smith

Meet Fred Credit: Hijinx
A Dream Play Credit: Moomsteatern

Details of The 8th Hijinx Unity Festival have been unveiled in a ceremony which was held on the Glanfa Stage of the Wales Millennium Centre.

Taking place between 27 June and 3 July 2016, the event will feature theatre companies inclusive of performers both with and without disabilities from several nations, and will consist of both ticketed and free events across a number of venues.

As in 2015, the launch took the form of a chat-show hosted by Matthew Purnell, an alumnus of the Hijinx Academy in Cardiff.

His first interviewee was Hijinx’s Chief Executive Clare Williams, who outlined the event’s history. From humble beginnings in 2007, it has since attracted support from host venue the Wales Millennium Centre, the Arts Council of Wales and the Welsh Government, and the 2015 festival attracted 25000 attendees over five days.

Acting Marketing Manager Zoe King then discussed the free festival events. These will include a weekend of open-air shows taking place in the Hayes area of Cardiff city centre, including a walkabout performance of Romeo and Juliet from the locally-based Taking Flight Theatre Company, and the chance to see work by France’s Zim Zam and Blaumeier-Atelier from Germany.

There will also be two opportunities to see London-based Candoco Theatre Company performing a piece choreographed by Arlene Phillips at the WMC. And, as in 2015, there will be a Schools Day, aimed at familiarising Key Stage 1 and 2 pupils with the concept of inclusive performance.

The final guest was company Artistic Director Ben Pettitt-Wade, who was joined by his puppet co-star in the show Meet Fred, to announce that it would be taking up residence at The Other Room at Porters throughout the period of the festival, prior to being presented on the Edinburgh Fringe.

He also flagged up the world première of Swedish company Moomsteatern’s adaptation of Strindberg’s A Dream Play, as well as a flamenco-based performance by Seville’s Compañía Danza Mobile; both taking place at the WMC’s Weston Studio.

Late evening presentations, at the WMC’s Dance House, will include Cabaret of Blood (from Told By An Idiot and Hijinx) and Caroline Bowditch’s Falling In Love With Frida, a show inspired by the work of Frida Kahlo, which won the Herald Angel Award at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2014.

The launch concluded with a performance by inclusive band Vaguely Artistic, who will also be in evidence during the Unity Festival.