Nyx Calder, “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” Melbourne’s Scorpius Malfoy, Pens Piece on Transgender Visibility
The Melbourne, Australia, production of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child has resumed performances, and one of the actors in the current cast of the play has written an opinion piece in the Sydney Morning Herald about what it has been like for them to “[cast] off the invisibility cloak” surrounding their own identity. Nyx Calder, who portrays Scorpius Malfoy and uses they/them pronouns, wrote about what their experience has been as a non-binary and transmasculine actor, writer, and speaker.
It has been a difficult year for many, including in the Wizarding World fandom. With International Transgender Day of Visibility on March 31, Calder described what it has been like for them to provide increased visibility for the transgender community through their work.
I felt drawn to acting because I’d never seen anyone like me while I was growing up, or at least not in the mainstream media. I never had the opportunity to read books, see films or experience theatre that represented me or my identity in any meaningful way.
The representation that they found, Calder explained, was typically that of a cisgender actor playing a transgender character, and they didn’t feel that this reflected their own experiences. They then decided that they would need to be open about their identity in order to be happy.
After a bit over a year of performing while in the closet and finding some moderate success, I realised I would never be happy unless I gave myself permission to live as my true self. I then committed myself to living authentically as a transgender and non-binary person while pursuing acting, regardless of the cost. I lost a lot of friends and received almost zero support from my family. I missed out on work because of it; it was hard to get into audition rooms as an openly trans person, even for roles ostensibly meant for someone like me. It can be incredibly taxing being a lone diverse voice, and with the vast majority of productions I worked on, I was the only trans or non-binary person in the room.
Though Calder explained that they have been constrained by gender roles and expectations for how gender should be performed, they added that they feel they have been embraced more and more for who they are.
And yet with every year that passes, I feel I am treated more as the person I have chosen to be, both by the industry and by those around me.
The same has been true, Calder added, of Cursed Child.
Working on Cursed Child has been an immense privilege and has also shown me that if a show of this size and scope can respect and uplift the diverse identities of its performers, then it serves as a stellar example to other theatre companies and institutions. When I was cast in the role of Scorpius, my identity wasn’t the first thing in question; my ability to portray him was. This opportunity would have been absolutely impossible to conceive of even five years ago for me. And even better, playing this role while living openly as a trans person has resulted in heartfelt messages and outpouring of support, and incredibly touching gestures of solidarity.
Calder stated in conclusion that being able to provide the representation that they never had as a young person for someone else has given them “a far better reason” to have become an actor.
It’s what I’m celebrating on this Trans Day of Visibility. There are more of us every day, and if knowing we can work professionally and live happily gives guidance or hope to a younger generation, then I know I got into this profession for a far better reason.
You can read all of Nyx Calder’s opinion piece, “Magical feeling of casting off the invisibility cloak,” at the Sydney Morning Herald. For more on their experience playing Scorpius Malfoy, you can watch the video below:
For more information about International Transgender Day of Visibility, you can read this blog post from GLAAD.