Harry Potter phenomenon conquers the stage

Source: Xinhua| 2017-04-10 07:18:49|Editor: Mengjiao Liu
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LONDON, April 9 (Xinhua) -- The Harry Potter phenomenon rolls on in London, with the stage play "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child" dominating this year's Olivier Awards.

The Potter stories have seen children and adults across the world buy the novels by JK Rowling in their tens of millions, and Potter has also spawned a series of films which have been huge box office success.

Now the tale of the normal boy with extraordinary skills as a wizard has triumphed on the stage, scooping nine wins at the annual Olivier Theater awards on Sunday evening.

But it might not have been such a smooth run.

"There was so much potential for criticism and scepticism around this," Jamie Parker, who played the adult Harry Potter in the play, told Xinhua after picking up his award as best actor at the ceremony in London's Royal Albert Hall.

Critics would have been lining up to bury Potter had the play failed to live up to the much-loved novels and films.

But instead it is praised they are heaping on the play, running at the Palace Theater in London's West End to full houses for eight months, and the slew of awards will keep it running for a long while yet.

In the play, set now and in the years up to 2020, Potter is an adult and working at the Ministry of Magic. He is married and has three children, with the youngest, Albus, about to attend Hogwarts Academy.

And the play is drawing in a new audience.

"Those people who are coming are not regular theatergoers," said Parker. They are drawn by the charisma of Potter and the charm of his tale.

Jack Thorne, who wrote the play from the book JK Rowling wrote with him, said: "There was budget for this show... we have the greatest creative minds and their time."

In a digital age, theater can seem out of time and faces challenges from new technologies and new entertainments.

"We are in a battle with Playstations and if we are going to win that we have to appeal to a Playstation audience and bring them in," added Thorne, who is an award-winning writer for screen and TV. "We are getting something like 75 percent new audience and then they go and see something down the road... and they fall in love with theater."

The Potter play was one of the major play openings on the stage last year, and helped contribute to a bumper revenue year for London theaters.

Director John Tiffany said he had just carried out casting in New York for a transfer of the play to Broadway.