London: Harry Potter makes his stage debut on Tuesday in a new London play that imagines the fictional boy wizard as a father of three, in the latest offshoot of the globally successful franchise.
"Harry Potter and the Cursed Child" is set 19 years after the seventh and final book in the series by J.K. Rowling, which have sold more than 450 million copies since 1997 and been adapted into eight films.
Like many of his fans, Potter has now grown up and has three children with his wife Ginny Weasley, the sister of his friend Ron, and is working at the Ministry of Magic.
He still has his trademark round-rimmed glasses and the scar on his head, a permanent reminder of his nemesis Lord Voldemort, but must now help his youngest son Albus confront the family's dark past.
Cut-price previews for the play at the Palace Theatre, in London's West End, begin on Tuesday ahead of the world premiere on July 30.
But the anticipation has been building for months, not least among its stars, including Jamie Parker, the 36-year-old actor who plays Potter.
“These are stories that people have lived with for their whole lives, they’ve grown up with and now they're adults re-joining the tale, picking it up where they left off — and I'm one of them,” he told Pottermore website.
The play looks set to be a commercial hit. The first 175,000 tickets sold within 24 hours in October, and the script is already a bestseller....