Monday 20th Feb 2017
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child took home a record number of prizes for a play at last night’s WhatsOnStage Awards, which celebrates the best of British theatre.
Fans have done a lovely job keeping the spirit of Harry Potter alive – the play won eight WhatsOnStage awards last night, all voted for by the public.
The play, which opened last summer, scooped Best Lighting (Neil Austin), Best Set Design (Christine Jones), Best Actor in a Play (Jamie Parker), Best Video Design (Finn Ross and Ash Woodward), Best New Play, Best Direction (John Tiffany), Best Supporting Actor in a Play (Anthony Boyle) and Best Supporting Actress in a Play (Noma Dumezweni).
Brilliantly, Cursed Child’s success had many members of the cast literally sprinting from the Palace Theatre to the ceremony to collect their awards, having just finished a Sunday evening performance of the play in question.
‘I feel ecstatic, I feel great,’ Anthony Boyle gushed, winning for Best Supporting Actor in a Play for his role as Scorpius Malfoy. ‘I am running on adrenalin because I came off stage what must be 12 minutes ago now. I was getting my suit on in the car, Paul Thornley was doing my buttons, Noma was doing my tie. I don’t really know where I am at the minute. I know in my speech I thanked J.K. Rowling, the mother of all creativity, but apart from that I don’t know what I even said.’
Noma Dumezweni, who plays Hermione Granger in the production, took home Best Supporting Actress in a Play. No stranger to theatre trophies, Noma can add this accolade to her Laurence Olivier Award for Best Performance in a Supporting Role that she won for A Raisin in the Sun back in 2006.
Understandably, Noma was similarly breathless when we spoke to her.
‘We knew that we had to rush here, so the make-up team got us prepped and ready,’ said Noma. ‘It was extraordinary! I’m sweating as I’m talking to you now! It’s just such an amazing company, we are so lucky, I will just keep saying that. I am in such awe of the people I work with. This is beautiful to get this award, knowing that it’s a public vote, it’s stunning. We have 1,400 people in the show every night because it’s an extraordinary piece of theatre and I just want to thank them so much for loving what we do.’
The WhatsOnStage Awards are unique in that the awards are voted for by the public, which seemed to particularly touch the pair.
‘This is the nicest award really, because the audience actively voted for it. This just means so much,’ Anthony added. ‘When you’re doing comedy on stage, you get immediate feedback because you can hear the laughter. But to have this; well, laughter lasts five seconds but this will last a lifetime. Oh my god! Put that in, that was a good quote from me.’
Our pleasure, Anthony.
As for Harry Potter himself, Jamie Parker mused on the magic of Cursed Child and how important it has turned out being for theatre-goers and fans alike.
‘Have we ever needed it more?’ he said. ‘This show is a great opportunity to be given hope by an audience of that size and that attentiveness, to understand that no matter how dark things do get, there are countless millions across the world – in every culture you could name – who are determined to keep that spirit alive. I would say we’ve never needed magic more. It might be that we’re going through a traumatic transition at the moment, but because of this story, we’ve got something to hang onto.’