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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Nixes The Use of Real Owls In Previews

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Previews for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the stage play and next installment of the Harry Potter franchise, began earlier this week–the show doesn’t officially open until July 30, but it’s safe to say that the excitement for fans has been on another level.

While J.K. Rowling herself and several other parties involved with the show made the polite request to those fortunate audience members to #KeepTheSecrets of the play and its plot, many have already been tweeting and sharing their positive non-spoilery reactions. (Still, like anything, we advise caution if you choose to wander into the hashtag–there are those who aren’t as kind when it comes to spoilers.)

As anxious as everyone with tickets is to get to see Cursed Child for themselves, however, the previews are a good way for the show to work out any final kinks or hitches as the cast performs through–and it looks like they’ve already made one decision to cut some actors. Non-human actors, that is.

During the first performance, an owl had been trained to make a brief flight during a scene, but didn’t return to its handler and escaped into the auditorium. While the owl was eventually recovered unharmed, the show decided to nix the idea of using live owls in future performances. In a statement, producers for the play assured everyone that trainers and an on-site veterinary surgeon had been available to “[ensure] the owls’ welfare and enrichment needs were safeguarded at all times”, which was of the “utmost importance to the production.”

(via The Hollywood Reporter)

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