Barking Riverside, Scrattons Farm and Thames View

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: a review

It was a great pleasure to have been recently invited as a VIP to the gala night for the production of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child performed by Riverside Secondary School students.

The evening kicked off with drinks and canapés among a sea of local people including parents, members of various community groups, sixth form students and teachers. Even West End and Broadway producer Sonia Friedman herself along with her troupe attended the enchanting experience – tearing up at one point during the play!

This special edition, adapted for secondary school stages and performers, certainly captivated the audience with the cast exalting such theatrical maturity!

The play is based on the original story by JK Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne, set 19 years after Harry, Ron and Hermione saved the wizarding world, with a brave new generation having just arrived at the legendary Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

The play was performed in the main hall of the school where assemblies are usually delivered and where the students eat their lunch. The place was transformed into a misty and dark place, peppered with various props, smoke and lighting – a scene right out of one of JK Rowling’s books.

This performance carries unique significance: Riverside School is located in the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham, one of the most deprived boroughs in the UK, according to Trust for London*. It is also one of the lowest boroughs for cultural engagement and aspiration, according to Arts Council England.

The school is using this production as a catalyst for fundraising efforts for the construction of the Barking Riverside’s cultural heartbeat: a performing arts centre, with a professional setting serving the school and the community. The new centre would enable the school to take cultural provisions to the next level of professionalism and provide opportunities for the local community to get involved with cultural activities they would not normally access, closer to home.

It was truly a privilege to have been able to see such talented young people in action. Thanking all the students – actors and backstage assistants – lighting and sound technicians, teachers and mentors, who all worked extremely hard during such a short time to deliver an exquisite performance. Well done Riverside School!

For more information on the performing arts centre, please contact Soren Ramsing (


By Venilia Amorim

Local resident and REB member

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