From One Academy to Another: Charli Ward Visits Hijinx in Cardiff

By Charli Ward, Academy Director
23 February 2017

Last week, I spent a few days with Hijinx – an inclusive professional theatre company based in Cardiff, Wales that tour small-scale theatre throughout the UK and Europe. Like Mind the Gap they train actors with learning disabilities to a professional level through their Academy programmes.

I was lucky enough to spend some time with one of their South Academies, who work two days a week developing their performance skills at Chapter Arts Centre, watching what they do and talking to the creative team about their work.

I spent the first day observing the students work on their acting techniques as an ensemble and starting preparations for their end of year sharing. The morning of the second day I joined the students in their movement session where they were developing contact improvisation skills. The afternoon was spent looking at an exhibition by Nástio Mosquito in the arts centre, expanding the student’s knowledge of others art forms and discussing what we thought.

It was wonderful to see a similar organisation at work and spend some time with the students. In just a couple of days I got a real sense of the training that the Hijinx Academies deliver and the wide range of skills they develop. As Academy Director at Mind the Gap I spend most of my days running sessions and making work, so it was great to get involved and join in and I left feeling inspired and full of ideas!

My visit has inspired me to think about what’s next for Mind the Gap’s Academy. We’re a very busy company and there is always lots to do, but getting out and seeing other work is really refreshing and has really got my creative juices flowing!

Thank you to Hijinx for having me and making me feel very welcome!