With Harry Potter and the Cursed Child on its way in May of next year, it was only a matter of time before casting announcements made their way to us.
And this one is truly spectacular.
Today is was announced that Jamie Parker, Noma Dumezweni, and Paul Thornley will be playing the parts of Harry, Hermione, and Ron respectively. Parker is best known as one of the original members of The History Boys. SFF fans might recognize him from the role of Grant in the BBC miniseries adaptation of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. Dumezweni is best known to fans for her portrayal of Captain Erisa Magambo in the Doctor Who series 4 episode “Turn Left.” Thornley is known for roles in Ashes to Ashes, Les Miserables, and Grimsby, and is currently filming The Crown for Netflix.
It would seem that one of the writers on the show, Jack Tiffany, was already working with Dumezweni and Thornley while the show was being developed, having them act out scenes to get an idea of how they would work on stage.
All three actors are exciting picks (Parker seems a natural for Harry), but it is the casting of Noma Dumezweni that is bound to capture the imagination of fans the world over. It has long been pointed out that there is no indication of Hermione’s skin color in the books, and there have been depictions in fan art and fan fiction for years explicitly painting Hermione as a woman of color. With the casting of Dumezweni (who was born in Swaziland and moved to the U.K. when she was seven), this depiction is finally a reality. Young black girls who imagined themselves as Gryffindor’s brightest student will now have the chance to see that reflected on stage.
There is really no overstating in the importance of this casting choice. As if weren’t enough reasons to look forward to this show, now we have a chance to see a new vision of Potter of stage, one that welcomes the hopes and dreams of fans who have been there right from the beginning.