Magical Homecoming: Rehearsals Begin for Melbourne’s “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child”
In December 2020, it was announced that Melbourne’s production of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child would resume on February 25, 2021. After ten long months, the cast and crew reunited earlier this week for the first day of rehearsals. As Harry struggled with the long summers at Privet Drive, longing to return to Hogwarts, a place he called home, so too did the cast and crew struggle with being away from the stage.
Last year, due to the rising concerns of COVID-19, Melbourne’s production of Cursed Child reduced audience capacity for all performances starting on March 16. However, under advisement from the Australian government, all scheduled performances following March 15 were canceled through April 12. The production continued to see further suspension until December 2020, when it was announced that performances would resume in late February 2021.
During their hiatus, the cast and crew, like all of us, learned to adjust to pandemic life. Manali Datar, who plays Rose Granger-Weasley in her theatrical debut, recalled struggling with living a life without the strict regiment of theater. Initially clinging onto the character of middle-aged Harry Potter in his mind, as the pandemic continued and the production was continually postponed, Gareth Reeves eventually let go of the character and learned to “live [his] life, be present, go for walks, [and] make bread.”
The Sydney Morning Herald reported on the first day of rehearsals and noted associate director Noami Edwards’s words to the cast and crew: “As theatre people, this is our home, so this is our homecoming.” She later added of the rehearsals, “A lot of emotions are welling up for us – tears, excitement, a bit of fear, uncertainty and also the passion to come back.”
After nearly a year away from the stage, the actors quickly reembodied their characters for an emotional reunion. Similar to Reeves, Lucy Goleby temporarily discarded the character and believed that she would never play Ginny Potter again. She recalled performing her first line at rehearsal and how she “was about to burst into tears. [She] didn’t know if [she]’d ever get to say that line again.” Having returned to rehearsals and appreciating the stage after a long absence, Reeves likely spoke for everyone with this sentiment:
I’m very excited and thrilled to be back, but I’m not taking anything for granted. None of us are.
There certainly is a breathtaking amount of passion for their craft, which will likely be on full display on the stage next month.
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Performances of Melbourne’s Cursed Child will resume with COVID-19 safety measures in place, which include a reduced 85% audience capacity. Cast and crew will also be subject to strict sanitization procedures, weekly mandatory COVID-19 testing, and required mask-wearing when not in costume, in makeup, or onstage.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child at the Princess Theatre, Melbourne, is scheduled to return on February 25, 2021. Tickets are available for purchase now.
Have you been anxiously waiting for the return of Australia’s Cursed Child production? Do you feel comfortable with the safety precautions the production has set up? Are you excited about the magical homecoming? Let us know in the comments.