Noma Dumezweni has been cast to play Hermione Granger in the upcoming stage play “Harry Potter And The Cursed Child,” and many people have expressed resistance to the idea of a black actress taking on that role.
Dumezweni said that she had run up against “unconscious” bias before but had never encountered outright resistance to the idea of playing a role simply because of the color of her skin.
“It stems from ignorance. They don’t want to be a part of the creative act. To say it’s not as it was intended is so unimaginative,” she told the Standard. “I don’t think they understand how theatre works. We’re here to heal you, make you smile and whisk you away.”
She then continued,”The only question we should ask is ‘Are they good?’ I’ve met great actors black and white and I’ve met bad actors black and white.”
As an acclaimed Shakespearean actress, Dumezweni has also put her support behind research, part of the Multicultural Shakespeare project, to bring to light performances by ethnic minority actors in Shakespearean roles. She resisted the idea that she might follow some of her fellow performers, who had moved to the US to seek better work, and said, “We have to hold on to the choice that it will get better here.”