5 Minutes With Dumbledore From Harry Potter And The Cursed Child

There’s magic in every moment in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the most awarded play in history and “one of the most defining pop culture events of the decade” (Forbes). And now, the 8th Harry Potter story is bringing the magic back to London’s West End.

This week, we sat down with Ian Redford who plays the iconic role of Dumbledore in the show. Not only is he stepping into the shoes of Hollywood greats such as Richard Harris, Michael Gambon & Jude Law, but Ian is currently the oldest working actor on the West End!

Check out our conversation below, and book your tickets today!

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Can you tell us a bit more about your character, Dumbledore? Is this a different Dumbledore to the ones we may have seen in the movies?

Ian: Well, no, it's not a different Dumbledore at all, except that by the time the play starts, he's dead! So he appears in a portrait in this play. As you know the pictures in Harry Potter can move, so he acts as a sort of memoir. He tries to remind characters of things and helps to advise them, but he can’t physically help.



It’s amazing that you’re currently the oldest actor working on the West End! Is there any advice or tips you’d give your younger self if you were starting all over again?

Ian: Ah. I'd say, don't worry, it'll work itself out. When you're young, you tend to look at other actors and compare that somebody's more famous than you or more successful than you or works more than you. I think it's best to remember that it's a long game and that it comes and goes. You can get some really good spells and then some rather difficult spells.

There’s an amazing quote that I love:

“It's not about talent. It's not about luck in any way. It's about endurance.”

I think that you just have to say, ‘well, I'm in this now, so I'll just endure being in it.’ So I'd say endurance, don't worry, and don't take it too seriously!



You’re playing a very well-known and well-loved character. Was it daunting taking on such an iconic part? How did you approach playing it?

Ian: Yes and no. Of course, this is an iconic character but the only Dumbledore I can play is the Dumbledore written in the script!

To prepare, I first read all the books and I went through every one and made a mark where Dumbledore is mentioned so that I knew where [the character] came from. I also had a session with the associate director because I just didn't want to generalise Dumbledore’s emotions.

I’ve tried to play on his wisdom and his manipulativeness, because he was a very manipulative man! He’s not a completely straight guy in the sense that he doesn’t always mean what he says, and he doesn't always say what he means. But it really is an ongoing thing. I'm probably going to reread the books this year again to see if I learn anything new, just to keep it as fresh as possible. But yeah, he's a terrific character.



The special effects and magic in Harry Potter And The Cursed Child are absolutely spell-binding. If you could create your own spell, what would you create, and why?

Ian: To make everybody happy, I think that would be a wonderful gift to have to transform people’s attitudes and mind. It's a very, very tough life out there with the way things are, particularly for the under 30s. And so I'd love to be able to wave a magic wand and give people a positive outlook on life even when things are really dark.



Without giving any spoilers for people who haven’t seen the show, do you have a favourite moment or line in the show?

Ian: I love the last line. But I can’t say what that is because that would be a spoiler…  My favourite line that my character says is:

“There is no perfect answer in this messy emotional world, Harry.”

And another favourite, because I think it's quite ironic, is when Dumbledore says to Harry:

“You're asking me of all people how to protect a poor boy in terrible danger?”



And finally, describe Harry Potter And The Cursed Child in 3 words.

Ian: Exhilarating. Witty. Great storytelling. That's 4 words. Sorry!


You can book tickets now for this spell-binding play!

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