Here’s How the “Cursed Child” Toronto Cast Coped During the Pandemic
The pandemic has been incredibly tough on the theater industry, but it also helped actors build unbreakable bonds while they were at home waiting for news about what happens next. This was especially true for the Toronto cast of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, who spent two years waiting for their chance to finally perform in the iconic show.
Luke Kimball, who plays Albus Severus Potter in the show, told the Star that he was still in theater school when he landed the part and that it was incredibly hard to navigate everything when the pandemic hit.
When the contract disappeared because of COVID-19, it was so unsettling for many of us. To have this thing and then lose this thing and then to hope it’s going to come back … having that (chat group) community and making those connections was what helped get me through the pandemic.
The group chat Kimball mentioned was what truly brought the cast together during that dire time. Trevor White, who portrays Harry Potter in the play, broke the ice on the group chat by sharing how he was experiencing the pandemic and opening up about how hard it was for him. This led to other cast members sharing their own stories, and the group started to bond.
By the time rehearsals started back up again, the cast had established a special relationship that will surely be visible onstage. Trish Lindstrom, who portrays Ginny Weasley, said that the whole cast feels like a close-knit family. They do the things family does as well – White often tries to cheer Kimball up when he notices that he’s having a bad day and checks in with him after rehearsals to make sure he’s okay, much like a real-life dad.
To the cast, the fans are part of their special family, and they love meeting them and hearing their stories. During a promotional event on May 31, they met a fan who experienced the same kind of bullying Albus goes through in Cursed Child. Kimball was moved by how the story touches so many people and realized that the show manages to accurately reflect the real-life experiences of so many fans. He said that another perk of meeting fans is that they help the actors get out of their heads a little. Lindstrom shares this sentiment, saying that meeting fans allows them to dive even deeper into the show because they get to hear how they experience it.
With preview performances in full swing at the CAA Ed Mirvish Theatre in Toronto, Canada, the cast can finally show off all their hard work, and the wait has surely been worth it. Not only can fans look forward to a stunning performance by a cast who truly appreciate and cherish each other, but they’ll also have the opportunity to take in the stunning set that was designed by none other than Christine Jones. With two Tony Awards under her belt, Jones knows her stuff, and it shows. The wizarding world that greets you as soon as you enter the auditorium is all her genius. She also made some adjustments so the audience will truly feel like they’re in the space with the actors. Jones refers to it as “a theatre within a theatre.”
We’ve reduced the amount of space in the house so that the trajectory of the energy between the actors and the audience is more contained.
Jones reread all seven Harry Potter books to find inspiration for the Cursed Child set when she first designed it for the London production, only to realize that the books aren’t nearly as descriptive as she’d thought. She said that the author “doesn’t describe space as much physically as she does emotionally.” The Cursed Child production wasn’t allowed to use any designs or imagery from the films, so Jones had to invent everything from scratch, and she had a lot of fun doing it. Her main goal was to create magic using stagecraft.
With every design event that you’ll see in the show, it’s really a collaboration between sets and lights and costumes and choreography and direction and props and magic.
Anyone who’s seen the play will know that Jones’s set design is pure genius and allows countless fans to step into the wizarding world once again. If you’re in Toronto and ready to experience some true theatrical magic, you can grab tickets for the show here.