Remember the world before June 1997? If you can't, don't worry; you didn't miss much. The world was a dull, uninspired, basically pointless place. Nobody had ever heard of quidditch or boggarts or kneazles. Hardly anybody even knew how to pronounce 'Hermione'.
Luckily, J.K. Rowling stepped up and fixed everything. By imagining the incredible world of Hogwarts and writing the incomparable seven-book Harry Potter series, she delivered us from despair and brought us magic, adventure, intrigue and endless fun.
At the Athenaeum Theatre in October, we're celebrating 20 years since Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone with a night of storytelling, music, reading and revelry. And, in true Hogwarts spirit, there’ll be a competitive element to the night. We’ll broach the eternal, yet controversial, question: Who was the real hero of the Harry Potter series? Was it really the eponymous orphan wizard? Or was it misunderstood Snape, or heroic brainiac Hermione Granger? Was it the Sorting Hat who truly saved the day?
Ben Pobjie, Clementine Ford, Josh Earl, Justin Heazlewood, Jessica Walton, Nayuka Gorrie, Cal Wilson, C.S. Pacat and Candy Bowers will make the case for their chosen hero in an evening of wonder, wizardry and hardcore fanning out. Plus, there’ll be a performance by a quartet from the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. All houses welcome. Even Slytherins (sort of).
Suitable for ages 12 and over. For extra house points, dress as your favourite Harry Potter character.
This event will be Auslan interpreted.
Presented in partnership with Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.
Clementine Ford is a Melbourne-based writer, speaker and feminist thinker. She is a columnist for Fairfax’s Daily Life and is a regular contributor to the Age and Sydney Morning Herald. Through her twice-weekly columns for Daily Life, Clementine explores issues of gender inequality and pop culture. Fight Like a Girl is her first book.
Ben Pobjie is a writer, comedian and poet with no journalistic qualifications whatsoever. He has a weekly column at Australian news commentary site newmatilda.com, and his writing has appeared in Crikey, The Age and The Punch, among others.
Candy Bowers is an award-winning writer, actor, social-activist, comedian and producer. The co-artistic director of Black Honey Company, Candy has pioneered a fierce sub-genre of hip hop theatre that delves into the heart of radical feminist dreaming.
Jessica Walton is a picture book author, teacher, parent, daughter of a trans parent and proud queer disabled woman. She wrote Introducing Teddy: a story about being yourself to help explain gender identity in a simple, positive way to her kids. Introducing Teddy began as a Kickstarter project, but has now been published in the US, UK and Australia by Bloomsbury. It has also been translated into nine other languages. Jess lives in Pakenham with her wife, kids and cat.
Nayuka Gorrie is a Kurnai/Gunai, Gunditjmara, Wiradjuri, and Yorta Yorta writer. Gorrie’s work explores black, queer and feminist politics. They wrote and performed in season three of Black Comedy. In 2018 they were named as a Wheeler Centre Next Chapter recipient, and are currently working on a book of essays.
Justin Heazlewood is one of Australia’s most versatile storytellers. Music and comedy fans know him best as the ARIA award-nominated Bedroom Philosopher, a moniker under which Heazlewood has released several albums of incisive, brutally funny and often heartbreaking songs. Heazlewood is also a writer of journalism and essays – bringing humour and critical thinking to important issues such as mental illness, unemployment and the frailty of human relationships.
He has written two acclaimed books: the memoir The Bedroom Philosopher Diaries (2012), followed by Funemployed (2014), which focused on the ecstasies, horrors and realities of being a working artist. The latter earned praise from Tony Martin, Dave Graney and international writer Neil Gaiman, and featured interviews with over 100 local and international artists including Gotye (Wally De Backer), Clare Bowditch, John Safran, Tony Martin, Amanda Palmer, Christos Tsiolkas, Tim Rogers and Adam Elliot.
Cal Wilson came across the Tasman in 2003 and has gone on to become one of our most popular comedians, a perennial favourite on television shows such as Have You Been Paying Attention?, Spicks and Specks, Good News Week and Thank God You’re Here. Her stand up shows are as engaging as they are hilarious, often bringing the audience’s stories to life alongside her own.
C.S. Pacat is the best-selling author of the Captive Prince trilogy, and the comic Fence. Born in Australia and educated at the University of Melbourne, she has since lived in a number of cities, including Tokyo and Perugia. She currently resides and writes in Melbourne.
Her first novel began its life as an original-fiction web serial, which attracted viral attention before being acquired by Penguin USA. The Captive Prince trilogy went on to become a USA Today bestseller after being published to commercial success and critical acclaim.
Josh Earl is a comedian with a very weird family. His latest show for children is called My Family is Weider Than Your Family. And believe us, he's not lying.