Mon, March 11, 2019

Melbourne is the first city in the world – outside of London and New York – to host Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, a new two-part play, written by JK Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany. The play picks up where the epilogue of the final novel in the series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, left off; 19 years after the Battle of Hogwarts. It has won 24 major theatre awards in the UK and is the most-awarded production in the history of Britain’s prestigious Olivier Awards. The play opened on Broadway in April 2018 to rave reviews and in Melbourne in February 2019.

And right in the middle of this internationally successful and star-studded story is one of our very own Australian School of the Arts alumna – Manali Datar (Year of 2015) – who was cast as Rose Granger-Weasley, daughter of Ron and Hermoine.

In a foretaste of things to come, Manali won the Senior College Cultural Award, Actress of the Year and the overall Gold Award, for the student deemed most likely to succeed in their chosen Arts profession, at the Arts Academy Awards in her final year at Sheldon College, Brisbane.  With her sights set on a career in the Entertainment Industry, Manali moved to Victoria, post school to study at the Victorian College of the Arts.

Manali was born in India and her casting follows a now established tradition of "culturally diverse" Rose and Hermione characters. The significance of this diversity apparently struck Manali long before she knew of a possible Australian production. "When I heard about it, I was like, this would be something I'd love to watch, to have someone my age, or girls even younger, go to the theatre and see themselves represented on stage," she says. "I just feel grateful to have the opportunity to be in a show that is this progressive."

We are so immensely proud of what you have achieved Manali and will certainly be making our way down to Melbourne at some point to watch you perform!