IT was the news fans of the boy who lived had thought they would never hear – that Harry Potter would live again.
Despite coming to an end in 2007 with the publication of what was said to be the last novel, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, JK Rowling yesterday delighted fans of the series by announcing he was heading for a new adventure on stage, following his outings in print and on the big screen.
The Edinburgh-based writer announced that a new play, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, will open in London’s West End next summer.
The Scottish-based author says the new drama will explore “an untold part of Harry’s story”, including details of the lives of his murdered parents. However, she says it is “not a prequel”.
The 49-year-old writer tweeted: “It will tell a new story, which is the result of a collaboration between writer Jack Thorne, director John Tiffany and myself. #CursedChild
“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.”
Rowling revealed she had chosen Friday to make the announcement because it was “a very special day” – the 18th anniversary of the date when Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, her debut book, was first published in the UK.
Though it has not been written by Rowling, the latest story is a collaboration between herself and the creative team behind the stage adaptation of supernatural romance Let the Right One In. It will be the first play about the teenage wizard.
The tale has been penned by Bafta-winning writer Jack Thorne, with John Tiffany directing and British singer Imogen Heap providing the music. The producers are Sonia Friedman and Colin Callender.
The seven bestselling books in the Harry Potter series have been adapted into eight films starring Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint, but Rowling said theatre was the best choice for the latest part of the fantasy saga.
“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,” she wrote.
“I’ve had countless offers to extend Harry’s story over the years, but Jack, John and Sonia Friedman are a dream team!
“It has been a huge pleasure to share with them (and soon, with you!) this untold part of Harry’s story.”
Producers had originally said the play would focus on “Harry’s early years as an orphan and outcast”.
They said it would feature some of the best-loved characters from the Harry Potter books and offer “a unique insight into the heart and mind of the now legendary wizard”.
Rowling’s Harry Potter books have sold more than 450 million copies around the world and spawned spin-offs such as the encyclopedia Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which is also being turned into a film starring Eddie Redmayne.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child will likely ignite a new round of Pottermania among fans when it opens at London’s 1400-seat Palace Theatre in 2016, with tickets going on sale this autumn.