“Cursed Child” Melbourne to Go Ahead with Optimistic February 25 Reopening

343 days and counting. That is how long Harry Potter and the Cursed Child has been on hiatus due to the ongoing pandemic. However, it seems miracles do exist. Despite the current circuit-breaker lockdown in the Australian state of Victoria, Melbourne’s Princess Theatre is preparing with full speed to reopen the two-part play on February 25 as planned. The show’s producer and cast are calling it a beacon of hope that may just turn on the first light in these dark times for theaters around the world.

 

 

 

The play’s coproducer Colin Callender recently discussed the “glorious moment” of the play’s reopening, which looks like will actually happen later this month:

From a global perspective, it’s wonderful. And we’re so excited that the Melbourne audience that has been so loyal and supportive of the show will have a chance to see it.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child first premiered in London in July 2016 in the care of Sonia Friedman Productions and opened on Broadway in 2018 after humongous success. Melbourne began welcoming audiences for the magical live show in January 2019. San Francisco put on its first performances shortly before the pandemic hit, while Hamburg’s production was set to open just two days before a worldwide lockdown starting last March, which has left theater communities in limbo ever since.

“As producers, it’s been a heartbreaking time but also for all the actors and crew,” Callender shared but reminded us to take a leaf out of Harry’s book, saying that “one of the great things about Harry Potter as a character is that he faces obstacles through all the stories and he overcomes.” In line with this optimistic take, he hopes the play provides both healing and escapism:

Reopening in Melbourne is an affirmation that we can get through these troubled times [and] overcome hardships that are thrown our way and that the human spirit can survive. Seeing the play with a community of theatregoers together will be a very cathartic, healing experience. It’s also enormous fun and very entertaining. Although it explores some real themes, it’s just a glorious escape from the world outside.

 

Cursed Child actors of Draco Malfoy, Minerva Mconagall, Harry Potter and Ginny Weasley are in character and on stage looking at the Marauders Map.

L-R: Tom Wren (Draco Malfoy), Debra Lawrance (Professor McGonagall), Gareth Reeves (Harry Potter), and Lucy Goleby (Ginny Potter) in the Melbourne production of “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child”

 

Although the cast and technical crew are having to halt in-person rehearsals due to a brief regional lockdown until Wednesday, regular warm-ups and preparations are underway and the team is undaunted. Melbourne’s Draco Malfoy actor Tom Wren also highlighted some themes of the story that will resonate with the audience in a whole new way in light of the past year:

As we sat down at the table to read through the script again together for the first time, when we got to parts that deal with loneliness, isolation and parenting through a 2021 lens, it felt very fresh. There are parts in this that ring out in a completely new way. The lighting and blocking are all the same, but our relationship to the content is different. I’ve done the show for over a year, but I’ve never heard certain parts of the play illuminated as they are now. Different parts are singing out in new ways.

 

 

 

Meanwhile, London’s reopening date has been pushed further back to the summer. How realistic is it that Cursed Child Melbourne will actually resume shows on the scheduled date? We can only report back on that on February 25. In the spirit of optimism, book your tickets here today.

 

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Dora Bodrogi

I am a writer, a critic, a researcher, a traveler, and a Ravenclaw through and through. My main fields of interest are representation, gender, and LGBTQ fiction, history, and censorship. Incorrigible doodler and theatre kid.

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