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Q&A: Stevie from Hi-5 on his NIDA training, knitted sheep and being wise

Stevie Nicholson from Hi-5As parents we all know that entertaining small children isn’t easy. They don’t have a long attention span and they don’t mind telling you if you’re a bit crap.

I guess that’s why we all have the greatest of respect for those people who entertain children for a living. It’s a tough job and somehow they make it look easy … like child’s play!

One of the most successful children’s entertainment group is Hi-5 and here we chat with the group’s longest-serving current member Stevie Nicholson about funny things kids say, his advice for new Hi-5ers and his own favourite TV shows.

Q. Stevie, as the long-serving member of the current Hi-5 line-up are you considered the wise one? What advice to do have for newer members?

Haha. Yes, it’s been quite a journey and it’s been lovely to have worked with so many past and present Hi-5ers. I do enjoy watching each cast member evolve and discover their Hi-5 persona. I encourage each member to be as free as possible. Essentially they are playing themselves so how can they really stuff that up?

Q. What personality traits do you require to be a good children’s entertainer?

I think with Hi-5 whilst it’s important to tick all the boxes as a singer and a dancer it’s much more about the individual character and personality traits. When looking for a new member we are drawn to very genuine people who have a strong sense of themselves; if they can present strongly as themselves it makes it a lot easier for a child to connect with them.

Q. Do you have a song stuck in your head right now? What it is?

Bruno Mars Uptown Funk. That boy sure can sing and dance! He would have made a great Hi-5er!!

Q. Are you often recognised in public? Where is the weirdest place you’ve been recognised?

Yes, you do get recognised and it’s always lovely getting a hug or a photo with a little Hi-5 fan. Overseas it does get pretty hectic! I’ve been in the toilets at a shopping mall, open the door to leave and been greeted by 15 dads wanting photos for their kids!

Q. What is the funniest thing a child has ever said to you?

Whilst looking at a sheep the kid asked me “who knitted it?” absolutely brilliant!

Q. What is the most rewarding part of being in Hi-5?

It sounds clichéd but it really is the kids. The opportunity to sing, dance and entertain children and families is an incredible honour. To work as an ambassador for World Vision and The Starlight Foundation is what drives me to continue working in Hi-5! It’s what it is all about.

Q. Being a children’s entertainer isn’t just something anyone can do – you’ve trained at NIDA and studied Shakespeare at the Royal Academy in London! How does this training help you now?

I think my training has given me the discipline required to have a long career in Hi-5. We are pushed both physically and mentally doing three stage shows a day and it’s nice to be able to call on my training to help me navigate my way through each show. You need to be continually switched on and “thinking” on stage and it helps keep each show new and different.

Q. What were your favourite shows/entertainers when you were a child?

I grew up watching Play School and Sesame Street and they had a huge influence over my childhood. I still find myself captivated by the magic of these programs and their ability to connect with their audience.

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Hi-5 has just announced a NSW tour for the upcoming January school holidays. For details of the tour visit the Hi-5 Club website.

Image credit:The Photo Studio Glebe; Comercial; Jude Stevens; Hi-5http://www.hi-5world.com/content/default.aspx

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