The play, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, will soon be available for licensing for school productions.
Producers Sonia Friedman Productions, Colin Callender and Harry Potter Theatrical Productions have partnered with Broadway Licensing Group to develop a version of the Broadway and West End show for high schools and secondary schools starting in 2024. The producers are working with the creative team to create a shortened version of the play, which currently runs more than three hours on Broadway, and to create new special effects that can realistically be achieved by the schools.
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“We are delighted to be working with Broadway Licensing Group so that schools around the world can stage their own productions of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. We’re very proud that over half of the play’s audiences worldwide have been first time theatregoers. With this schools version, we hope to broaden that audience even further by introducing younger generations to the magic of live theatre. We can’t wait to see how students embrace their creativity and bring the magic of the wizarding world to life on their school stages. It’s extremely exciting for us all,” Callendar and Friedman said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter.
The West End version of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child opened in 2016, while the Broadway version opened in 2018 — both are still running. There are also productions playing in Hamburg and Tokyo and previous runs in Melbourne, Toronto, and San Francisco.
The play, which was written by Jack Thorne, based on an original story by J.K. Rowling, Thorne and the play’s director, John Tiffany, started on Broadway as a two-part show, which took place across two separate performances and had a run time of more than five hours. After the pandemic, the play came back to Broadway and to its other North America productions, as one show with a running time of three hours and 30 mins.
The show won six Tony Awards, including best play, as well as nine Olivier Awards, including best new play. The story takes place 19 years after Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and follows Harry Potter’s son, Albus, and his friendship with Scorpius, the son of Draco Malfoy. The school version, which will have a “new, shortened run time,” will be developed by Broadway Licensing Group, Thorne, Tiffany, Friedman and Callender, with sign-off from Rowling.
“Over twenty-five years ago, the Harry Potter book series inspired a generation of new readers,” said producer Neil Blair, Rowling’s agent. “Making Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the eighth story in the Harry Potter series, available for school productions around the world will inspire that same creativity, imagination, play, and storytelling through the medium of theatre, and we couldn’t be more thrilled.”
The professional versions of the play also include many highly-technical illusions and stage magic to show some of the well-known magical elements of the Harry Potter World. The Broadway production alone was capitalized for up to $35.5 million, a record for any play on Broadway, in addition to $33.3 million the production spent to clear out and redo the Lyric Theatre in a Harry Potter theme. The production, which has regularly brings in more than $1 million a week on Broadway, recouped its capitalization costs in late 2022.
However, Tiffany said the illusions will be modified for schools, in line with the storytelling techniques envisioned when the play was first developed.
“When I was developing Harry Potter and the Cursed Child with the creative team, one of our founding principles was that the magic, illusions and special effects should have their roots in storytelling techniques that could be achieved when playing at home or in school. This might involve borrowing your teacher’s winter coat to act out the effects of taking Polyjuice Potion, or raiding the loft for suitcases to create the Hogwarts Express,” Tiffany said. “So opening the world of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child up to schools is thrilling and feels like the natural next step in our journey.”
Pilot productions of the school edition will take place in the UK and US in Spring 2024, with a worldwide release for schools set shortly after. Amateur productions are expected to roll out at a later date.
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