Everything you need to know before you see Harry Potter and The Cursed Child

From how to buy tickets at short notice to how long it lasts, we have all the answers to your questions about JK Rowling's West End Harry Potter play

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What is Harry Potter and The Cursed Child about?

The play begins where the seventh book ended, following Harry’s son Albus Severus in a new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany.

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“It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children,” the official synopsis reads.

“While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.”

The story is told in two parts, so you’ll need to see both those parts in order to see the whole play. But Rowling promises it’s worth it and says the show is “unlike anything people have seen before”.

Did JK Rowling write it?

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Rowling is the mastermind who came up with the tale that inspired the script so, in theory, yes she wrote it.

But the script itself was actually written by award-winning screenwriter Jack Thorne. He has worked on Skins, This Is England and BBC3’s Don’t Take My Baby to name but a few, so he definitely knows what he’s doing.

And when he’s not sure, he gets his wife to vet his emails to Rowling.

Director John Tiffany is equally qualified – with plenty of accolades to his name – and also helped shape the production.

Are Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint in it?

No, there’s a brand new cast.

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Sam Clemmett plays Albus Severus Potter, while Jamie Parker plays his dad, Harry, and Poppy Miller is his mum, Ginny.

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Ron and Hermione are played by Paul Thornley andNoma Duwezmeni, while Cherelle Skeete plays their daughter, Rose Granger-Weasley.

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And rounding out the leading cast, Alex Price is Draco Malfoy and Anthony Boyle is his son Scorpius.

JK Rowling’s a big fan – you can even see her meeting them here.

Is the story suitable for children?

The official website says the play is probably best suited to children aged 10 years old and above.

Where is it on?

The Palace Theatre in London. It’s on Shaftesbury Avenue, postcode W1D 5AY.

When is it on?

Previews start on 7th June and the show officially opens on 30th July 2016.

What’s the difference between a preview and an official opening?

Well, during the previews the cast and the director work together to decide what’s best for the show. They might decide to make a change to the script or alterations to the show if they feel it will improve the production.

The preview run is the perfect time to work all those little things out, in time for the finalised version to run on Opening Night.

How long is the show?

The approximate running time for Part One is 2 hours 40 minutes, including a 20-minute interval. Part Two is 2 hours 35 minutes long, and also includes a 20-minute interval.

Audiences are warned that those running times may vary during the previews, though.

How can I get tickets?

Head over the play’s official website to find legitimate ticket sellers – if you buy tickets through a re-sale system you might have trouble getting in.

Here’s Pottermore’s visual guide to seeing both parts

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Bear in mind, the show is pretty heavily booked out at this stage, so you could have to wait until May 2017 to get a seat.

Can I see it any sooner than that?

Yes, you can actually – if you’re lucky. Every Friday there’ll be a release of 40 tickets – The Friday Forty as the play’s official website calls them – for performances scheduled the following week.

Anyone online and in the special queue on the official website on a Friday at 1pm will be in the running to secure reduced priced seats in the stalls.

And there’s always the chance to pick up a returned ticket too. Sometimes people can’t make the show and so they opt to return their tickets. Those returned tickets will be added to a wishlist database – you can join it here.

Returned and other late-release tickets may also become available at short notice. These are not guaranteed, but any tickets that do become available will be sold on a first-come-first-served basis, online or in person at the Palace Theatre box office at full price.

How much do tickets cost?

Previews: £10, £25, £40, £45 or £50 if bought separately; £20, £50, £80, £90 or £100 for a seat for both Part One and Part Two of the play.

Performances from 3 August 2016: £15, £35, £50, £60 or £65 if bought separately; £30, £70, £100, £120 or £130 for a seat for both Part One and Part Two of the play.

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OK, I have tickets – what time do I need to get to the theatre by on the day of the show?

The Palace Theatre recommends that you get there about an hour before the performance begins, so you can allow time for security checks. You need to be in your seat about 15 minutes before the show starts and if you arrive after the performance begins you will NOT be allowed in.

All bags will be subject to a security search and any bag larger than above 41 x 31 x 16cm will not be admitted. There’s no luggage storage available either so if you’re coming with a suitcase, be sure to sort something out in advance.

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Can I bring my camera?

Nope. Professional recording equipment will be confiscated and you’re not allowed take any photos or videos on your phone during the show – if you do, you’ll have it taken away.

JK Rowling wants you to #KeepTheSecrets, remember? And you don’t want to make her mad now, do you?

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If I’m seeing both parts on the same day can I stay in the theatre between them?

Nope. You’ve got to get out and about so you’d best make some plans. The gap between the two parts (when shown on the same day) is about 2 hours.

And you’ll have to go through security checks again when you come back for part 2, so be sure to allow time for that.

Is it true that JK Rowling’s written a Cursed Child book as well?

Nope. There’s no Cursed Child book. The script is going to be published in book form – the same way Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet was published. It’s not a novel.

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For more information about Harry Potter and The Cursed Child see the play’s official website