Dumbledore Is So Gay post-show Q&A at Southwark Playhouse Borough. © Antonia Vaptzarova

Dumbledore Is So Gay post-show Q&A at Southwark Playhouse Borough. © Antonia Vaptzarova

In a note in the programme, Dumbledore Is So Gay author Robert Holtom admits that, while growing up in the UK in the Noughties, they could have never imagined writing the acclaimed queer coming-of-age comedy.

Why? That was one of my jumping-off points for my recent post-show discussion. There was much recognition, on the panel and in the audience, of the climate of bullying and bigotry, ignorance and intolerance, captured so beautifully in the play, that prevailed during the era of Section 28.

The notorious legislation, in force from 1988 to 2003 in England and Wales, prohibited the promotion of homosexuality in local authorities or the teaching in schools of “the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship”.

Dumbledore Is So Gay centres around young Harry Potter fan Jack. It ain’t easy being Jack. He got sorted into Hufflepuff using the official online quiz, hates studying French, and is in love with his best friend Ollie. Dodging bullies, keeping secrets and trying to get the guy is too much for him to take.

So, with the help of his own Time Turner, he changes his story in pursuit of making the world a little more magical. Maybe this time he’ll get into Gryffindor. Third time lucky?

After multi-award-winning success at VAULT Festival and The Pleasance, this is the third London run for the award-winning three-hander, which is directed by Tom Wright and stars Alex Britt (as Jack), Charlotte Dowding and new cast member Martin Sarreal.

For the post-show discussion, exclusive to attendees, I was joined by writer Robert Holtom, the cast and producer Hannah Elsy. Other topics covered included Harry Potter, fandom, multi-roling, character motivation, time travel, bullying, positive queer role models and JK Rowling.

Disclaimer: Dumbledore Is So Gay is not set in, nor does it feature any characters or plotlines from, the Wizarding World. Nor is it authorised, sanctioned, licenced or endorsed by JK Rowling, Warner Brothers or anyone associated with the Wizarding World franchise.

Dumbledore Is So Gay continues at London’s Southwark Playhouse Borough until 23 September 2023.

Q&A photos

Event photography by Antonia Vaptzarova.

Audience reactions

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