LONDON — A decade after J.K. Rowling completed the final Harry Potter book, the world’s favorite wizard will return to action next summer.
Muggles desperate for another glimpse into the wizarding world will have to travel to London to find out what happened next. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child will debut on stage in the West End.
Rowling says the mysterious play will not be set before the books. Intriguingly, the world’s leading children’s author has teamed up with an edgy co-writer who made his name depicting the wild, sexually liberated, drug-taking teen experience in Skins and Shameless—the exciting British originals, not the shallow American remakes.
Jack Thorne, 36, got his first big break in co-writing a bleak and explicit television spinoff of the movie This Is England with Shane Meadows, one of Britain’s premier working-class chroniclers and a self-proclaimed former petty criminal.
An imminent Harry Potter stage production has been an open secret in London theater circles for months, but the collaboration with one of Britain’s grittiest young talents remained a total secret until Friday.
Rowling announced the production exactly 18 years after the publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (renamed Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in the U.S.), the first of her series, which would go on to dominate the entire publishing industry for 10 years.
“I’m… very excited to confirm today that a new play called Harry Potter and the #CursedChild will be opening in London next year,” she wrote on Twitter.
There had been speculation that the play would focus on Harry’s parents before they were killed by Lord Voldemort, leaving the future wizard to be raised by his aunt and uncle. Rowling appeared to rule that out during her online announcement, however. “It will tell a new story, which is the result of a collaboration between writer Jack Thorne, director John Tiffany and myself,” she wrote.
“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. However, I can say that it is not a prequel!”
We can only hope that Rowling and Thorne, 36, have delved into Harry’s post-school years. Beyond a few pints of butterbeer, how does a 17-year-old celebrate uniting the Deathly Hallows?
Speculation about the plot will continue to grow as the cast is shaped and tickets go on sale later this year. Whatever new insights we are given into Harry Potter’s life, tickets are guaranteed to be among the most sought after in theatrical history. When Rowling’s books were published, hundreds of thousands of fans lined up outside bookshops all over the world. The latest installment will be first seen by the audience inside the 1,400-seat Palace Theatre in London’s West End.
Rowling said her new Harry story was perfectly suited to the stage. “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.”
Millions of fans will hope the play is also released in book form, and surely the movie adaptation can’t be far behind?