Noma Dumezweni Talks “Cursed Child” and Why Representation Matters
In a new interview with Nylon, Noma Dumezweni discusses what it’s like being Hermione on stage and why representation is essential in mainstream culture. The opening week of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child has been groundbreaking, and fans all over the world have something to say about the new generation of wizards. Noma, in conversation with Nylon magazine, discusses her initial reactions to discovering that she’d be portraying Hermione Granger.
How would I have even known a year ago I’d be playing Hermione on the West End? Shut up! That’s amazing.
Her casting set off a tirade of mixed reactions on the Internet. While most were positive, there were some fans who weren’t happy about it. Noma, in a very Hermione-like fashion, admits that this controversy had no impact on her ability to portray the character on stage.
The thing about Hermione being black, being an actress of color—I am. I just am. This is how I was born. This is it. I’m an actress first, and I am black second. That is actually my gift. I realized as I was growing up, it’s not good—I can’t do that part, I can’t do that part, I can’t be seen as that! But actually, if you play into those stories, if you play into that paradigm of what people’s assumptions are, then you don’t do stuff. You do stay limited. It’s always down to the work.
She goes on to talk about why representation makes a difference in how we view ourselves and the world.
We don’t see ourselves anywhere. The default is white. That’s the way the world has been. History is told by the winners. That’s as simple as that. In this day and age, we’re all conversing. We’re all in the same space. The more diverse an area, the more communication and ease. It’s true.
Hermione is one of the most headstrong and admired female characters in modern literature. The veteran stage actress also discusses the idea that she could be considered a role model, as her character often is.
The words ‘role model’ sit heavy on people. I wouldn’t choose it myself. I would say I am a lightning rod; the universe has given me moments where I can be a lightning rod for a lot of conversations. I’ve only just stepped into that thought recently.
There’s a lot more in the interview, which you can read here. Take a look at our Cursed Child spoiler chat on Facebook if you’re ready for some post-play/book discussions. What do you think about Noma as Hermione? Would you consider her a role model? Let us know in the comments!