20 June 2016

Must-see hijinks at the Hijinx Unity Festival 

Returning for the ninth time, Hijinx Unity Festival is an annual celebration of performance with a difference. Showcasing the impressive talent amongst the international inclusive and disability arts scene, the festival is both entertaining and inspirational. 
 
Rather than being housed in one place, the performances are spread across Cardiff from 23rd June to 3rd July, using The Other Room (Cardiff’s first pub theatre) at Porter's and Wales Millennium Centre as hubs, and the streets of the city as open theatre spaces. 
 
At the centre of the festival is the Weekend on the Hayes, where one of the main shopping streets will be transformed into a feast for the eyes and ears with pop-up stages, aerial antics and wandering street performers, all of which will be free to experience. 
 
This year's festival is full of variety, from roaming theatre troops and spooky nighttime cabaret sessions to non-PC puppetry and crazy circus acts. Here are our picks of the programme. 

Mini-Fest 
1 July, Wales Millennium Centre 

This is the ultimate festival taster menu! Grab a seat at the Glanfa stage and be treated to a sample of some of the very best inclusive theatre from the festival. Covering all aspects of the programme - dance, comedy, theatre, circus - and featuring unpredictable surprises, it's a great way to get a feel for the full-length performances and the world of inclusive theatre.  

Scene from Taking Flight Theatre Company's performance, 'Scenes From A Suitcase'

Scene from Taking Flight Theatre Company's performance, 'Scenes From A Suitcase' by Hijinx Unity Festival

Romeo & Juliet 
2 & 3 July, The Hayes  

You may feel like you already know the story of Romeo and Juliet, but we doubt that you've seen it in this reinvented format. Cranked forward some 600 years, the love story is set in 1963 Verona at the annual college Boat Race. The Montague versus Capulet battle is reimagined as an endurance test; which team will make it over the line first? 
 
Of course, this wouldn't be Shakespeare without social commentary, class divides and romance. Performed by Taking Flight, a visual theatre company that gives opportunity to people who have traditionally been under-represented in the acting world, it will be a musical promenade performance with laughs and love a-plenty.  

Cabaret of Blood 
29 & 30 June, NDCW Dance House

The internationally renowned theatre company Told by an Idiot have wowed audiences worldwide with their collaborative writing, playful storytelling and wonderfully chaotic physicality. Here, they've been invited by Hijinx to team up with 20 actors for a piece of original theatre based on a calamitous knife-throwing performance. Sure to be full of wit, poetry, noise and blood!  

Falling in Love with Frida 
2 July, NDCW Dance House 

Painter Frida Kahlo has been an icon of folk art, feminism and serious eyebrows for longer than she lived, but we rarely hear about the lady behind the monobrow. Cue Glasgow-based performer Caroline Bowditch, who has spent many an hour digging into Kahlo's life and turned it into an award-winning intimate show. You'll discover lesser known facts about the artist (for example, that she loved tequila) through the medium of performance.  

Performer in 'Falling In Love With Frida'

Performer in 'Falling In Love With Frida' by Hijinx Unity Festival
 

Festival Party 
2 July, Wales Millennium Centre  

What better way to celebrate the incredible talent brought together by Hijinx's festival than with a night of music, dancing and drinks at Wales Millennium Centre's brand new live music venue, Ffresh? Headlined by Vaguely Artistic, Hijinx's own inclusive punk band, it should be a fun night you won't forget! 
 

Make sure you head over to the Hijinx Unity Festival website for more information and a full round up of the performances and events.