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Harry Potter Play to Open in London Next Year

'Harry Potter and the Cursed Child' to 'explore the previously untold story of Harry's early years as an orphan and outcast'

LONDON — J.K. Rowling ‏has confirmed that the Harry Potter play, “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” will open in London next year.

“It will tell a new story, which is the result of a collaboration between writer Jack Thorne, director John Tiffany and myself,” she wrote on Twitter.

Rowling’s website stated that the play would receive its world premiere at London’s Palace Theatre in the summer of 2016. Tickets will go on sale this autumn.

On Twitter, Rowling described Thorne, Tiffany and producer Sonia Friedman as “a dream team.” “I’ve had countless offers to extend Harry’s story over the years, but Jack, John and Sonia Friedman are a dream team!,” she wrote.

“It has been a huge pleasure to share with them (and soon, with you!) this untold part of Harry’s story,” she added in a series of Tweets on Friday.

Rowling ‏revealed that the story “is not a prequel,” but added: “I don’t want to say too much more, because I don’t want to spoil what I know will be a real treat for fans.”

Rowling addressed the issue of her choice of medium for the story. “To answer one inevitable (and reasonable!) question — why isn’t #CursedChild a new novel? — I am confident that when audiences see the play they will agree that it was the only proper medium for the story,” she wrote.

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Rowling began the series of Tweets on Friday by describing it as “a very special day for two reasons.” The first was that “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone,” her debut novel and the first in the Harry Potter series, was published in the U.K. 18 years ago. It was published in the U.S. under the title “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” in 1998.

Rowling first revealed plans for the play in December 2013. Her website stated at the time that the story would cover Harry Potter’s “early years,” and would offer “a unique insight into the heart and mind of the now legendary young wizard.”

“What was it like to be the boy in the cupboard under the stairs? This brand new play, which will be developed for the U.K. theater, will explore the previously untold story of Harry’s early years as an orphan and outcast,” the website stated. “Featuring some of our favorite characters from the Harry Potter books, this new work will offer a unique insight into the heart and mind of the now legendary young wizard. A seemingly ordinary boy, but one for whom Destiny has plans.”

In his column for the Daily Mail on Friday, Baz Bamigboye claimed that the play would also explore the lives of Harry Potter’s murdered parents, Lily Evans Potter and James Potter, before they were killed by Lord Voldemort. Bamigboye added that it may also look at the relationship between siblings Lily and Petunia, who was a muggle like the rest of her family, and the friendship between Lily and Severus Snape during their schooldays at Hogwarts. Another friend, Remus Lupin, may also figure in the story, Bamigboye said.

The website for the Palace Theatre backs up Bamigboye’s claim. It states that the play “will explore the backstory leading up to Harry’s parents untimely death at the hands of Lord Voldemort.”

According to Rowling’s website on Friday, the play will be produced by Sonia Friedman Prods., Colin Callender’s Playground Entertainment and Harry Potter Theatrical Prods. Movement will be directed by Steven Hoggett, set designs by Christine Jones, costumes by Katrina Lindsay, lighting by Neil Austin, music by Imogen Heap, sound by Gareth Fry and special effects by Jeremy Chernick.

Thorne writes for theater, film, television and radio. His theater credits include “Hope” and “Let the Right One In,” both directed by Tiffany. His movie credits include “War Book,” “A Long Way Down” and “The Scouting Book for Boys.” For television his credits include “The Last Panthers,” “Don’t Take My Baby,” “This Is England,” “The Fades,” “Glue” and “Cast-Offs.” In 2012, he won two BAFTAs for “The Fades” and “This Is England 88.”

Tiffany’s theater credits include “Once,” “Let the Right One In” and “Black Watch,” for which he won an Olivier. As associate director of the Royal Court, his work includes “The Twits,” “Hope” and “The Pass.”

Hoggett has previously collaborated with Tiffany on “The Twits,” “Let the Right One In” and “Black Watch.” Hoggett was a founding co-artistic director of Frantic Assembly for which his credits include “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.” His film credits include “How to Train Your Dragon 2.”

Jones is the artistic director of Theatre for One in New York. Her West End set design credits include “Let the Right One In” and “Spring Awakening.” On Broadway her credits include “American Idiot,” for which she won the Tony Award for best scenic design of a musical, “Spring Awakening,” for which she was Tony nominated, and “Everyday Rapture.” Jones made her debut at The Metropolitan Opera in 2012 with her designs for “Rigoletto.”

Lindsay’s theater credits include “Bend It Like Beckham” and “American Psycho.” Lindsay, who also designs for opera, dance, film and television, won the 2008 Tony for outstanding costume design for “Les Liaisons Dangereuses” on Broadway.

Heap is also known as one half of Frou Frou. Among her four solo albums, she has gathered four Grammy nominations, winning best engineered album, non-classical, for “Ellipse.” In 2010 she received the Ivor Novello Award for international achievement.

The Palace Theatre has housed some blockbuster productions in the past. It was home to “Jesus Christ Superstar” from 1972 until 1980, and “Les Miserables,” which opened in 1985, ran there for 19 years. At present it hosts “The Commitments,” which will close in November.

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