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“I thought someone else was going to get it!”: Harry Potter sound designer

It's a wizard of a win for Gareth Fry

“It’s very exciting! It was a nice surprise: I thought Paul Arditti was going to get it for Amadeus.”

So sound designer Gareth Fry told PSNEurope last night, following his victory at the Olivier Awards.

Fry won the ‘Best Sound Design’ category for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, which went on to win nine out of the 11 categories it was nominated for: a new record. The play also won best actor for Jamie Parker (who plays the adult Harry Potter) and best supporting actress for Noma Dumezweni, who plays Hermione Grainger.

Fry says getting up on stage in front of 4,000 people in the Royal Albert Hall – where the Olivier Awards were announced on the evening of Sunday 9 April – was “very daunting”. Edited highlights of the show will be broadcast on ITV1 tonight.

Why was the play – note, not a musical – so successful?

“I think its because of the combined energies that the creative team brought to the show,” said Fry, who has won the Olivier Award on two previous occasions (in 2007 and 2009). “It was a difficult thing: on every other page there was an ‘impossible’ stage direction – and it was up to [the team] to make it happen. Every effect was ‘not real’ – it was magic! – so everyone had to make that big, imaginative leap.”

Fry says it was fantastic to be recognised but it’s not life-changing. “I like to keep things in perspective,” he said. “When I won it for Waves in 2007, all the smaller companies stopped calling me, because they thought I’d be working on more important projects!”

Fry’s design can be heard at the Palace Theatre in London’s West End – if you can make a ticket magically appear…

Out Board, maker of the TiMax audio spatial placement technology, tweeted ‘Congratulations Gareth for Best Sound Design (with a little spatial audio help from TiMax), as Harry Potter…’ shortly after the award was announced.

(Main image: Manuel Harlan)