Hijinx Theatre Company, a charity that pioneers the training of actors with learning disabilities, was heralded as one of the top three charities making an ‘Outstanding Impact’ at the UK final of the Lloyds Bank Foundations Charity Achievement Awards. Having already won the prize for Wales back in July, Hijinx was selected from almost 1000 entrants as the national Runner Up at the prestigious London ceremony on Thursday 8th Oct and received a £1000 prize.
Radio 4 Broadcaster and journalist Libby Purves compeered the ceremony, and Lord Blackwell, Chair of Lloyds Banking Group and Baroness Rennie Fritchie DBE, Chair of Lloyds Bank Foundation, were among those congratulating the seven winners and twelve runners up. Hijinx Theatre Company impressed the judges with their efforts to bring aspiring actors with learning disabilities to the stage and screen. The charity has set up several professional training academies across Wales for people with learning disabilities and its alumni have gone on to perform at Glastonbury, Edinburgh Festival and other notable venues.
The charity has not only positively affected the actors but has had an immeasurable impact on the families of the actors at Hijinx, as the mother of one actor reflected:
“High profile, adult role models with Down’s Syndrome remain a rare thing; the impact of individuals like Gareth (a lead actor) when given the right platform and support from Hijinx Theatre cannot be underestimated.”
Their commitment to providing disabled actors with an access to mainstream theatre and performance has gone towards making the arts more inclusive. By providing plays that reflects the rich diversity of life, they have in turn provided a more real and inclusive reflection of the world.
Paul Streets OBE, Chief Executive of Lloyds Bank Foundation of England and Wales said:
“We are delighted to celebrate the UK Runners Up from our Charity Achievement Awards. Hijinx Theatre Company has demonstrated excellent and inspiring practice and with this award is recognised for the outstanding impact they have made upon those they have worked with; delivering vital services and literally transforming lives. For over 30 years the Foundation has supported thousands of small and medium sized charities like Hijinx to tackle disadvantage in communities right across the England and Wales and we look forward to doing much more in the years to come.”
Clare Williams, Executive Director of Hijinx said, ‘Hijinx are thrilled to have the work we do endorsed by this prestigious award’.
Hijinx Theatre Company is one of the charities funded by Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales whose goal is to help people break out of disadvantage at critical points in their lives and promote practical approaches to lasting change. As part of their work to support small and medium sized charities, Hijinx has received £16,500 from the Foundation to support their running costs so that they might better support the people most in need of their help.