Entertainment & Arts

Harry Potter audiences asked to arrive an hour early

l-r Draco Malfoy (Alex Price), Scorpius Malfoy (Anthony Boyle) photo by Charlie Gray Image copyright Charlie Gray
Image caption The latest cast portraits show Draco Malfoy (Alex Price - on left) and Scorpius Malfoy (Anthony Boyle)

Audiences for the new Harry Potter play in London will face tight security when the play begins previews next week.

A message being sent to ticket holders asks them to arrive at the theatre an hour before the performance to ensure they are seated in good time.

No "suitcases or large bags" are allowed into the theatre, and smaller bags will be searched on entry.

Previews of the play begin at the West End's Palace Theatre on 7 June and it officially opens at the end of July.

The two-part Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the series and the first official story of the franchise to be presented on stage.

The plot sees Harry Potter as a husband and father of three school-age children, with a job working for the Ministry of Magic.

Image copyright Charlie Gray
Image caption Jamie Parker (Harry), Sam Clemmett (Albus) and Poppy Miller (Ginny Potter)

Cast photos were released this week showing the main characters in costume for the first time.

Jamie Parker stars as the adult Harry, Noma Dumezweni plays Hermione Granger and Paul Thornley is Ron Weasley.

Sam Clemmett was announced this week as the character Albus Severus Potter - the cursed child referred to in the title.

The latest cast portraits, released on Thursday, show Draco Malfoy, played by Alex Price, and his son Scorpius Malfoy (Anthony Boyle)

Security checks

An email sent to ticket holders for the first preview performances said security checks would be taking place and asked them to "aim to arrive one hour before the start time".

"All admissible bags will be searched upon each entry to the theatre. Any dangerous items, professional photography, video or audio recording equipment will not be allowed into the building. This is a condition of entry," it said.

"Please note that you will be checked prior to admittance for both Parts One and Two, and if you leave the theatre at any point you will be checked again prior to re-admittance.

"The use of photography and recording equipment of any kind is prohibited. Unauthorised recordings will be confiscated and deleted."

Image copyright Charlie Gray
Image caption Paul Thornley (Ron), Noma Dumezweni (Hermione) and Cherrelle Skeete (right) as Rose Granger-Weasley

A spokesperson for the production told the BBC: "We're taking security seriously to make sure it's an easy and enjoyable experience for theatre-goers."

She said the early arrival time was about making sure the show started on time and would allow people to be sure about their journey home.

Patrons were advised about the bag restrictions up front, she said, because "like in most theatres, the cloakroom space is tiny".

She added that, in common with most theatres, audiences would be asked to turn off their phone and recording devices before the performances.

Last year, Benedict Cumberbatch asked theatre goers not to film his stage performance of Shakespeare's Hamlet at the Barbican theatre in London.

The plea came after the actor was distracted by red camera lights from the auditorium during the previews.

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