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Beneath the streets: An encounter in a hidden location in the heart of Cardiff

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Are things really as they seem in Cardiff’s bustling city centre? Beneath a veneer of respectability, Cardiff traders hide a secret. A dark and sinister underworld is thriving below their pleasant shop fronts, revealed only to those who dare to follow. 09 Jun 2014
Beneath the streets: An encounter in a hidden location in the heart of Cardiff
Hijinx Theatre and Punchdrunk Enrichment uncover the city’s secrets in their upcoming sitesympathetic theatre event, Beneath the Streets.

Audiences will be taken to a secret location within the city centre, steeped in history and invisible to passers-by. The 30 minute performance offers the curious an utterly different experience. A largely non-seated show, audiences are invited to roam through the space encountering characters and uncovering a story as the action unfolds all around them.

Beneath the streets is the exciting culmination of a two-week training course, hosted by Hijinx Theatre and led by Punchdrunk Enrichment, delving into Punchdrunk’s immersive theatre practice. The result is a site-sympathetic performance led by a cast of 25 artists and members of the Hijinx Academy, Hijinx’s professional training course for actors with learning disabilities.

Since its formation in 2000, London-based Punchdrunk has established an international reputation as a groundbreaking theatre company, creating epic worlds and immersive theatrical experiences that have won the company awards and a popular following - their current London production The Drowned Man: A Hollywood Fable has been seen by 150,000 people. Since 2008, Punchdrunk's Enrichment team has taken this immersive practice into communities, creating performances with and for children, young people and the wider community. The Enrichment team aims to give audiences and participants an unforgettable experience, which ignites and inspires their imaginations by involving them directly in an enthralling theatre story.

On Beneath the streets, Punchdrunk Enrichment Director Pete Higgin commented "We are constantly on the hunt for exciting and unusual new spaces and places to work in. Alongside this we’re looking for exciting new contexts to work within. We love the work that Hijinx facilitate and are really honoured to be working with their Academy and we know the work will be both challenging and stimulating for audiences and participants. Projects of this nature give us a chance to step into the unknown and we’re looking forward to this adventure and sharing our findings…"

In 2012, Hijinx established the Hijinx Academy, the first performance training course in Wales for actors with learning disabilities, with the aim of equipping them to work professionally in theatre, TV and radio. The cast of Beneath the streets includes nine learning disabled actors from the Academy, with disabilities including Down’s syndrome and Asperger’s. This project marks the beginning of a summer packed with performances for Hijinx Academy students, who will also feature in Hijinx productions at Glastonbury, Edinburgh Festival and at two German arts festivals.

A limited number of tickets are available for each performance due to its unique setting. Early booking is essential. Beneath the streets takes place on Friday 13th and Saturday 14th June at 18.30, 19.10, 20.10 and 20.50 in Cardiff city centre. Tickets are £5 and are available from Chapter Arts Centre by calling 029 2030 4400 or online at http://www.chapter.org/node/5588. The secret location will be revealed at the time of booking.

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