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Jamie Parker: Harry Potter casting row is pointless

Noma Dumezweni, Jamie Parker and Paul Thornley have been cast in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Photo: Simon Annand.
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Forthcoming Harry Potter star Jamie Parker has hit back at critics of Noma Dumezweni’s casting in the role of Hermione.

He claimed it was “a debate that is over before it’s even begun” and described Dumezweni as a “stonking actress”.

Parker and Dumezweni were announced as the stars of the upcoming stage production of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child at the end of last year, prompting some people to question whether Hermione should be played by a black actor.

Speaking to The Stage at the opening night of Guys and Dolls, in which he is currently starring, Parker told The Stage: “In real terms, it’s a debate that is over before it’s even begun. JK Rowling has given her complete support to the production so it’s game over as far as I am concerned.”

He added: “It doesn’t surprise me but it doesn’t depress me and I think we are lucky to have Noma. She is brilliant. I’ve known her for over 10 years and she is a stonking actress who is going to be a brilliant Hermione. I can’t wait to get started.”

Parker also talked about the importance of affordable tickets to productions. The cheapest tickets for Harry Potter are £10.

He said: “If you are not getting people who have never been to the theatre before to come then you are not doing your job. I have spent a lot of time working at the Globe, where 700 tickets are £5 a head.”

Parker added: “For my money, all theatre should be free. I don’t think people should be priced out of going to the theatre… But we have to recognise that it is a show business. Whatever we can do to get people through the doors, we should be doing that.”

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