Multi-award-winning Harry Potter and the Cursed Child marked its first birthday on Sunday with Lord Mayor of Melbourne Sally Capp and Executive Producer Michael Cassel unveiling a two metre plaque set in the ground outside the show’s home, Melbournes Princess Theatre.
The Lord Mayor said “We’re thrilled and proud that Australian audiences have embraced Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. This record-breaking performance has brought a new vibrancy to the East End Theatre District and helped to generate restaurant and hotel bookings across Melbourne. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is only showing in Melbourne so it’s a fantastic drawcard for our city.”
AussieTheatre.com spoke with Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Executive Producer Michael Cassel about the hit show, and why Melbourne will always be its only Australian home.
Congratulations on Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’s one year birthday! Why did you decide on a plaque to commemorate this incredible achievement?
I think nothing says “this is our home” more than putting something in the bitumen. When we opened the show last year, this was an idea that we started discussing, and I think the Lord Mayor also had the same idea, and it converged and here it is. I think it means that we are not going anywhere for a little while yet.
So Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is staying in Melbourne for a while?
It’s definitely not playing anywhere else in Australia. I know that typically when they say they won’t tour, they eventually, do but given the complexity of this production and the work that’s been done to the Princess Theatre to ensure the audiences are immersed in the Harry Potter Universe, it’s hard to go and do that anywhere else. So no, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is here at the Princess Theatre, and this is their home.
Why did you choose Melbourne’s Princess Theatre for this Australian production?
When they [the producers] were first exploring bringing Harry Potter and the Cursed Child to Australia, they came and inspected all the theatres. I wasn’t even involved at that stage, but they went and fell in love with the Princess Theatre. They thought it evoked the universe and the world of Harry Potter. I think they got it right. It looks great in there and it’s the right scale for a play. This isn’t a musical, so you want the show to feel big and immersive, and that’s how it definitely feels.
Tell us about the brand new cast members joining the show today!
Yeah, we have got six new cast members joining us. They are an incredible group of people. It’s been a sad farewell to some of the original company members, but they’re all going on and doing great new exciting things. When we started rehearsing Harry Potter and the Cursed Child for the first time, none of us had ever been involved in such a rehearsal or a technical process that is so complex, over such a long period of time. Thankfully, it is only a smaller cast change so it hasn’t been as exhausting. My hats off to the cast and this incredible crew. We have been rehearsing these new cast members, as well as still doing the show during the week. That takes a great deal of stamina, and this cast does not let up.
Have you heard from J.K Rowling herself about the one year birthday?
She did send a letter to our company on Wednesday. Paula Arundell, who plays Hermione Granger, got the honour of opening envelope and read the really beautiful handwritten message. J.K knows how special this cast is, and she wanted to share her enthusiasm and appreciation for what they are delivering all the way in Australia.
Finally, what Hogwarts house do you belong to?
I’m a proud Ravenclaw.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is playing at the Princess Theatre, Melbourne.
Tickets are available from www.HarryPotterThePlay.com for performances up until Sunday 13 September 2020.