30 Jul : The 'Harry Potter and the Cursed Child' Theatre Premiere

July 31st.

Five years ago, back in 2011, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part2" was the largest premiere London has ever had. And yet for some reason, I assumed that the premiere for the 9th story, as a play, would be a small affair. Especially since the play itself has been showing for over a month, and even the official website for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child cautioned that "Please note that the cast will not be appearing front of house (typical of a film premiere) as they will be preparing to begin the show.".

In other words, a theatre premiere doesn't feature the stars of a production, just their guests. But what kind of guests would a Harry Potter Theatre premiere bring? Here's how it went down:

My first thought : Is this a theatre premiere or is there a G8 economic summit in there? Because those barriers aren't merely there to dissuade, they look like they're intended to repel an armed assault.

My first thought : Is this a theatre premiere or is there a G8 economic summit in there? Because those barriers aren't merely there to dissuade, they look like they're intended to repel an armed assault.

"Can you see anything?" "I think it's tactical forces in riot gear. Or regular theatre goers. Or Harry Potter book fans. It's hard to tell, really"

"Can you see anything?"
"I think it's tactical forces in riot gear. Or regular theatre goers. Or Harry Potter book fans. It's hard to tell, really"

Needless to say, with an hour to go before the performance the barriers were in place and the public pens were in full lockdown and security had enough spare time to tell everyone to move on, because there was nothing to see here. Except for fans of crowd control installations, I suppose.

Needless to say, with an hour to go before the performance the barriers were in place and the public pens were in full lockdown and security had enough spare time to tell everyone to move on, because there was nothing to see here. Except for fans of crowd control installations, I suppose.

"I'm sorry... the nature of the secrets to be kept are also, themselves, secret" "Then how do I know whether I'm keeping them?" "I'm sorry. I've already said too much"

"I'm sorry... the nature of the secrets to be kept are also, themselves, secret"
"Then how do I know whether I'm keeping them?"
"I'm sorry. I've already said too much"

Also needless to say, there was no way I'd be allowed to stand here to take photos from the vantagepoint I was using. Why... I might bring about the downfall of western civilisation or something (I'm mainly disappointed because I should have been here much much sooner. The ony previous theatre premiere I've photographed was... well... weird)

Also needless to say, there was no way I'd be allowed to stand here to take photos from the vantagepoint I was using. Why... I might bring about the downfall of western civilisation or something (I'm mainly disappointed because I should have been here much much sooner. The ony previous theatre premiere I've photographed was... well... weird)

I've found a spot near along the pedestrian / civilian guest entranceway - and have photographed one 'regular' attendee : it's the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan!

I've found a spot near along the pedestrian / civilian guest entranceway - and have photographed one 'regular' attendee : it's the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan!

My spot also gives me an excellent, albeit slightly sobering view of a parking suspension sign that might have given me a clue as to how big this premiere could end up being : it's a full 23hrs 59mins....

My spot also gives me an excellent, albeit slightly sobering view of a parking suspension sign that might have given me a clue as to how big this premiere could end up being : it's a full 23hrs 59mins....

Steve Mangan was (thanks to wikipedia) in the Olivier Award-nominated "Jeeves and Wooster in Perfect Nonsense" something I'll openly admit I had no clue about because broadly speaking I'm an uncultured swine where theatre is concerned.

Steve Mangan was (thanks to wikipedia) in the Olivier Award-nominated "Jeeves and Wooster in Perfect Nonsense" something I'll openly admit I had no clue about because broadly speaking I'm an uncultured swine where theatre is concerned.

I hear British Gas is now putting its quarterly bills into these envelopes so people are more likely to open them.

I hear British Gas is now putting its quarterly bills into these envelopes so people are more likely to open them.

"If this ticket has "fake" or "counterfeit" written across it, please speak to security. It might be either fake or counterfeit".

"If this ticket has "fake" or "counterfeit" written across it, please speak to security. It might be either fake or counterfeit".

A car pulls up past the regular theatre goers, and its occupant is fairly recognisably J.K.Rowling - author and creator of Harry Potter, who I previously photographed at the Harry Potter premieres for The Halfblood Prince and The Deathly Hallows part2

A car pulls up past the regular theatre goers, and its occupant is fairly recognisably J.K.Rowling - author and creator of Harry Potter, who I previously photographed at the Harry Potter premieres for The Halfblood Prince and The Deathly Hallows part2

"I'm not sure about signing copies of my books for people. I've sold a lot of books and it might set a dangerous precedent"

"I'm not sure about signing copies of my books for people. I've sold a lot of books and it might set a dangerous precedent"

"I kind of wish I had your mobile phone... there's no way I can take a selfie with this thing...."

"I kind of wish I had your mobile phone... there's no way I can take a selfie with this thing...."

It seems fairly immediately evident that with JK Rowling on the red carpet, there's little to no chance my admittedly fantastic equipment will be able to shoot through the dense black weave being used as barrier plastic for this event. It is therefore fortunate that I also possess a mighty GoPro Hero3+ for precisely such an eventuality.

"Hold on, Jeff. This lady really wants me to sign something. I'm hoping its for an Amazon delivery....." - JK Rowling signs for fans. And also for Amazon deliveries.

"Hold on, Jeff. This lady really wants me to sign something. I'm hoping its for an Amazon delivery....." - JK Rowling signs for fans. And also for Amazon deliveries.

"You wrote Harry Potter and the Cursed Child? Me too!" A thousand lawyers just stopped what they were doing to see where this would go. The man pictured is the play's director John Tiffany and he's telling the truth.

"You wrote Harry Potter and the Cursed Child? Me too!"
A thousand lawyers just stopped what they were doing to see where this would go. The man pictured is the play's director John Tiffany and he's telling the truth.

It's not quite the theatre equivalent of Superman and Batman both having Mums called Martha -- in this case, John Tiffany and JK Rowling collaborated with Jack Thorne (not pictured but he was at the event) to write the story.

It's not quite the theatre equivalent of Superman and Batman both having Mums called Martha -- in this case, John Tiffany and JK Rowling collaborated with Jack Thorne (not pictured but he was at the event) to write the story.

"Thank goodness you're here. I forgot my ticket!"

"Thank goodness you're here. I forgot my ticket!"

"Could you sign this?" "Sure. What is it?" "One of your books" "Excellent choice!"

"Could you sign this?"
"Sure. What is it?"
"One of your books"
"Excellent choice!"

"There's this lady signing all these peoples' books. I don't know who she is but she seems nice!"

"There's this lady signing all these peoples' books. I don't know who she is but she seems nice!"

"Well, Ms Rowling, ideally I'd want you to look as honoured to be standing next to me as I feel standing next to you. But you looking bemused while I'm abjectly overawed and terrified might also work."

"Well, Ms Rowling, ideally I'd want you to look as honoured to be standing next to me as I feel standing next to you. But you looking bemused while I'm abjectly overawed and terrified might also work."

" 'bye guys : it's been eight books, nine movies and now a play. Next up : I'm working on an interpretive dance spectacular!!"

" 'bye guys : it's been eight books, nine movies and now a play. Next up : I'm working on an interpretive dance spectacular!!"

"I don't know what I'm photographing and also I'm hazy on how the camera on this thing works. But if it's meant to be, it's meant to be..."

"I don't know what I'm photographing and also I'm hazy on how the camera on this thing works. But if it's meant to be, it's meant to be..."

"Can you see anything?" "I think we just negotiated a free trade deal with Costa Rica, but I'm not sure"

"Can you see anything?"
"I think we just negotiated a free trade deal with Costa Rica, but I'm not sure"

The Palace Theatre, earlier that week.... That kid inside the birds nest with wings could have had a nice afternoon nap with only passing bus traffic to wake him up.

The Palace Theatre, earlier that week.... That kid inside the birds nest with wings could have had a nice afternoon nap with only passing bus traffic to wake him up.

I guess I'd better get myself onto The Harry Potter Play website and figure out how (why) you buy tickets to a two-part play without just buying one ticket.

I guess I'd better get myself onto The Harry Potter Play website and figure out how (why) you buy tickets to a two-part play without just buying one ticket.

So... that was that. Worth it? Hard to say. It's always faintly embarrassing to be stranded outside a premiere, but this one was weird (for one thing : I still don't know if there was a second premiere later that day for the second part of the play. Wouldn't everyone with a ticket to both parts have to re-enter the theatre?)..... although I'm glad I made the time and it was kind of cool to photograph the setup outside the event.

Next week, it's back to regular movie premieres but I guess I'll put this into The Archive of Movie Premieres next to its predecessors, Harry Potter and the Halfblood Prince and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part2.

Until next time!

ps. if you want to know whenever I post a new premiere journal, feel free to follow me on twitter @berndt2_photo or on facebook by clicking here (or demand that I add you to my mailing list by emailing me at bernd.talasch@optusnet.com.au).