Learning Disability Today
Supporting professionals working in learning disability and autism services

Inclusive theatre company embarks on UK tour of production

Hijinx TheatreA theatre company that includes people with learning disabilities is about to tour the UK with its hit comedy production, before moving on to a European tour later this year.

Cardiff-based inclusive theatre company Hijinx, in association with puppetry company Blind Summit are launching their show, Meet Fred, on a 50+ date tour around the UK, beginning on January 20 at Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff. Following the UK tour, Meet Fred will be touring Germany, Spain, Czech Republic and Holland. This tour follows a sell-out run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2016.

Meet Fred is described as a snapshot into the life of a potty-mouthed puppet with a feisty personality 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. Please note this show contains strong language and puppet nudity, so is recommended for over-14s only.

Meet Fred looks 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 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”.

The Meet Fred tour 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.

Hijinx’s artistic director and director/actor in Meet Fred, Ben Pettitt-Wade, said: “We are delighted to be bringing Fred to venues across the UK and Europe. The response we have had from audiences so far has been staggering and humbling. It is a bittersweet moment for Hijinx as we launch the largest tour in the company’s history, but without the talented actor and friend who has journeyed with us for so many years – Martin Vick. We will endeavour to move audiences in the way that he always did, with biting wit and touching poignancy.

A full tour schedule for Meet Fred is available here.

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