Ever wanted to toss a Quaffle through a Quidditch hoop? Pull a Mandrake from its pot? Feel the leathery insides of the Sorting Hat on your head?
Featuring hundreds of props, sets and costumes spanning the entire Harry Potter film series, the exhibition at Singapore's ArtScience Museum, set to open in June, will focus on the artistry and design of each object and its role in bringing JK Rowling’s books to life. Each display will be laid out in an interactive setting that mimics a popular film location, including the Gryffindor common room, Hagrid’s hut and the Great Hall.
The man responsible for making it all possible is Eddie Newquist, chief creative officer of Global Experience Specialists (GES) and curator of the international exhibition. When Newquist discovered Warner Bros was planning a touring Harry Potter exhibition, he knew he was the man to take charge. 'Certainly in my family, every time a book or film came out it was such a big event,' says Newquist. 'I think that’s true for so many families around the world.'
Newquist and his team took several trips to Leavesden, UK, where much of the Harry Potter series was filmed, to meet with members of the film production team during the early planning stages of the exhibition. Eventually he was forced to call for backup, bringing in reinforcements to help with the arduous task of sorting through hundreds and hundreds of props, costumes and set pieces.
'The film team was nice enough to set up a space for us in the Great Hall where we could lay everything out on the dining tables in order to examine it, measure and photograph it. I think we felt that our biggest challenge was to make sure that the exhibition appealed to every member of the family. We worked very hard to ensure we included a wide variety of artefacts and elements from all of the films.'
Every item Newquist’s team requested was supplied, from Dumbledore’s pet phoenix Fawkes all the way to a life-sized Dementor. Harry’s glasses, Hagrid’s dragon egg, copies of the Daily Prophet, wands and cloaks, Severus Snape’s annotated edition of Advanced Potion-Making, silver Death Eater masks, and fizzing candies from Hogsmeade also feature.
Even the way the exhibition is laid out feels magical: visitors enter through a train platform, Hogwarts looming large in the distance, before arriving in the Great Hall for the Sorting Hat ceremony. One area of the exhibition allows visitors to step inside Hagrid’s dilapidated hut and marvel at all his curious contraptions from the comfort of his oversized chair. In another, visitors are invited to explore one of the Hogwarts classrooms.
So what will visitors – Harry Potter tragics and muggles alike – get out of seeing a handful of sweaty costumes and dusty broomsticks?
'Visitors to this exhibition will have the chance to appreciate the creativity, passion and level of detail that went into making the Harry Potter films,' says Newquist. 'It’s a chance to relive the magic.' Laura Parker
Cost: $21 adults, $13 children between 2 and 12, $20 senior citizens. Admission is by hourly time slots.