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A Q and A with Ad Infinitum's Nir Paldi!

Nir Paldi is co-artistic director of Ad Infinitum, who will be coming to the Corn Exchange in February half term with their family show Chloe and the Colour Catcher. The production follows the story of Chloe, who lives in a completely grey world ruled by the Grey Queen. But Chloe dreams of colour, and decides to fight for what she believes in to unleash all seven shades of rainbow. We spoke to Nir to find out a bit more about the show, and to hear his thoughts on creating theatre for families.

Hi Nir! Could you tell us a bit more about the kind of message you want children to take from Chloe and the Colour Catcher?
The message is of bravery and standing up for what you believe in. Chloe finds herself in a situation where she's the only one who believes something isn't right in the way people experience life and what is allowed and not allowed. She has this urge to do something about it and she can’t repress it although the pressure to do so is strong. She challenges the authorities and at the end she brings about real change.

Why do you think it is important for children to experience theatre?
Theatre is a space in which everything is possible and your wildest dreams can come true. I think theatre should be a liberating space, a provocative space encouraging creativity and validating different and diverse ways of thinking and being. Developing empathy is also a big big thing as you might see a character that is just like you on stage but you might also see a character that is the complete opposite and through the story that is being told you are able to understand the other person's point of view and their feelings. Theatre also brings people together in one of the most ancient human activities - the telling/listening of a story.

Do you remember when you were first introduced to the arts?

Art is all around us. I guess the first time I was introduced to art was the first time I heard a piece of music on the radio as a baby. In terms of what I remember - my parents reading me beautiful bedtime stories full of adventures and animals facing difficult decisions, making mistakes and learning from them. I remember my dad telling me stories so I would eat my food - we'd play this game where if I refused to eat he'd stop telling the story - like a storytelling machine that worked as long as you ate your lunch. I remember having music lessons and drama classes in kindergarten and seeing a beautiful and super imaginative version of Peter Pan that afterwards my sister and I watched obsessively around 300 times on VHS.

What can families do to encourage an interest in the arts?

I think the most important thing is not to limit your child's curiosity. Go with it - you might learn from your children and rediscover some sense of play you lost or that was taken away from you a long time ago. I think we are born with a desire to connect with others and understand others. A sense of curiosity, it's important to make sure you encourage that in your child and their love for art will follow I believe.

Have you got any advice for families visiting the theatre for the first time?

I think theatre should be a place where children feel free - so there's a real balance between encouraging young people to engage with the story and between making them feel like they can't move and mustn't make a sound throughout the performance. Also, if you took your child to the theatre and it was unfortunately not a good show - don't give up! Like food - if you go to a restaurant and it's not great you wouldn't stop eating - theatre is essential and makes life so so so much richer. So you should persevere because when the magic happens and you are completely transported - it's one of the most beautiful things in the world.

“Entertaining and funny, but also full of significant meaning... can’t recommend enough ★★★★★” Bristol Post

Chloe and the Colour Catcher will be at the Corn Exchange, Newbury on Wednesday 19 & Thursday 20 February. Click here to find out more about Chloe and the Colour Catcher.