Aisha Aidara on joining ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’ and continuing Hermione’s legacy
Aisha Aidara was on a road trip with a friend when she found out she’d been cast as Rose Granger-Weasely in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. While most actors would scream and jump with excitement, the musical theatre BFA student had to keep her casting under wraps, so she calmly pulled over, called her parents, and kept her cool.
“I did treat myself to a pizza and a beer that night,” Aidara adds.
The production marks her professional debut, and she is one of many new company members joining the Australian cast of the show. As a Harry Potter fan who grew up wanting to be Hermione Granger, Aidara is excited to get to examine her legacy as Hermione and Ron’s daughter.
“Rose’s plan is not simply to fill her mum’s shoes but to grow beyond them and leave an even greater legacy behind,” Aidara says. “So, growing up having watched Hermione and thought “I want to be just like her!” has, funnily enough, actually proven to be one of the most helpful tools in preparing for this role.”
TodayTix chatted with Aidara about making her professional theatre debut, what she loves about Harry Potter, and how she identifies with Rose’s story.
What does it mean to you to be making your professional theatre debut in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child?
It’s an absolute privilege. I have an immense amount of gratitude for the fact that I am involved, especially in the world of Covid, and making a professional debut in a play that has given me the avenues to think deeply and critically about the themes of the play’s world and the relevance of those themes in the world outside of it. It’s beautifully dark, intelligent, heartbreaking at times and heart-warming at others, and it’s riddled with lessons about the human experience.
What was the audition process like? How did you celebrate when you found out you got the role?
I was gearing up to go into the third year of my BFA in Music Theatre at VCA when the university sent me the brief for the audition. So, I put down a self-tape in approximately November of 2020 and when that proved successful, I had an audition via Zoom. Then there were two rounds of movement auditions, one in Melbourne and one in Sydney, and once that was over, I heard that I was on strong hold for the part of Rose.
Then after a couple more weeks I got an email saying that I was offered the part. I was road tripping with a friend at the time but there was quite a strict confidentiality agreement so I just silently grinned to myself, asked them to pull over, called my parents and told them about the part, got back in the car (very calmly and quietly) and was on the road again. I did treat myself to a pizza and a beer that night.
Are you a fan of the Harry Potter series, and if so, how does that translate into your process of preparing for this role?
I was always a big fan of Harry Potter – I mean, I think every little girl my age wanted to be Hermione when they were younger and I was certainly no exception to that rule.
The pressure that Hermione’s legacy places on Rose’s shoulders is what fuels her relentless ambition and is what defines her character. Rose’s plan is not simply to fill her mum’s shoes but to grow beyond them and leave an even greater legacy behind. So, growing up having watched Hermione and thought “I want to be just like her!” has, funnily enough, actually proven to be one of the most helpful tools in preparing for this role.
Do you identify with Rose as a character, and what parts of yourself do you bring to the role?
Rose is the person with the voice that I wish I had when I was younger. I identify with Rose now that I’m older but there would have been a time that I simply would have admired, been in awe of her and maybe a bit jealous too. I share a lot of parts of myself with Rose but the one that’s meant the most, aside from her strong will, is her humour and empathy. Rose is the daughter of Hermione Granger and Ronald Weasley — she is hyper-intelligent (maybe a bit stubborn) but she is also hilariously witty, empathetic, and kind.
What are you most excited about joining the show?
I have absolutely everything to be excited about in joining this show – I mean, It’s a plethora of first-time experiences. But right now, in particular, I’m really enjoying the learning opportunities provided by this company and show. I am very grateful to be surrounded by experienced and generous actors, crew members, and creatives so the learning opportunities are coming in spades.
What do you hope audiences take away from the show?
I remember being an audience member, watching this show, and just being absolutely floored by every element of this show. I hope audience members are confused by the magic, touched by the story, get a wave of nostalgia, and find meaning in the themes of the show.