Cardiff-based Hijinx is celebrating the homecoming of their critically acclaimed production Meet Fred this September. The show, which features a cast of performers with and without learning disabilities and/or autism, is the most widely toured inclusive show in the world. To date it has been performed in 3 continents, 17 countries, 109 cities to over 20,000 people, and has been translated into 10 languages, including Chinese, Mandarin, Korean and Finnish. It will return to Cardiff’s Sherman Theatre for three nights this Autumn, before heading back out to tour across the globe.
Hijinx, in association with Blind Summit, first presented Meet Fred at a sell-out run at Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2016. Its razor-sharp script, potty-mouthed puppet and brilliant ensemble made it a winner of Wales Theatre Awards 2017’s Best Ensemble Award, and Hijinx recently won the prestigious The Stage ‘International’ Award 2019 for its work around the world.
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. NB – contains strong language and puppet nudity.
Meet Fred takes a timely look at what it is to be disadvantaged today. 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 going on a date or finding a job can present a myriad of problems.
Meet Fred’s cast includes two actors with Asperger Syndrome and one with Down’s syndrome. All three train in performance skills at Hijinx Academies, of which there are five across Wales.
Ben Pettit-Wade, Artistic Director at Hijinx, said:
“Touring Meet Fred across the globe over the past three years has been an incredible step for Hijinx. It’s been a privilege to see audiences all over the world react to Fred and relate to his story, which is utterly comical and totally universal all at once.”
Lindsay Foster, a Hijinx Actor with Asperger’s Syndrome who has been touring with Meet Fred since its inception, said:
“Working on Meet Fred has been a ball. When you work long enough you forget that Fred is a puppet. He is an actor who is almost always a pleasure to work with.”
Sherman Theatre’s Executive Director Julia Barry said:
“Following the success of Into the Light, for which we were project partners, we are looking forward to welcoming back Cardiff’s brilliant Hijinx back to Sherman Theatre. Hijinx are trailblazers in diversity, inclusion and creating excellent work, which are all of huge importance to the Sherman.”
Meet Fred is brought about through the generous support of Arts Council Wales, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and The Rayne Foundation.
Tickets are now on sale from the Sherman Theatre Box Office on 02920 646900 or via https://www.shermantheatre.co.uk. Meet Fred is enjoyable for audiences aged 14 and over.
Photograph by Tom Beardshaw