J.K. Rowling to produce Harry Potter stage show

Friday, December 20th, 2013. Filed under: Books Entertainment Film International Stars
Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling ©AFP PHOTO / CARL COURT

Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling
©AFP PHOTO / CARL COURT

(LONDON-AFP) – Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling is to co-produce a British stage show about the boy wizard’s early years living with his cruel non-magical aunt and uncle, she announced on Friday.

Rowling said she would work with the writer on the new play, charting Harry’s lonely childhood when he was forced to sleep in a cupboard under the stairs, but would not script it herself.

She will start the project early next year, working with producers Sonia Friedman — who has brought a string of hit shows to New York’s Broadway and London’s West End theatres — and Colin Callender.

“Over the years I have received countless approaches about turning Harry Potter into a theatrical production,” said Rowling on her website.

“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.”

Rowling has sold more than 450 million copies of the Harry Potter books, which were also made into a blockbuster film series.

The first Potter novel, published in 1997, sees the orphaned Harry find out he has magical powers.

He sets off to the wizarding school Hogwarts, freeing him from his miserable life with his aunt and uncle, Vernon and Petunia Dursley, and their bullying son Dudley.

Rowling said she had not yet chosen a writer or director for the play.

The author finished Harry’s wizarding adventures in 2007, but has since kept busy by writing two novels for adults and starting work on a new Potter spin-off film series.

Her first novel for adults, “The Casual Vacancy”, won mixed reviews when it was published last year.

But in July she was unmasked as the real author of a critically acclaimed detective novel, “The Cuckoo’s Calling”, which she had published under the pen name Robert Galbraith.

The new spin-off film series will feature magical zoologist Newt Scamander, the author of Harry’s textbook “Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them”.

Announced in July, it will see Rowling make her screen-writing debut, putting her in line for another huge payday.

With an estimated fortune of £560 million ($916 million, 670 million euros) the former single mother is the 156th wealthiest person in Britain, according to The Sunday Times newspaper’s Rich List 2013.

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