Tuesday 15th Nov 2016
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child just won Best Play at the Evening Standard Theatre Awards. The Pottermore Correspondent was at the event to see it – and get writer Jack Thorne’s reaction.
The 2016 Evening Standard Theatre Awards were quite something, with the most lauded people in the industry gathered at the Old Vic to celebrate the ingenuity of theatre. But there was one category we were waiting for most, here at Pottermore: Best Play.
It was the penultimate award of the evening and, joyously, it went to one Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. At 10.29pm, the one and only Dame Maggie Smith, Professor McGonagall herself in the Harry Potter films, presented the award to director John Tiffany, playwright Jack Thorne and actor Noma Dumezweni, on behalf of J.K. Rowling.
The cast had just arrived from performing Part Two of Cursed Child.
On stage and in tuxes, John nudged Jack in front of the microphone. Jack protested gently – “I’m usually the one standing at the back!” – and acknowledged the presence of Maggie Smith with a quick “You’re awesome!”. Every Potter fan in the audience had no doubt already noticed that, as well as Minerva McGonagall (Dame Maggie Smith), other notable Harry Potter film alumni were also present that evening; Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore (Sir Michael Gambon), Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) and Gilderoy Lockhart (Sir Kenneth Branagh). It is virtually impossible, after all, to gather the greats of British theatre without inviting Harry Potter film alumni.
After Jack had humbly, excitably given his thanks for the award, John came forward to give his. Noma read an acceptance speech on J.K. Rowling’s behalf, with the writer currently engaged in the celebrations of her other big project: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
‘I’m sorry I’m not there to accept this award alongside my co-collaborators; something else was happening in the Wizarding World on the other side of the Atlantic,’ Noma read, in her inimitably lovely voice. “I am incredibly proud of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, but Jack Thorne and John Tiffany must take all credit for shaping and crafting it. My endless thanks to them.”
Later, Jack Thorne told Pottermore what this play, this extraordinary play, meant to him.
‘This play was made with blood, sweat and love,’ he said. “Most of the cast were able to make it to celebrate with us and as the award was passed around I felt what an honour it was to be part of this happy band. Working on this show has been the greatest of things - and I know John, Jo and I could not have asked for better people to work with. The Cursed Child world is one of technical genius, acting greatness and producing prowess. This is a cherry on top of a really elaborate, sugary, spicy, wonderful cake.'
And then, with typical poignancy: ‘Harry Potter seems to me to be a world about trust and love. With the world becoming darker by the second it feels really beautiful to be part of a team trying to sell these ideas back to the world. I just feel hugely privileged that John and Jo let me work on this with them.’
Congratulations to Jack, John, J.K. Rowling, Sonia Friedman, Colin Callender and everyone involved in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.