Inclusivity is at the heart of what leading inclusive arts company Hijinx do. For over 20 years, they’ve created incredible performances with learning-disabled and/or autistic artists both on stage and on screen Now, they’re putting all that experience and knowledge into ReFocus their new inclusion training programme.

Designed for people working in the screen sector in Wales, the project aims to address the

lack of representation of learning-disabled and/or autistic artists and crew. The programme, which was one of our Creative Skills Fund recipients for 2023/24, has been developed with support from Bad Wolf, Boom Cymru, Screen Alliance Wales, Rondo, S4C and Triongl.

As part of the programme, those working in the industry – whether freelance or part of a bigger company – can take part in a one-day training course. The relaxed sessions focus on group discussions and interactive role-play hosted by Hijinx actors and experienced facilitators. The aim of the session? To guide participants through everyday scenarios by providing real-life examples from situations on set, in post-production and during the development stages of a screen project. The programme hopes to enhance skills and confidence when communicating with learning disabled and/or autistic adults on set, reflect on communication styles and improve understanding of communication needs and preferences in an inclusive environment.

As well as the one-day course, ReFocus also provide a consultancy service where companies can receive ongoing support from Hijinx actors and trained staff. Using their knowledge and experience, they can be on hand to suggest suitable changes to workplace environments or offer guidance on best practice language and action. 

The second major part of this project involves the establishment of a Creative Enabler Agency. For learning-disabled and/or autistic actors and crew working on set, ReFocus can provide Creative Enablers – skilled and experienced individuals who can offer support. They can, for example, help workers understand documents, liaise with crew, or simply be there to make them feel more comfortable and at ease. As one of our Creative Skills Fund recipients, our funding will support the training of a pool of CEs who can then be booked by productions across Wales.

If you want to find out more about our Creative Skills Fund, head here. You can also discover more about ReFocus and the work Hijinx do by heading to their website.

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