J.K.Rowling’s Harry Potter novels went on to spawn one of the biggest movie franchises of all time. The last book in the series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, was published in 2007, and the final film in the franchise, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (the book was spilt into 2 parts for the film adaptation), arrived in 2011.
The stories of Harry Potter and his magical, wizarding life has also spawned one of the biggest fandoms around, and fans fervour has shown no signs of dying out. Rowling has been instrumental in keeping the love for Harry Potter alive; writing regularly for Pottermore, the interactive Harry Potter website, revealing titbits of character’s back stories as time has gone on, and scripting Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them - the upcoming feature film starring Eddie Redmayne. In June this year, Rowling gifted fans once again with the announcement of a stage play, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.
The play was originally thought to be a prequel focusing on Harry before he attended Hogwarts, but Rowling soon dismissed that idea, and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was confirmed to make its debut in London’s West End in summer 2016. New details have now emerged about the play and in fact, it will serve as a sequel to the original Harry Potter stories, set 19 years after the events of Deathly Hallows. The full synopsis (originally released on Pottermore), along with the artwork for the show, can be found below.
"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 artwork for the show was released in a short YouTube video, showing a small child inside a winged nest- looking remarkably like a golden snitch.
Billed as the eight part of the series, The Cursed Child play is based on a new story written by Rowling, along with Jack Thorne and John Tiffany. Thorne is a British screenwriter currently also adapting Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman for the big screen. He has previously teamed with Tony award-winning Tiffany for the stage adaptation of Swedish horror movie, Let The Right One In.
In a joint statement, Rowling, Thorne and Tiffany said:
“It is very exciting to explore Harry's world in a brand new way through the live form of theatre. Collaborating on this story is exhilarating for all of us and we can't wait to present the eighth story at the Palace Theatre next summer."
Meanwhile, Rowling added:
"The story only exists because the right group of people came together with a brilliant idea about how to present Harry Potter on stage. I'm confident that when audiences see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child they will understand why we chose to tell this story in this way."
Rowling will also serve as a co-producer on the play, which will be staged in two parts. Audiences will be able to buy tickets admitting them to both parts of the play, which will be staged together on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays - with part one being a matinee and part two being an evening performance, and individually on Thursdays (part one) and Fridays (part two).
No casting has yet been announced for the play, which will have 30 actors involved, but the fact that it’s a sequel set 19 years later does possibly leave the door open for some of the original actors to return to their roles in some capacity. Don’t get too excited, though; Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson are all unlikely to appear!
Tickets for the show go on sale from October 28th for those registered for priority booking, and on general sale from October 30th. Demand is expected to be huge and it’s little wonder. Ever since Deathly Hallows was released, many have wondered how Harry, Ron, Hermione, and their families fared in the following years. Now we finally have our chance to find out.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child begins previews at The Palace Theatre, London on June 7th, 2016