- The Stage - https://www.thestage.co.uk -

Oliviers 2017: Harry Potter playwright Jack Thorne – ‘Theatre must attract PlayStation generation’

Jack Thorne won best new play for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child at the Olivier Awards 2017. Photo: Pamela Raith

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child writer Jack Thorne has said he hopes the play acts as a “gateway drug” to get more people involved with theatre.

Thorne, who picked up the best new play gong, one of the production’s nine Olivier awards, said it was crucial to attract the “PlayStation” audience to theatre for it to thrive in the future.

“John [Tiffany] said the phrase he hates most is someone saying ‘I should go to the theatre more’. We are in a battle with PlayStations, if we’re going to win the we’ve got to find that audience and bring them in,” he said.

“We are getting a lot of new audiences through the door. I hope that they come and see our show, and then they go and see Curious Incident down the road, then they go and see The Glass Menagerie, and then they go and see Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, and fall in love with theatre.”

“I hope we’re like a gateway drug that will get people involved in theatre,” Thorne added.

His comments were echoed by Jamie Parker, who won best actor for his role as Harry Potter in the show.

He said: “Most of those people who are coming are 25 to 35, they’re not regular theatregoers. They’re getting that thing of sharing a common space, being in the same room, creating a community over the course of a long day’s theatre. When you’re in the same room as these coups de theatre that are happening, that’s tangible in a way that you don’t get in any other medium.”

Costume designer Katrina Lindsay, who also won an Olivier for her work on the show, added: “It’s always really lovely when you feel like theatre is reaching out to the next generation and it is great that there have been so many non-theatre people coming in to see the show and loving it.”