Former Loretto School pupil casts spell over Olivier awards.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child had a magical evening at the Olivier Awards, taking home a record-breaking nine prizes. The smash hit show is now the most decorated production in the awards’ history.
It was awarded best new play, with Jamie Parker named Best Actor for his performance as Harry Potter, and Noma Dumezweni winning Best Supporting Actress for playing Hermione. Anthony Boyle, who played Draco Malfoy’s son Scorpius, took home the prize for Best Supporting Actor.
The show also won Best Director for John Tiffany, as well as awards for lighting, sound, costume and set design.
This is a double accolade for Jamie Parker who also recently scooped the 'What's on Stage' award for 'Best Actor in a Show' for his performance as Harry Potter.
It is part of the entirely accurate creation myth of Harry Potter and the books that changed millions of childhoods that JK Rowling, a divorced single mother on state benefits, began writing her wizard saga in the coffee houses of Edinburgh.
Did she ever, we might now wonder, look up from her labours to take note of a schoolboy on another table, the one with “rubbish hair” and round glasses? That prototype Harry frequenting all the same cafés as she did — Nicolsons, the Elephant House, the Traverse Theatre bar — was Jamie Parker. We, and they, will never know if he sank somewhere into Rowling’s visual imagination.
It hardly matters. Jamie Parker is Harry Potter now. In the two-part sell-out West End play, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the 37-year-old actor plays the 37-year-old Harry, a father of three and a civil servant in the ministry of magic. Daniel Radcliffe, Harry in the eight movies, is greatly relieved. “He can do all the Harry Potter questions now,” he has said. Jamie Parker was asked if he wanted to read the script a year last autumn.
Since it was by Jack Thorne (The Fades, This is England) he “obviously” said yes. He then met the director John Tiffany (Black Watch), whom he also had a “huge talent crush” on. He was checked out by Steven Hoggett, the play’s movement director, to make sure he did not have “two left feet”. He waited a bit and heard he had got the part in the interval of the dress run-through of Guys and Dolls at the Savoy in December. He suspects he performed the second half with a “slightly shocked and stunned expression. I mean if you asked me 12 months ago if I would be doing this I would never have picked it out of the hat.”
Too old to catch the Potter phenomenon as a child, he had not read the books. Now he is on his third reading of the oeuvre, and still making notes. Does he ring Rowling to explicate the finer points? “I’ve never had to yet but I am sure I could. We are index-linked now. She is not in every day, here but she’s not a remote figure in the slightest.”
The collaboration between Rowling, Tiffany and Thorne has resulted, he believes, in a piece of theatre “comfortable in its own skin as a medium. We’re not trying to do a movie on stage. We’re not doing a reading of a book. This is a piece of theatre, and we’re doing it with a wonderful joyous, grown-up, mature, fiercely intelligent, childishly imaginative and slightly geeky creative team.”
Many congratulations to you, Jamie, from us all at Loretto.