Theatre News

Paul Thornley: 'Playing Ron Weasley is like shooting fish in a barrel'

The ”Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” actor was talking at the launch of this year’s WhatsOnStage Awards

Sam Clemmett and Paul Thornley
Sam Clemmett and Paul Thornley
© Dan Wooller for WhatsOnStage

Paul Thornley, the actor currently tasked with portraying Ron Weasley in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, has told WhatsOnStage that he didn't feel extra pressure taking on such a well-loved character.

At the launch of the 17th Annual WhatsOnStage Awards, in which he's been nominated for Best Supporting Actor in a Play, WhatsOnStage asked Thornley him if taking on such a well known role has made his job as an actor harder, to which he said: "No, not for me. Lots of people think the character is amazing, so it’s like shooting fish in a barrel.

"A lot of my job is done before I’ve even walked on the stage. It’s a bit different for Sam [Clemmett who plays Albus Potter] and Anthony [Boyle who plays Scorpius Malfoy], because they play these new characters."

"It was quite daunting going on stage for the first time, not knowing how these characters were going to go down," Clemmett added, "especially when you’ve got these three characters that everyone’s followed for ages."

Thornley also spoke about his amazement at the distances Harry Potter fans have travelled to see the show, with some theatregoers visiting from as far as Singapore and beyond: "We had a powercut last Friday and there was talk of us having to cancel the show, which would have been a nightmare. You can’t say to people: 'you can have another ticket, but in three years time.'"

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child lead the way in this years WhatsOnStage Awards shortlist with a total of 11 nominations, including for Anthony Doyle (Best Supporting Actor in a Play), Jamie Parker (Best Actor in a Play) and Noma Dumezweni (Best Supporting Actress in a Play). The two part production also received a nomination for Best New Play. The full shortlist can be found here.

Meanwhile, across the pond, the show's producers have confirmed they are in exclusive talks with ATG to transfer the show to Broadway's Lyric Theatre in the spring of 2018. You can read the full story on our sister site TheaterMania here.

Click here to vote for the winners in the 17th Annual WhatsOnStage Awards