Theatre in Wales

Plays and dance productions in Wales since 1982...

Out of Fear by devised by the company
First presented in 2000 by Hijinx Theatre

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Out of Fear by devised by the company
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Around south Wales
HIJINX Theatre company has built an excellent reputation as one of Wales’s most original stage companies.
It is also unique in the work it does with people with learning disabilities through the Odyssey project and as part of this week’s Disability Week it is performing two separate productions.

On tour around Wales is Out of Fear a production examining the issue of bullying and there are two performances of a new work The Other Robinson Crusoe.

Out of Fear examines the relationship between three female friends and the strain they feel when one in the group begins to bully one of her friends.

The subject matter is pertinent to people with learning disabilities who can find themselves the targets of cowardly bullies.

Last year a Mencap report revealed that 88 per cent of people with learning disabilities were bul-lied in the 12 months prior to the survey.

The cast consists of three professional actors - Karin Diamond, well-known for her roles in Tiger Bay and EastEnders, Alison O’Con-nell, one of the founding members of the Steel Wasp Company, and Louise Morgan.

The artistic director of Hijinx Theatre, and one of the founders of the 18-year-old company, Gaynor Loughor, said, “The arts are important for everybody. Theatre is a wonderful medium for people to take part in.

“If we were a truly inclusive society and we didn’t make differences matter then we wouldn’t need Disability Week.”

While Hijinx is a professional company, employing professional actors and staff, Odyssey is a project based theatre group geared for the community and people with learning disabilities and built around an idea of inclusiveness.

It is funded by a three-year Lottery grant from the Arts Council of Wales.

Its latest product, The Other Robinson Crusoe, is a devised piece loosely based on the classic Defoe novel which plays on the misconceptions most people have about it.

“Most people know the bare bones - Robinson Crusoe shipwrecked on a desert island, with a shaggy beard and sees a footprint in the sand and finds Man Friday,” said Gaynor Loughor.

The play is acted and presented by members of Odyssey Theatre. “The only criteria for joining Odyssey Theatre is an interest in acting and performance so it is really a diverse group of people, ranging from some as young

as 18 to people in their 60s.

“Part of it is about having a good time. The work brings people together.

“There are people who are labelled but what Odyssey Theatre is

about is nothing to do with disability at all - we are a group of people interested in making theatre and performing and it doesn’t matter who or what you are, or what ability you have for performance.

“No-one goes through an audition. Odyssey Theatre is not trying to be a professional theatre company.

“We do create two shows a year and we always have an interest in the arts for people with learning disabilities.”

Out of Fear is on tour across Wales. For information call 029 20
Darren Waters

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