Discovery Times Square is pleased to inform New York residents and visitors that they have been accepted to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Well, it may not be the real magical school, but it is as close Potter-inclined Columbia students can get to the real thing.
Discovery Times Square, an exhibition space specializing in touring expositions, presents “Harry Potter: The Exhibition,” which runs from Tuesday, April 5, until Monday, Sept. 5. With hundreds of props, costumes, and replicas from the eight “Harry Potter” films, the hour-long multimedia exhibit showcases the tangible elements that bring movie magic to life.
Produced by Global Experience Specialists in association with Warner Bros. Consumer Products, this is the exhibition’s final North American stop—it premiered in Chicago and went onto Boston, Toronto, and Seattle—before heading to a currently undisclosed location overseas.
Eddie Newquist, chief creative officer at GES, discussed what he hopes attendees will experience at the exhibition.
“The concept was to share the artistry and craftsmanship that has gone into making the films with the public. But we didn’t just want to put things in display cases, we also wanted the fans to feel like they go to Hogwarts: When they arrive, move through the classes, visit Hagrid’s Hut, and go outside,” Newquist said.
The exhibit begins with a pre-show inviting all to a stay at Hogwarts. A lucky few hop on stage to be officially sorted into one of the four houses via the Sorting Hat. Then, a short film highlights iconic scenes from all eight films until the exhibition officially begins with a cloud of smoke emanating from a replica of the Hogwarts Express.
Newquist explained the process of creating the showcase on such a grand scale. “So we started working with ['Harry Potter' producers] David Heyman and Stuart Craig, and began really identifying things that we might want to highlight,” Newquist said. “It was quite a long process; it took a number of years to do that.”
Jesse Phillips, senior marketing manager at GES, shared his favorite aspect of the exhibition, which involves his favorite character of the novels, Rubeus Hagrid.
“If I had to choose my favorite would be Hagrid’s Hut,” Phillips said. “It’s a walk-through exhibit recreation within its own environment. It contains everything related to Hagrid like his giant chair, the pink umbrella he uses to give Dudley a pig tail, and his costume.”
Newquist highlighted how much work goes into every piece, describing the process used to make Buckbeak the hippogriff—on display by Hagrid’s Hut—to illustrate.
“Nick Dudmen is the creature designer who did Buckbeak, and every one of his feathers were put in by hand. There’s tens of thousands of them,” Newquist said. “He’s one of my favorites just because you can see the great detail in him.”
Those Columbia students who have grown up with and come to love The Boy Who Lived can experience, if for a brief moment, what is beyond Platform 9¾ in Times Square.