‘Harry Potter’ stage play to include focus on parents, ‘Once’ director may helm

Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling has settled on a director and a writer to collaborate with her on a West End play that will explore the boy wizard’s early years, and the story of his parents.

I can reveal that negotiations are at an early stage with John Tiffany, who became an A-list stage director after helping to turn award-winning shows Black Watch and Once into international hits.

He’s on the Tony nominations list this year for his sublime revival of The Glass Menagerie on Broadway.


Tiffany has an uncanny knack of turning unconventional tales into must-see theatre.

Recently, he staged writer Jack Thorne’s adaptation of Let The Right One In, the tale of a young vampire who befriends a lonely lad who’s bullied at school.

The National Theatre of Scotland production opened at the Dundee Repertory Theatre last year, then moved to London’s Royal Court and is now playing at the Apollo, Shaftesbury Avenue.

In January, it won the South Bank Sky Arts Award for best play.

Thorne is being actively pursued to work with Rowling on the Potter play. Rowling has met both men, but discussions have not been concluded.

If deals can be reached with the classy pair then it will send a potent signal that the Potter stage project will be a work to be reckoned with, and not some limp rip-off.

Harry’s early years as an orphan and outcast will be the focus of the drama, which could well be in a London theatre by late next year.

The piece will also explore the story of Harry’s parents, ace wizards Lily Evans Potter and James Potter.

They were murdered by the dark Lord Voldemort when Harry was just 15 months old.

The stage drama is being eagerly anticipated by more than just Harry Potter fans.

The West End’s major theatre executives are all hoping their venue will the one chosen to house the magical play. I understand that an executive from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Group has made an early bid to secure the production.

RUG controls big-capacity theatres such as the London Palladium and the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane.

However, it’s not known how big a theatre the show’s producers and director want, and that won’t become clear until Thorne (if his deal is agreed) turns in his play.

Rowling won’t be writing the show, but she will be collaborating. She will also co-produce, although the lead producers will be Sonia Friedman and Colin Callender.

Warner Bros, the studio behind the movies, is also involved.

A top executive at Warner’s explained to me that getting the play right is paramount. ‘We will see what we have when it’s written, and proceed from there. Remember: it’s a play, not a musical; so we may not require a great big theatre.’ But certainly not a small one.

Oh, and there will be magic!

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