Today the hugely anticipated prequel to Harry Potter hits the cinemas starring Eddie Redmayne and Katherine Waterston, with guest appearances from students at a performing arts school in St Albans.
The latest fantasy film from JK Rowling follows the adventures of Eddie Redmayne’s character Newt Scamander in the secret world of witches and wizards across the pond in New York, 70 years before a book he writes is read by Harry Potter during his time at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Over the past year, 30 students from Theatrix have been working with the cast and crew at Leavesden and Caddington Studios.
If you go to see the film then you can look out for 12-year-old Juliet Hughes, who lives in Colney Heath and goes to The Marlborough Science Academy. She will be in the background looking very frightened.
“I had to stand with a woman and two other children, they were my onstage family,” she explains. “They told us there has been some kind of explosion and they told me I had to act scared because of that.”
Juliet tells me she was “over the moon” when she found out and thoroughly enjoyed the work.
“It was exciting to film. At first I was a bit nervous but when people started talking to me more I felt more comfortable and excited. I was going to talk to the actors but I wasn’t sure what to say.”
Joining her in the film is 16-year-old Conor Booker, who joined St Albans Girls’ School sixth form this year, where the year groups become mixed in gender – from Marlborough Science Academy.
Conor played a baker in Fantastic Beasts alongside Dan Fogler. However this was not his first time on a film set, having appeared in Pan last year.
“It is always enjoyable to be on a film set, it felt a bit like being taken back in history.
“I had to keep it secret for a little while,” he adds. “I will be seeing it when it comes out, I’m excited.”
For Juliet, however, this was her first foray into film, a career she hopes to continue in the future.
“It might be a bit weird to see myself on screen for the first time,” she tells me. “I’ve just done shows with Theatrix and stuff before but this is my first movie.”
Theatrix principal Rosemarie Partridge says: “Over the years Theatrix has formed a strong professional relationship with the people responsible for Warner Brothers casting. This has enabled us to give our students brilliant opportunities to work in the film world at the highest level.
“The paid work has also given our students a taste of what it takes to be a professional.
“It has been a fantastically enjoyable and rewarding experience for them all.”
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is on general release today (Friday, November 18). Find out more about what they got up to here...