JK Rowling to give Harry Potter West End debut

JK Rowling is to collaborate on a stage play exploring the early years of Harry Potter.

JK Rowling will bring Harry Potter to London's West End. Picture: PA
JK Rowling will bring Harry Potter to London's West End. Picture: PA

The Scottish-based author has announced she is working on a production about the boy wizard’s life before he attended Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

Ms Rowling said in a statement the play will “explore the previously untold story of Harry’s early years as an orphan and outcast” while he lived under the Dursleys’ family staircase.

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She will be co-produce the show with veteran producers Sonia Friedman and Colin Callender. But though she plans to collaborate with a writer for the production, she will not write the script herself.

Ms Rowling said: “Over the years, I have received countless approaches about turning Harry Potter into a theatrical production, but Sonia and Colin’s vision was the only one that really made sense to me, and which had the sensitivity, intensity and intimacy I thought appropriate for bringing Harry’s story to the stage.

“After a year in gestation, it is exciting to see this project moving on to the next phase.”

The theatre producers revealed the play will include several Hogwart’s stalwarts.

They said: “Featuring some of our favourite characters from the Harry Potter books, this new work will offer a unique insight into the heart and mind of the now legendary young wizard.

“Writers and directors are now being considered, and the project will move into development in 2014.”

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Rowling’s seven Harry Potter best-sellers have already been adapted into eight blockbuster films starring Daniel Radcliffe in the title role.

It is believed Warner Bros, the studio behind the films, will also be involved in the development of the ­theatre show.

Ms Friedman is a frequent producer of stage shows in the UK and United States. She is currently producing Twelfth Night and Richard III, which have won five-star reviews. She also played a major role in ensuring the religious satire The Book of Mormon came to the West End.

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Mr Callender scored a Broadway success last season with Lucky Guy, starring Tom Hanks.

He was president of HBO Films 1999-2008 before becoming a producer for both stage and TV, with small-screen credits including the Dracula series.

Loved by children and adults around the world, the series of books on the wizard – which began in 1997 with Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – has sold more than 450 million copies and been translated into 
77 languages.

Ms Rowling wrote the first book while unemployed, living in Edinburgh and supporting her daughter by herself, 
famously writing in local cafes.

Earlier this year, the author revealed she would be making her screen-writing debut on a new Potter-themed film series for the Warner Bros studio.

She is working on a screenplay featuring characters from the Potter companion book Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.