Sunday 21st June 2017 marks the final performance of the original cast of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, currently playing at the Palace Theatre, London. Directed by John Tiffany, and based on a brand new story by J. K. Rowling and Jack Thorne, the production received its world premiere in the West End last summer.
It's safe to say that this ambitious project has come on quite the journey since it was first put into the rehearsal room over one year ago. If you hadn't heard already, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the iconic boy-wizard series, and the first to be presented on stage. A little reminder of where we revisit these famous friends on stage...
It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn't much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.
While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.
The production opened to rave reviews in June 2016. In fact, due to phenomenal success during previews, the opening night was brought forward. And critics weren't shy on the compliments... With more stars than Gryffindor house points, here's what they had to say:
'A magical experience'
★★★★★'It is out of this world, it's magic, and it's a hit'
'The magical marvel we've been waiting for'
The Sunday Times
Take a look back at the creative team and minds behind the show at the glamourous gala performance here:
On 6th July 2016, Hermione met Hermione as Emma Watson attended the performance. Afterwards she posted an image of herself and Noma Dumuzwemi to Facebook with the following caption, praising the actress' performance:
"I came in with no idea what to expect and it was AMAZING. Some things about the play were, I think, possibly even more beautiful than the films. Having seen it I felt more connected to Hermione and the stories than I have since Deathly Hallows came out, which was such a gift."
"Meeting Noma and seeing her on stage was like meeting my older self and have her tell me everything was going to be alright, which as you can imagine was immensely comforting (and emotional)! Noma was everything I could ever hope she would be. She's wonderful."
Harry Potter fans all over the country flocked to bookshops in the middle of the night on July 31st to be one of the first to get their hands on the published hardback version of the Cursed Child script. The paper version of the production was released in bookshops all over the world, eight years after the seventh novel was released.
Since it's opening, the show has taken Theatreland by storm, with tickets selling out almost instantly at every release. Check here for more information on how you can get tickets when they're released.
Cursed Child has won twenty-two major theatre awards in the UK since opening last summer, including the Evening Standard Best Play Award.
In April 2017, the production broke records when it won nine Olivier awards including Best Actor In a Play for Jamie Parker as Harry, Best Supporting Actress in a Play for Noma Dumuzweni as Hermione and Best New Play. Newcomer Anthony Boyle also picked up the award for Best Supporting Actor in a Play for his performance as Scorpius Malfoy. The production was also awarded for Best Lighting, Best Sound Design, and Best Costume Design. Additionally, John Tiffany was celebrated for his involvement in the production, picking up the award for Best Direction.
However, the Oliviers weren't the first time the play broke records during awards season. Back in February 2017, Cursed Child picked up a record-breaking eight WhatsOnStage awards which are voted for solely by the public. Once again, Jamie Parker, Noma Dumuzweni, and Anthony Boyle were awarded for their performances picking up Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress and Best Supporting Actor among other awards for production elements including set, lighting and video design.
Wednesday 24th May will see the brand new cast take to the stage for the very first time. Stepping into the roles are Jamie Glover (Waterloo Road) as Harry Potter, Thomas Aldridge (Les Miserables, Queens Theatre) as best friend Ron Weasley, and Rakie Ayola (Holby City) as Hermione Granger.
Making their West End debuts are Samuel Blenkin as Scorpius Malfoy and Theo Ancient as Albus Potter. James Howard, an original member of the Cursed Child company will step up into the role of Draco Malfoy:
And that's not all! In 2018 Harry Potter and the Cursed Child will get its Broadway premiere at the Lyric Theatre, Broadway with opening night scheduled for 22 April 2018. Tickets go on sale later this year, with further information on casting due in the coming months. Find out more here.
As they approach their final performance at the Palace Theatre, whilst the original cast will inevitably celebrate with a butterbeer or two, we think some Felix Felicis (the good luck potion for those Muggles out there) might be more appropriate...
A hearty congratulations to all cast members that are handing the baton over this weekend, and we it's only appropriate to leave you with some of their thoughts on their time spent with this smashing production.
Noma Dumuzweni (Hermione)
"I didn't realise the emotional effect. Not on me, but on other people. That's why I talk about it as a privilege and a responsibility. The reason those books are so powerful is because you find your own archetype within them. I've spoken too much already. Will it be a good thing for theatre? Oh my god, yes."
Jamie Parker (Harry)
- The Stage
"Honestly, I would have gone into a completely unknown project totally blind if it was with this team. They are all people I wanted to work with, and I wouldnt have minded what it was, I would have trusted them to make something out of it.
Paul Thornley (Ron)
"My children finally think Im doing something worthwhile, says Thornley, who has two daughters, Katy-Ann, 16, and Florence, eight. Thats glorious. I could be playing Hamlet at the RSC and they wouldnt give a monkeys, but Ron Weasley its got currency in the playground. Suddenly Im worth talking to.