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Hijinx Theatre and Hugh James partner for pioneering Equality and Diversity training

Wales’ renowned inclusive theatre company, Hijinx, have partnered with top 100 UK law firm Hugh James for ‘What Is Discrimination?’, a brand new corporate training video starring neurodivergent actors and cameos from the law firm’s very own employees.

The innovative video, which premiered on Monday 21stJanuary, seeks to break stereotypes and shine a light on the seriousness of workplace discrimination by putting actors with learning disabilities and/or autism centre stage. Hijinx, who cast learning disabled actors in every single one of their productions, have over 60 professionally trained actors with Down’s syndrome, Autism, Asperger’s and other learning disabilities as part of their casting platform.

Actors Tom Powell, Fiona Wilson and Simon Gravelle all train at Hijinx Academies, which work to equip neurodivergent actors with the skills necessary to navigate the world of professional acting. In addition to training for and working on theatre and film productions, Hijinx Actors around Wales are involved in providing training for businesses in how to communicate well with vulnerable customers, clients, patients and service users.

Pip Thomas, Head of Learning & Development at Hugh James, said:

“For our newest Equality and Diversity training we wanted to create a dynamic, inventive video that brought attention to a number of challenges people can encounter within the workplace. The cameos from the Hugh James team, as well as the incredible actors from Hijinx, brought a natural humour to the film that makes it a very enjoyable watch, while emphasising the difficulties discrimination can cause.

“The film forms part of a wider partnership between Hugh James and Hijinx, which also included a series of training workshops focused on helping frontline staff communicate well with learning disabled and vulnerable clients.”

Vanessa Morse, Deputy Chief Executive at Hijinx Theatre, said:

“Hijinx Training is unique in that learning disabled and/or autistic actors are fundamentally involved in its delivery. Our actors bring authenticity and diversity to vulnerable customers training which is rarely seen in a business context. Time and again we hear from participants that they appreciate the opportunity to practice communicating with actors with learning disabilities and/or autism in a safe, non-judgmental environment.

“We hope that many other businesses around Wales will take note and follow Hugh James’s lead in making their training fully inclusive.”

The film brings to life the six different types of discrimination that people could encounter in the workplace, and will form part of the law firm’s mandatory Equality and Diversity training.