Is the play "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child" in London worth it?

Is the play "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child" in London worth it?

Discover our guide 

"Harry Potter and the Cursed Child" transcends the traditional theatrical experience, offering a deep immersion into the magical world of Harry Potter, nearly two decades after the events narrated in J.K. Rowling's books. This play, which has established itself as a staple of London's West End since its premiere in 2016 at the Palace Theatre, is a true artistic feat, bringing together top-tier talent to bring to life a new enchanting adventure. With spectacular staging, breathtaking special effects, and a story that skillfully weaves the threads of the past, present, and future, "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child" has captivated audiences and critics alike, winning 9 Olivier Awards, including that for Best Play. This prestigious recognition not only testifies to the exceptional quality of the production but also to its significance in the cultural landscape, not only as a major theatrical event but also as a celebration of the enduring power of the Harry Potter universe to inspire and amaze.

The excitement around this play reflects the deep and ongoing attachment of fans to the Harry Potter universe, while also attracting a new generation of viewers curious to discover the magic on stage. "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child" manages the feat of bridging generations, offering an experience that is both nostalgic and innovative. This show has become a must-see for anyone visiting London, promising a total immersion in a world where magic is tangible and where every detail, from costumes to special effects, contributes to an unforgettable theatrical experience. The play perfectly illustrates the ability of theater to amaze, to move, and to engage in dialogue, thus confirming its status as a jewel in the crown of London's West End.

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By venturing to the Palace Theatre, spectators are not just watching a play; they are participating in a cultural ritual that celebrates artistic innovation, everyday heroism, and the unwavering power of friendship and family. "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child" is an invitation to believe in magic, to challenge the limits of the imagination, and to live an adventure that will resonate long after the curtain falls.

History and context

Origin of the play

The creative process behind "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child" marks a unique collaboration in the history of contemporary theater. Born from the creative mind of J.K. Rowling, in collaboration with Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, this play is considered theofficial eighth installment of the Harry Potter series, exploring new narrative territories.

First presented on July 31, 2016, the birthday of Harry Potter, at the Palace Theatre in London, the play quickly established a new standard for theatrical productions, combining sophisticated storytelling, innovative staging, and cutting-edge technology to create an immersive experience. The publication of the play's text on the same day by Little, Brown and Company allowed fans around the world to connect with this new adventure, even without being able to attend the live performance.

Synopsis (no spoilers)

Set 19 years after the Battle of Hogwarts, the story follows Albus Severus Potter, the second son of Harry Potter, at a critical moment in his youth where he must bear the weight of a complex family legacy. Through Albus's entry into Hogwarts, his placement in Slytherin House, and his unexpected friendship with Scorpius Malfoy, the son of Draco, "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child" sensitively explores themes of acceptance, friendship, and the struggle against inherited prejudices. The perilous adventures of Albus and Scorpius, blending magic, mystery, and a quest for identity, are also a reflection on the power of choice and the ability to change one's destiny. By bringing together iconic characters and new figures, the play offers a rich and nuanced perspective on the Harry Potter universe, capturing the essence of the saga while paving new narrative paths.

Main characters include Albus Potter, Scorpius Malfoy, Delphi Diggory, as well as well-known figures from the saga: Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley.

Theatrical experience

The theatrical experience "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child" transcends traditional audience expectations through a revolutionary combination of staging, storytelling, and special effects. This production stands out not only for its faithful and creative adaptation of J.K. Rowling's universe but also for its bold use of advanced theatrical techniques to materialize magic in a tangible and visceral way before an astonished audience.

The play "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child" in London is performed in English only. Although the visual experience and special effects are universally enjoyable, a basic understanding of English can significantly enrich your appreciation of the dialogue and plot. For those who might find this daunting, consider familiarizing yourself with the story in advance.

Staging and special effects

The play is a technical feat, using cutting-edge special effects to recreate the illusion of live magic. From spells to transformations, each magical element is rendered with a precision and reality that defy imagination, making "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child" a benchmark in live performance. The innovative set design, combined with sophisticated lighting and sound techniques, immerses the audience in the magical world, offering an unparalleled immersive experience.

The strategic use of sets, costumes, and props also contributes to the enchanting atmosphere of the play. Every detail, from wizard robes to spell books, is designed to reinforce the illusion and transport the audience to Hogwarts, the Ministry of Magic, and beyond. This meticulous attention to detail ensures that each spectator's experience is not only entertaining but deeply immersive.

The play is renowned for its dynamic and visually stunning scenes, which use physical theater techniques and precise choreography to narrate action sequences and wizard duels. The interaction between actors, special effects, and scenic elements creates truly magical theater moments, where the spectator is transported to the heart of the action.

The production's ability to captivate the audience and maintain narrative tension throughout the two parts of the performance contributes to its status as one of the most remarkable theatrical experiences in London.

The play has been widely acclaimed for the way it transports spectators into the magical world of Harry Potter, with reviews highlighting the 'real' nature of the magic on stage. Newspapers like The Times, The Telegraph, and Forbes have respectively hailed the play as a magical achievement and a phenomenon that British theater has not seen in decades.

Why see "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child" in London?

Seeing "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child" in London is a unique opportunity to connect more deeply with the Harry Potter universe. The play is held in the heart of the city that inspired so many elements of the saga, offering fans the chance to explore the cultural and geographical context surrounding the story. Attending the play in London's West End, where the history of magic seems to permeate the walls, adds a layer of authenticity and emotional connection for fans of the series.

Moreover, "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child" gives audiences the chance to see performances by actors who bring new life to their favorite characters, as well as to meet new characters that enrich the Harry Potter universe. The play allows fans to extend their experience of the magical world, exploring new themes and questions that resonate with both young generations and long-time fans.

 

"Harry Potter and the Cursed Child" is not just a play; it's a celebration of magic, imagination, and theatrical innovation. Its success is based on the combination of a captivating story, groundbreaking staging, and masterful execution, offering audiences a truly unique and memorable theatrical experience.

Plan your visit

The unique structure of "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child", split into two distinct parts, offers a profound and extensive theatrical experience. You have the option to see both parts in one day or to spread them over 2 days. This flexibility allows spectators to choose between an immersive one-day experience or to extend the magical enjoyment. Each part lasts approximately 2h40, including a 20-minute intermission to relax and refresh. Familiarizing yourself with the format of the play will help you better plan your visit, taking into account the performance schedules and your availability.

By preparing for your visit, you ensure not only the best seats and deals but also a magical and unforgettable theatrical experience in the heart of London. Planning is key to an enchanted adventure, from the moment you purchase tickets to your arrival at the theatre, and until the curtain rises on the captivating world of Harry Potter.

Purchase tickets for "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child" in London

Tickets for the play "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child" are available on the official website of the play and on other ticket selling platforms, which sometimes offer them at more advantageous prices than the official site (last minute or promotion).

The ticket prices vary depending on the seat category, with options suitable for all budgets, starting at £15 for one part. Packages combining both parts are offered, allowing for a complete immersion in the story with rates starting at £30.

It is recommended to book your tickets in advance, especially during school holiday periods, to ensure availability and to get the best seats at an affordable price.

Get to the Palace Theatre

Located on the famous Shaftesbury Avenue, in the heart of London, the Palace Theatre is easily accessible via public transport:

  • Leicester Square Station: this station is served by the Northern (black) and Piccadilly (dark blue) lines. Exiting Leicester Square Station, the Palace Theatre is about a 5-minute walk away.
  • Tottenham Court Road Station: located a bit further than Leicester Square Station, this station is on the Central (red) and Northern (black) lines. From Tottenham Court Road Station, the theatre is about an 8-minute walk, allowing you to enjoy the lively streets of London along the way.

For those who prefer to come by bus, several lines serve stops near the theatre, offering a flexible alternative to the subway. And for cycling enthusiasts, self-service bike stations are also available in the vicinity.

If necessary, use Google Maps or the website (or mobile app) of London's transport (TfL) to plan your route and check real-time schedules.

Accessibility

The production of "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child" in London is committed to making the magical experience accessible to all. The Palace Theatre has implemented several measures to ensure the play is accessible to individuals with specific needs:

  • Theatre access: the theatre is equipped to welcome visitors in wheelchairs, with accessible entrances and dedicated spaces in the auditorium. It is recommended to contact the theatre in advance to arrange the necessary accommodations and ensure availability.
  • Sign language or captioned performances: for deaf or hard-of-hearing spectators, the theatre offers performances interpreted in British Sign Language (BSL) orcaptioned - these special sessions allow following the dialogue and action on stage through screens displaying real-time subtitles.
  • Audio-described performances: in addition to sign language or captioned shows, the production periodically organizes performances with audio description, for blind or visually impaired visitors.
  • Relaxed performances: the play offers performances specially adapted for autistic individuals or those with other special needs who might find it difficult to attend regular shows. These minor adaptations are designed to preserve all the magic of the original performance while adjusting the theatrical experience – from arriving at the theatre to purchasing souvenirs, to seating in the auditorium. Quiet areas are available for those who need a more tranquil space during the performance, and the play can be followed on a screen in these areas for a more relaxed experience if necessary.
  • Special seating: at each performance, a selection of seats is reserved for autistic spectators or those with special needs who might need to leave the auditorium at any time. These measures ensure that all visitors can enjoy the play in the best possible conditions.
  • Large print and braille materials: upon request, the theatre can provide play programs in large print or braille for spectators with specific visual needs.

The production of "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child" and the Palace Theatre work together to ensure an inclusive experience for all its spectators. For more information on accessibility and the services offered, feel free to visit the official website of the play or to contact the theatre directly at +44 33 0333 4813.

This inclusion demonstrates the production's commitment to offering a welcoming and considerate experience, allowing all Harry Potter fans, regardless of their abilities, to fully enjoy the magic of the play.

Around the play

London, the pulsating heart of the Harry Potter universe, is a true playground for fans eager to explore the magic beyond the Palace Theatre stage.

Memorabilia

The theatrical experience "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child" wouldn't be complete without taking home a magical souvenir. The theatre and its specialized online store offer a wide range of officially licensed merchandise:

  • At the theatre: at the exit of the play, directly at the Palace Theatre, you'll find a souvenir shop where each item is a piece of the play's magic. Whether it's a scarf in the colors of your favorite house, a replica of a character's wand, or a play program, there's something for every fan to keep a piece of the experience with them.
  • Online: for those wishing to extend the magic at home, the official online store offers a broad selection of "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child" merchandise. From clothing and accessories to wand replicas and jewelry inspired by the play, it's easy to find the perfect gift for oneself or a friend who is a fan of the Harry Potter universe.

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These exclusive souvenirs enrich your journey into the magical world of Harry Potter, allowing you to maintain a connection with the story and its characters, long after the performance has ended.

Other Harry Potter experiences in London

The British capital is brimming with Harry Potter-themed activities, extending well beyond the play "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child":

  • Guided tours of Harry Potter filming locations in London: London provides the backdrop for many key scenes in the Harry Potter films. Numerous guided tours of the Harry Potter film locations are organized throughout the city, allowing fans to follow in the footsteps of Harry, Hermione, and Ron by visiting iconic sites such as Diagon Alley, the entrance to the Ministry of Magic, or the Platform 9 ¾ at King's Cross station.

Guided tour of Harry Potter filming locations in London

From 11.74 € (or £10)

From £10 (or 11.74 €)

  • Harry Potter Studio Tour (Warner Bros. Studio Tour London - The Making of Harry Potter): this immersive tour takes you behind the scenes of the Harry Potter films, with its original sets, costumes, and props. It's a unique opportunity to see up close the detailed work that went into creating the magical world of Harry Potter, including Dumbledore's office, the Forbidden Forest, and the Hogwarts Express.

Warner Bros. Studio Tour - The Making of Harry Potter

From 105 € (or £89)

From £89 (or 105 €)

These experiences allow visitors to dive even deeper into the magical world of Harry Potter, making their trip to London an unforgettable adventure.

 

"Harry Potter and the Cursed Child" is a theatrical experience not to be missed for fans of the Harry Potter universe. Offering a captivating continuation of the beloved story, the play stands out for its profound narrative, breathtaking special effects, and revolutionary staging. As a significant cultural event in London, it attracts not only Harry Potter fans, but also theater enthusiasts from around the world. Visiting London to see "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child" is an exceptional opportunity to experience the magic of the Harry Potter universe in an entirely new and immersive way. Whether through the captivating performances of the actors, the masterfully designed sets, or the enchanting music, every aspect of the play contributes to creating a memorable experience for the audience.

"Harry Potter and the Cursed Child" is much more than a play; it's a gateway to a world of magic and adventure, promising visitors of all ages a magical escape they'll never forget in the heart of London.

Play "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child" at the Palace Theatre in London