SECRET SPACES: SARAH HORNER
Hijinx are one of Wales’ leading theatre companies, producing five-star work with neurodivergent actors. Buzz caught up with new CEO Sarah Horner, set to take the troupe to greater heights.
How will your past experience with the BBC National Orchestra & Chorus Of Wales assist in your new role?
I worked at BBC NOW for just over 12 years, managing the marketing, communications and digital team. It’s been an amazing time, working on tours across the globe, developing our concert live streams, and finding new ways for audiences to engage with classical music. We’ve also done a lot of work with schools and special schools here in Wales and further afield – including Patagonia – showing how brilliant the arts can be in creating a more inclusive society. All of this feeds right into Hijinx, using the arts to connect with people and making all of our lives richer.
What do you admire about Hijinx’s work?
When I visited some of the Academy sessions, they were tremendously welcoming and open. I love the energy, boldness and variety in the work that Hijinx do; the breadth of performances and the way in which Hijinx actors help us to reimagine the world. Hijinx really do change the lives of hundreds of neurodivergent people in Wales, and impact their families and communities for good.
How do you plan to promote Hijinx’s body of work and brand in Wales and on an international platform?
Hijinx have had an incredible few years touring internationally with their productions, Meet Fred in particular, and we’ll be continuing that. Back in Wales I’m keen to promote the range of work that the company does, from their Academies providing professional training to almost 700 neuro-divergent actors, to Hijinx Pawb, a Wales-wide network of community drama courses for everyone who wants to act, regardless of ability or experience. Not to mention our vulnerable customers training, helping businesses to communicate well with vulnerable and neurodivergent people; and, of course, there’s Hijinx Actors, a unique Welsh casting platform for nearly 70 professionally trained actors with Down’s syndrome, Autism, Asperger’s and other learning disabilities.
What would you like to implement during your new role as CEO at Hijinx?
I think my job at Hijinx is to support our outstanding team in continuing to break down barriers and to find the opportunities for them to do that here in Wales and on the world stage. I want to see Hijinx continue to grow and flourish, changing people’s lives. Hijinx want to see a neurodivergent actor winning an Oscar by 2030!
If you could recommend one place in Wales to a first-time visitor that’s off the beaten track, where would it be and why?
I’ve just come back from a weekend in west Wales, visiting the stunning beaches at Tresaith, Aberporth, and Penbryn – the coastal path there is a gorgeous walk, best rounded off with an ice cream on the beach.