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The Times 

WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 25 2000

[Rowling to visit school after banning its Potter play]BY DAVID CHARTER EDUCATION CORRESPONDENT

J. K. ROWLING has apologised after lawyers forced her to withdraw permission from a school to stage the world premiere of a Harry Potter play.

North Foreland Lodge School, Hampshire, thought it had beaten Hollywood to stage the first performance of one of Ms Rowling’s wizard stories. The author’s change of heart, which has devastated the teenage girl cast, came after her advisers insisted that the school could not be allowed to set a precedent, even though it was a charity event.

More than 1,000 requests to adapt Harry Potter for the stage had been turned down but the school’s request “slipped through” after its letter was personally answered by the author.

Sue Cameron, headmistress of the £14,500-a-year boarding school, said that the girls were upset about the decision. Andrew Fielding, the school’s actor-in-residence, who spent the summer adapting {Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone}, was now working overtime to find a new Christmas production.

Ms Cameron said: “We were over the moon when we got permission, so this was a real bolt from the blue, like the magic wand of an evil wizard.” She said she attached no blame to Ms Rowling, who telephoned the school to arrange a personal visit instead.

“I spoke to her and she was very apologetic and embarrassed this had happened and said she will come to visit. I think there is so much contractual and legal rigmarole which she has not been used to before.

“The fact that this has happened just shows the hype over the Harry Potter phenomenon. But there’s no point in crying over spilt milk. We are being very positive and looking forward to her visit.”

Ms Rowling was named the fifth most influential person in Hollywood by {Entertainment Weekly}, the bible of American popular culture. She won her place because “she got kids across the globe [and parents] to read”, it said.geovisit();