Theater Round-Up: News of New Beginnings!

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Jan 18, 2018

Posted by: Dawn Johnson | Comments

Actor Interviews, Fandom, Fans, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Henderson, HP Cast, Interviews, J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne, Melling, Movies, News, Television Programmes, Theater, Theater Round-Up, West End

This week’s theater round-up brings news of new beginnings–a popular production transfers to reach a new audience, a classic returns to a new stage, a television program comes to a new network, and a cast gains new insight into their story and the wealth of history behind it!

Girl From the North Country Opens in West End

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The musical Girl From the North Country has commenced performances in the West End following a successful run at the Old Vic.

The Conor McPherson production adapted songs from Bob Dylan’s iconic catalogue to create an intimate and colorful look at a 1934 Minnesota guesthouse. The guesthouse is owned by Nick Laine and wife Elizabeth, played by Harry Potter alums Ciarán Hinds (Aberforth Dumbledore) and Shirley Henderson (Moaning Myrtle), respectively. Henderson won the Best Actress in a New Production of a Play award from Broadway World UK for her portrayal, and the success of the actors–and the play–is a boon to all involved!

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So much so that stars gathered to celebrate the West End opening Jan. 11, and according to WhatsOnStage, Tom Burke, Bertie Carvel, and Haydn Gwynne, as well as Harry Potter costar Harry Melling, best known for playing Dudley Dursley, were among those in attendance.

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WhatsOnStage spoke with some of the cast and guests about Girl From the North Country, and Henderson shared her perspective on the musical. She said, “The story is full of longing and the ache in people, and it matches Dylan’s lyrics, and Conor just let us hear the sweetness in Dylan’s music–and the heart, full of heart–so the combination is lovely.”

Watch the interviews, including Henderson’s thoughts, in the video below!

Catch Henderson and Hinds in Girl From the North Country at the Noël Coward Theatre through Mar. 24.

Jack Thorne’s Kiri Comes to Hulu

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Jack Thorne’s new Channel 4 drama Kiri is coming to Hulu and American audiences, according to a Deadline report. The four-part series will premiere on Hulu Originals on Apr. 4 following the crossover success of Thorne’s National Treasure.

As previously reported by Leaky, the story covers the intersection of such timely and complex issues as social work, adoption, and race as examined through the microscope of media coverage. At the heart of the drama is Kiri, an African American girl who is abducted and murdered, to the horror of her social worker and adoptive family.

The issues have long been important to Thorne given his mother’s experience in the field of social work, and he’s intentional about keeping them at the forefront of public attention. The Guardian reported that he told the Observer:

“The main questions Kiri raises are how do we look after vulnerable kids and how important is someone’s culture in these cases…I don’t have any answers but I hope the drama provokes people to have these sorts of conversations.”

View the trailer for Kiri below and mark your calendars for the April air date.

Toby Jones and Zoë Wanamaker Star in The Birthday Party

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The Birthday Party returns to the stage in a 60th anniversary revival starring Potter alums Toby Jones (Dobby) and Zoë Wanamaker (Madam Hooch). WhatsOnStage describes the play as “set in a sleepy southern coastal town. When two shady visitors arrive at a boarding house, a birthday party is turned into a living nightmare.”

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The latest production of this critically-acclaimed classic is directed by Ian Rickson and opens at the Harold Pinter Theatre today. It runs through Apr. 14, so grab your tickets while the opportunity lasts!

Cursed Child Cast Visits Harry Potter Exhibition

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The cast of the West End production Harry Potter and the Cursed Child visited the Harry Potter: A History of Magic exhibition at the British Library last week, introducing these well-known figures in Rowling’s wizarding world to the backstory behind the magic.

Rakie Ayola, who plays Hermione Granger-Weasley, told Pottermore that the exhibit helped her appreciate being part of the story’s expanding family all the more. She said, “‘The production itself, seeing this exhibition framed around magic and Harry Potter, the wizarding world…you sort of find your place in it.”

Samuel Blenkin (Scorpius Malfoy) and Theo Ancient (Albus Potter) also chimed in with their thoughts. Both were fans before being cast, and the exhibition reminded them of their experiences with the Harry Potter world. Ancient said it was like returning to Hogwarts which, in turn, made him want to return to the books themselves.

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Blenkin added:

“I was fascinated seeing all of the original documents and scribbles and notes on display…I really like seeing the way a story or narrative comes together. It puts into perspective of how much of a privilege it is to be part of [Harry Potter]. It’s giving another layer to a world already so rich and beloved.”

He also noted that making the connection between Rowling’s world and the history of magic emphasized the importance of relationships.

Fans know there’s not only a magical connection between the characters but also between the viewer or reader and the story, and there are real reasons that fans relate to the story–it’s rooted in life and the experience of it.

It sounds like the field trip was a wonderful reminder to the cast of what they love about being a part of the production! Read the full Pottermore coverage of their exhibition visit here.





The Leaky Cauldron is not associated with J.K. Rowling, Warner Bros., or any of the individuals or companies associated with producing and publishing Harry Potter books and films.