A year ago the Manhattan-based theatre designer was offered an opportunity of a lifetime — to create a magical set for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the premier play about an aged Harry based on the eighth story of the blockbuster series by author J.K. Rowling.
Jones has already created the half-inch model of what is sure to be a fantastical set — she’s not revealing anything yet — and is packing and organizing her life to head to London to immerse herself in all things wizardly from February 15 until August.
“It’s not conventional that a designer is at all rehearsals, but the project is so epic and a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” Jones says.
“So I felt like I wanted to be immersed in the process and the work would be better if I was able to be devoted to it. Not to mention the fact that my kids are the exact right age. For them to see it all come together will be quite exciting.”
Palace Theatre “perfect” venue
Indeed, Pilot, 11, and Ever, 8, will no doubt be the envy of many a Harry Potter fan, with their inside peek into the play, in which Harry is now “an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic and the father of three children,” according to the play’s website.
Jones’s canvas for the next several months will be the stage of London’s Palace Theatre, where Les Miserables played for 19 years and a structure Jones describes as “perfect.”
“It’s a freestanding building that looks like something out of that world, sort of Hogwortian,” she says. “We got very lucky, it’s a great space for it.”
While Jones has met author J.K. Rowling, whose first Potter book came out in 1997, she says she hasn’t meddled in the creative juices of those putting the play together. “She’s been a very generous collaborator,” Jones says. “She’s not writing the play but is involved in the story consultation, so she certainly has a say in it.”
This big break is understandably exciting for Jones, who admits that being an artist, as well as being married to one (her partner is an actor), isn’t easy.