In what is being regarded as one of the biggest productions in West End history,
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child recently opened at the Palace Theatre to rave
reviews. The play is the eighth story set in the Harry Potter universe and takes
place nineteen years after the events of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
As the leading lighting supplier to West End and UK theatre, WL was approached to
provide the lighting for this hugely-anticipated production and this included premium
products from GLP.
Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, Harry
Potter and the Cursed Child is a new play by Jack Thorne and follows Harry Potter,
now a Ministry of Magic employee, and his younger son Albus Severus Potter. The
Lighting Designer for the show is Tony Award and Olivier Award-winner Neil Austin.
He comments: “My main aim for the show was to create something magical. With
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the primary desire from everyone involved was
to use traditional theatre craft and techniques but push the boundaries as to what
we thought was possible. We needed to produce something mesmerising and create
the world of illusion that the audience would expect from Harry Potter’.
With lighting playing an intricate role in the production, Austin had to ensure that he
perfected his design. He comments: “Prior to the show opening, we held a lot of
workshops around the piece. Practically, these were extremely useful as it gave me
a sense of what I was looking for in terms of my design and allowed me to try out a
variety of ideas’.
Austin also visited Studio15, WL’s state-of-the-art studio facility located at its
premises. Here he was able to experiment with equipment and test a variety of
different units. He then drew on WL’s unparalleled range of lighting technology to
ensure that he chose the exact equipment required for his ideal rig.
Austin states: “A lot of the preparation for this show was pushing the science to
enhance the art. We were commissioning new software and hardware and
redefining what was possible with technology to ultimately ensure that the play
would achieve its potential’.
Following its hugely successful opening, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child has
extended booking until December 2017.
Austin adds: “I am unbelievably proud to have been able to work on a show of this
magnitude and am grateful to the teams that I collaborated with. Many lighting
designs are about what you don’t reveal on stage but this is more true than ever on
this show. Throughout, I endeavoured to maintain the sense of mystique and
illusion, ensuring the audience were fully immersed into the magical world that is
Austin was assisted by Associate LD, Adam King and programmer, Dan Haggerty as
his programmer. Martin Chisnall was the Production Electrician and Gary Beestone
the Production Manager.