Bringing Magic to the Stage with “Cursed Child” Scenic Designer Christine Jones

The magical world created by Christine Jones in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child has attracted thousands of fans from all over the world. Her set famously differed from the world we saw in the films and even won a Tony Award last year. Jones recently sat down with Elite Daily to discuss the experience and responsibility she felt about bringing such a beloved world to the stage:

We had an acute awareness that we were handling material that is world-wide revered and that we needed to treat it with deep care and respect for all of the fans and the reverence that so many people have for this cannon of work. It was a unique challenge and unique awareness that really made it different from other projects I’ve worked on. We really had a responsibility to treat the material with great care and respect.

In the films, designers had the help of CGI and camera tricks to make the magic happen. Onstage, Jones had to employ different methods:

We were very clear from the beginning that the movies created magic with a certain cinematic effect. It was our challenge and our opportunity to create magic with a different vocabulary, through stage-craft magic and live magic.

Though many of the iconic elements from the films remain, Jones got the chance to completely revamp many of the logos and designs we all remember and love:

We created our own design separate from the movie and the imagery that is already in existence. It was our task to create our own imagery, so we referred to the book to see how it had been described and then we got to create all our own designs for the wands and the logos. Getting to see them on stage was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Like, who gets to design a Gryffindor logo or design a wand for Harry Potter?

We love the new designs, but how did original creator J.K. Rowling feel about them? Jones says that the author gave her input on the changes with the grace we’ve come to expect from Queen Jo:

She came to a few of the rehearsals and we presented the set design with her to get her blessing along the way. She was incredibly generous throughout the process, to give all the artists her confidence in handling the material, and it was very exciting to meet her, of course.

As new productions of Cursed Child open around the world, so do more iterations of Christine Jones’s incredible set. Read more from her interview here, and be sure to keep an eye out for more of this designer’s stunning creations!

Gayané Kaligian

Gayane has been writing about Harry Potter since the fourth grade, when she wrote her first five-paragraph essay on why Percy Weasley’s buffoonery could have led to Voldemort winning. These days, she’s still talking about the Weasley brothers, but it’s mostly about how overlooked Charlie is. In her free time, you can find her researching stunt choreography and geeking out over theater.