Harry Potter and the Cursed Child worldwide release casts spotlight on call for more accessible theatre

THE anticipated release of the latest release of the Harry Potter franchise has fans waking up after a long hiatus between the final instalment in the series in 2007, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and the worldwide launch of the new play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, written by Jack Thorne.

Though there is a growing hype for the new film, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the play, set to hit the stage later this month, has fans excited while casting a greater light on accessibility to the theatre.

Macintyre High School drama students, Anika Rhodes, Kaylee Harding, Sophie Ditchfield, Bronte Luxford, Caitlin Barber and Zoe Wilson, all of whom grew up on the Harry Potter narrative, said if they were excited by the idea the globally-loved franchised might one day become a local production, as the script's release draws near.

“I reckon it would be cool because it’s different and people can take it in a different way,” Kaylee said.

“But I also don’t know because, if it is a play, there will be a lot of people who read it here, in Inverell -- we’re not going to get the proper performance like they have in a (bigger production). So, she (Harry Potter creator JK Rowling) will miss a lot of her audience,” Sophie added.

Theatre accessibility is the word for many in the arts scene recently, as Harry Potter continues to drum up anticipation ahead of the release, and high-end productions like Hamilton, a US hip-hop bio-play of Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton, reaches global acclaim targeting wider audiences.

“(Harry Potter) has everything that everyone loves about stories. It has a bit of romance, and comedy, it has magic and dragons and knights. It’s everything a kid wants in a story,” Sophie said.

As fans count down to the release date, the Dust Jacket in Inverell is gearing up to host an event to celebrate the worldwide launch.

Manager Josh McPhee said it has been a while since Harry Potter had a major release and commented on the anticipation.

“We didn’t have the shop for a Harry Potter release, unfortunately, because I think it would have been a lot of fun. But, it is different,” he said.

“It is not JK’s novel -- the next part. If it were that, we would be selling them by the trucks. 

“The response has been really good. I’m really happy with our pre-orders. It is hard selling a $45 hardcover of anything, given the competition we face, but that said we had a really strong pre-order, more than we have had for anything else.

Though the Harry Potter franchise has been cooling since the conclusion of the series, and the release of the film adaptations, Josh said long-time fans of Rowling's work have been waiting for a new instalment.

“I think it is an addictive writing,” he said.

“(Rowling) releases little news articles on the Pottermore website and things like that, so her head is still there." 

He said the market for the Thorne script has largely been fans who grew up reading the series and now want something new.

The launch event will kick off from 9.01am on Sunday, July 31, at the Dust Jacket.