Two lucky schools have been selected to produce the first-ever pilot productions of the new school edition of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. The U.K.'s Riverside School in Barking will be the first, with New Jersey's Hoboken High School following with the work's North American premiere.
The schools were chosen by Broadway Licensing Global and the producers of Harry Potter following a month-long evaluation process. Both schools were partially chosen because of their close physical proximity to BLG's London and New York offices, but BLG founder and CEO Sean Cercone says in a statement that it was also "critical to us that we identify schools with facilities and resources most similar to the greatest number of schools worldwide." Both schools are equipped with standard stage, lighting, and sound equipment and have drama department budgets that are self-reliant and not dependent on private donations, endowments, or state-of-the-art provisions. "These pilot productions are a learning process for us, to ensure that any school, regardless of its resources or budget, can produce this show with success," says Cercone. "We cannot wait to collaborate with Riverside and Hoboken High and use our learnings to provide helpful information to schools that will produce the show in the future.”
Riverside's production will perform March 20-23, 2024, with Hoboken's following May 15-19. Hoboken Director of Performing Arts Danielle Miller says that more than 250 students have already signed up for auditions.
“We couldn’t be more thrilled to have Riverside School in the U.K. and Hoboken High School in the U.S. be the first to present this School Edition of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, and the entire team is looking forward to supporting the students and teachers in bringing the story to life for the first time on a school stage,” say producers Sonia Friedman and Colin Callender in a joint statement.
Educators interested in staging their own production of the pay at their school can sign up to receive updates about the work's licensing at LicenseCursedChild.com. A contest is also currently underway that will see winners selected to become the first in their U.S. state to put on an officially post-pilot production. Find out how to enter that here.
The high school version of the hit play is currently in development with the work's original creative team, including playwright Jack Thorne, director John Tiffany, producers Sonia Friedman and Colin Callender, and with sign-off by J.K. Rowling. The adaptation will shorten the piece's runtime, along with creating solutions that make the professional production's high-tech wizardry possible regardless of budget size. The adaptation was announced earlier this year.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is based on an original story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne, and John Tiffany. The play takes place 19 years after the source material book series, and follows Harry Potter's son Albus and his friendship with Scorpius, the son of rival Draco Malfoy, in their first year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
The original West End production premiered in 2016, receiving 11 Olivier Award nominations and winning nine including Best New Play. The Broadway transfer opened at The Lyric Theatre in 2018, then received 10 Tony Award nominations and won six, including Best Play.