‘Reading changes view of the world’

Oxford Mail: James Erskine James Erskine

James Erskine, the director of Creation Theatre, has put his backing behind the Oxfordshire Reading Campaign.

The theatre puts on performances in unusual locations, such as the rooftop amphitheatre of the Said Business School, and bring literary classics to the stage, such as the works of Shakespeare like The Merchant of Venice.

He said: “Creation exists to share great stories. We want our audiences to fall in love with the classic works of literature and drama.

“It’s so important for children to feel they have the right to read everything they can get their hands on and that there’s no such thing as ‘too difficult’.”

Questions and answers

What was your favourite book when you were small and why did you love it?

My godmother gave me a copy of The World According to Garp when I was about 13 or 14, it was her favourite book.

I remember it was the first ‘grown up’ book I read and I loved it at the time.

It’s really only started to make sense and touch the real world since I became a dad, and yes, I do still have that copy.

Tell me about the books you most enjoy reading to your children?

He’s only 19 months old but Each Peach Pear Plum by Janet and Allan Ahlberg is a firm favourite at the moment.

He seems mesmerised by the rhythm and the illustrations.

As every parent can probably attest there’s something amazing about young children’s desire to repeat the book they love, it’s a need we largely lose as adults.

Why do you believe it is important for children to read?

Hopefully reading changes your perception of the world.

When you read something, whether it’s a newspaper article, a novel or a play you internalise the information, you feel it’s yours and it shapes your perspective.

Reading allows other thoughts to run parallel with whatever you’re taking in, you apply your own imagination and values and come out with something unique that no one else reading that thing sees in quite the same way.

Tickets for Creation’s Christmas show Aladdin and The Magical Lamp, at The North Wall, Summertown, are on sale now.

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