To connect to the child within, Geoff Cobham turned to his favourite childhood book: Harold and the Purple Crayon.
“It’s a children’s book written in the 1950s and it’s never gone out of print. It’s about a little boy who is alone in the world and all he has is a purple crayon. And with that crayon he creates his world,” explains Cobham. “That book was very inspirational to me as a child, and is one of the reasons I’m in theatre and have the confidence to do what I do.”
“The whole world is from a child’s point of view, so Harold can draw a tiny little miniature town and then step up into it as if he’s a giant. Harold draws his world and makes sense of it. It gives him a sense of agency and control and lets him experience things and answer questions, big questions, on his own terms. The book really captures exactly what it’s like, I think, to explore as a child.”
In Zooom, the character of Harold takes the form of a tiny ember of light, rather than a crayon, guiding an unnamed narrator through a series of lessons that take her into thrilling new worlds. The ember plays with the girl, teaches her and then turns himself into various figures and pictures.