Noma Dumezweni’s Community Applauds Her Casting

Earlier this week, news broke that Harry Potter and the Cursed Child had cast its Harry, Ron, and Hermione. To the surprise of many, an actress of color, the Laurence Olivier Award-winning Noma Dumezweni, was cast to portray Hermione Granger. Not surprised by the news, however, were Dumezweni’s family and friends, according to the London Evening Standard.

The paper, which put Dumezweni on its cover, quotes the actress’s sister, Mandisa, as saying,

We are all delighted for her. She is a great actress and will be excellent in the part. [Hermione] is a strong character, and the family [is] all very proud of her. She is really thrilled, and we all support her; I can’t wait to see the play.

When asked about the debate surrounding her sister’s casting, she said,

Everyone has their own views. I think it is all good.

The Evening Standard writes that Dumezweni, who was born in Swaziland to South African parents, arrived in Britain at age seven. Previously, she had lived in Botswana, Kenya, Swaziland, and Uganda, after her parents fled apartheid in South Africa.

Dumezweni was then raised in Suffolk, where she and her sister were “two of four non-white students out of 1,500.” During that time, she developed her talent for theater at the Wolsey Youth Theatre in Ipswich. Rob Salmon, associate director at the theater, said,

She is an inspiration. It is no great surprise that she has gone on to do great things. Everyone who knew her saw what a talent she is.

He echoed the statement made by Dumezweni’s sister:

We champion diversity here, and she will be brilliant in the role of Hermione. It’s people like Noma who give the message to the kids that they have permission to succeed. It will spur them on.

Michelle Van Ebo, a drama teacher and close friend of Dumezweni’s, also commented on the casting:

She is thrilled with getting the part. It is very positive that a black actress is representing Hermione in the play – there is no reason why the part should not be played by a black actor.

J.K. Rowling and playwright Jack Thorne have already taken to Twitter to address the casting choices.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child begins previews in May and has its world premiere on July 30.

What do you think of Dumezweni’s casting?