There has been a casting change for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, but it's not what you think! The producers of the London stage play have removed live owls after one escaped into the audience during a preview earlier this week.
The producers said in a statement,
"The production of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is currently in its preview stage, with the process designed to allow the creative team time to rehearse changes or explore specific scenes further before the play's official opening. The owls that were associated with the production were expertly cared for by a team of certified trainers and an on-site specialist veterinary surgeon (Steve Smith, Member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons) who ensured the owls' welfare and enrichment needs were safeguarded at all times. This was of utmost importance to the production.
After the incident, they decided to switch the live owls for realistic pieces and added a sign in the theater explaining the change. Mimi Bekhechi, the director of PETA, approved of the decision. She applauded the producers for "coming to its senses" and "recognizing that treating owls like props goes against every message of respect and kindness that J.K. Rowling's wonderful books taught us."
Funny tech mishap: a live owl went to its spot then flew away. They couldn’t get it back and I’m not sure they have yet. Crew was scrambling— Andrew Sims (@sims) June 7, 2016
New sign added after Part 1 on Tuesday. There WAS a real owl, who got lost during live show (see my earlier tweet) pic.twitter.com/hvNWWuXnrv— Andrew Sims (@sims) June 9, 2016
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child will officially open at the Palace Theatre London on July 30 and runs through May 2017, with the script being released via Scholastic worldwide on July 31.