Harry Potter & The Cursed Child Has Fired Its Owls

Photo: Courtesy of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Facebook.
Pictured: Jamie Parker plays Harry Potter in the West End play.
There'll be some owl actors looking for work this week. Producers of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child have decided to replace the play's real owls with props after an incident during a preview performance on Tuesday. During the show, a live owl failed to return to its handler, and escaped through the auditorium. What have you got to say for yourself, Hedwig?

The West End play, due to premiere on July 30, issued a statement about the change:

"The production of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is currently in its preview stage, with the process designed to allow the creative team time to rehearse changes or explore specific scenes further before the play's official opening," the producers said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter. "The owls that were associated with the production were expertly cared for by a team of certified trainers and an on-site specialist veterinary surgeon (Steve Smith, Member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons) who ensured the owls' welfare and enrichment needs were safeguarded at all times. This was of utmost importance to the production."

PETA director Mimi Bekhechi praised the production for "recognizing that treating owls like props goes against every message of respect and kindness that J.K. Rowling's wonderful books taught us.

"Harry Potter can now join the ranks of innovative stage productions like War Horse, The Lion King, and Running Wild, which prove that animals need not be exploited for the theater and that the possibilities of prop design are limited only by our own creativity," she added.

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