Last Updated ( Monday, 16 February 2015 19:08 )
From Warner Bros. and Funko --
Funko, in partnership with Warner Bros. Consumer Products, is excited to announce an all-new line of Pop! Vinyl Figures featuring fan-favorite characters from the Harry Potter film series.
This Harry Potter Pop! Vinyl Figures line will include some of the series’ most recognizable characters, including Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, among others. Each super stylized Harry Potter Pop! Vinyl Figure will stand 3.75” tall and come in a window display box. The figures are Ages 5+.
Harry Potter Pop! Vinyl Figures
• Harry Potter
• Ron Weasley
• Hermione Granger
• Albus Dumbledore
• Rubeus Hagrid
• Severus Snape
The first series of Harry Potter Pop! Vinyl Figures will be available in stores and online this July at Hot Topic, Barnes & Noble, and other Funko retailers.
From Scottish Youth Theatre --
TALENTED youngsters who love drama are being urged to apply for Scottish Youth Theatre’s acclaimed Summer Festival flagship theatre courses by actors from the hit comedy Still Game and the hugely successful Harry Potter films.
SYT patrons, Oscar-winning actress and screenwriter, Emma Thompson - who played eccentric professor Sybill Trelawney in the Harry Potter films – and Paul Riley, who played lovable rogue, Vincent, in Still Game, believe that Summer Festival courses are a great way for young people to develop the acting and theatre production skills needed to follow a career in the industry.
Summer Festival, now in its 39th year, consists of intensive courses for ages 14-25 years covering all aspects of theatre and drama including production, acting and stage management.
Places are highly sought-after, so entry to the courses, which range from three-six weeks-long in July and August 2015, is by audition only in February.
Applications for Summer Festival can be made throughout February at www.scottishyouththetare.org. There are also shorter courses available for ages 8-11 and 12-15.
Paul Riley, is just one of a long list of actors who started their career at SYT’s Summer Festival.
Others include Gerard Butler (James Bond, How To Train Your Dragon, 300), Karen Gillan (Dr. Who, Guardians of the Galaxy), Colin McCredie (Shallow Grave, River City), Blythe Duff (Taggart, The James Plays) and Kirstie Steel (Waterloo Road, Glasgow Girls).
Paul said: “I remember taking my bow on the Olivier stage at the National on the south bank the same day Laurence Olivier died. I was 17 and a member of the Scottish Youth Theatre.
“I’m now proud to say I’m now one of their patrons. There is no question that attending SYT put me on the path to becoming the professional I am today. I’m one of hundreds, if not thousands, who passed through SYT and went on to have a career in the arts. Just as important are those who didn’t but still draw on the life skills and confidence that attending SYT provides.”
Long-term SYT patron, Emma Thompson, who also starred in numerous successful films including Howards End, Sense and Sensibility, and Nanny McPhee, added: “I had the privilege of visiting SYT’s Summer Festival in Glasgow in 2013, and meeting some of the talented young students along with my mother, and fellow patron, Phyllida Law.
“We were blown away by the energy, commitment and creativity of these young actors who were rehearsing two critically-acclaimed productions: Mary Queen of Scots got her Head Chopped Off, by the uniquely brilliant Liz Lochhead, and Now’s the Hour, about the independence referendum, which was a huge success at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe.
“It was very clear to us that Scottish Youth Theatre is unique in its ability to create a safe, fun and stimulating environment where children and young people can express themselves, take risks and reach their creative potential.”
Mary McCluskey, Scottish Youth Theatre’s chief executive and artistic director said: “Summer Festival is SYT’s sector leading flagship course. These intensive performance courses allow young people to build on their personal, social and performance skills in a professional theatre environment.
“Our Production and Performance Learning Programme for ages 16-25 also leads to a SCQF qualification equivalent to Advanced Higher. In 2013, Summer Festival created Now’s the Hour about the independence referendum which went onto to a huge success at the 2014 Edinburgh Fringe.”
From Warner Bros. Studio Tour London - The Making of Harry Potter --
This March, Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter will unveil a 20,000ft expansion, including the original Hogwarts Express steam engine and a recreation of Platform 9 ¾. The new, permanent section will offer a glimpse into how some of the films’ most iconic scenes were created as well as give visitors the chance to climb aboard the train’s carriage and to pose with a luggage trolley as it disappears through the platform wall.
Throughout the Harry Potter film series, British steam train no. 5972, ‘Olton Hall’, was used as the Hogwarts Express. Scenes featuring the working engine – including the very last scene to be shot, in which a grown-up Harry, Ron and Hermione wave their own children off as they head to school – were filmed on a soundstage at Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden and on a track running the full length of the Studios’ 100-acre backlot. The 78-year-old red engine will return to the series’ production home this spring and will be displayed on a realistic set of tracks, with steam billowing as visitors step onto the platform.
Officially opening on Thursday 19th March, the new, must-see section has been redesigned and will be built by many of the crew members who worked on the most successful film series of all time. Every inch of the platform’s glass roof, yellow brick walls and luggage racks, designed by Oscar® and BAFTA winning Production Designer Stuart Craig, will be painstakingly reassembled by a team led by Construction Manager Paul Hayes and dressed by Set Decorator Rosie Goodwin. Oscar® and BAFTA winning Special Effects Supervisor John Richardson will rig the locomotive with special effects steam.
Visitors will be able to walk along the train’s adjoining carriage and sit in the interior carriage set that was used during filming (complete with ‘windows’ that demonstrate the process used to create iconic train scenes from the films such as the escape of Harry’s first Chocolate Frog and the Dementor attack). A selection of prop luggage will be on show and visitors can find out which character owned which items by turning an interactive dial (characters include Hermione Granger, Draco Malfoy, Luna Lovegood and more). A train-themed souvenir shop will also be open on the platform, stocking a wide range of goodies inspired by the Harry Potter films and, specifically, the Hogwarts Express.
Sarah Roots, Vice President of Warner Bros. Studio Tour London, commented: “We can’t wait to open our first expansion, Platform 9 ¾, just before the Studio Tour’s third anniversary in March. The Hogwarts Express had a starring role in the films so we’re excited that it will be taking centre stage in the new area. It’s the piece that visitors have most requested to see and we’re expecting a fantastic response.”
Stuart Craig, Production Designer on all eight Harry Potter films, added: “The Hogwarts Express was the setting for many iconic scenes, from Harry, Hermione and Ron’s first meeting in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone to the moment the trio’s children embark on their first journey to school 26 years later. The wizarding world doesn’t have a need for modern technology so we knew a traditional steam engine would make the perfect school train. Before we began filming in 2000, we scoured the country and found ‘Olton Hall’ at a preservation centre in Lancashire; realising pretty quickly that it was exactly what we had been looking for.”
The new Platform 9 ¾ section, featuring the original Hogwarts Express, will open on Thursday 19th March and entrance will be included in the standard ticket price.
From Pearson English --
It's January - the perfect time to start a new challenge. And for nearly a third of people that challenge is to learn a new language. But what is the motivation? Whilst for some it is about gaining business advantage, for others it is being able to sing the words to their favourite song or understand their favourite film. Today Pearson, the world's leading learning company, has published research which shows that The Beatles and the Harry Potter film series have been voted as the most popular sources of culture that help people learn the English language, fighting off competition from the likes of Justin Timberlake, One Direction, Madonna and Adele, and TV series House of Cards .
The research - commissioned by Pearson English, the English language learning division of Pearson - surveyed over 6,000 English language learners from 12 countries to understand more about why and how they choose to learn English as a second language. Whilst the key driver for many was to make travelling abroad easier (56%), over 50% are motivated to learn English to improve their career prospects, and with 82% of respondents stating that English should be the official language of business it is easy to see why. The results reflect a recent LinkedIn survey in which 80% of global businesses agreed that individuals who are able to speak good English are more likely to succeed in their business.
There is a clear demand to master the English language for both personal and professional reasons; and to help individuals understand their proficiency, Pearson English has developed the Global Scale of English (GSE) - the world's first truly global standard for recognising and quantifying the level of an individual's English. The GSE will allow people across the world to clearly benchmark their English ability, whether they are learning the language to understand the lyrics to a Lady Gaga track or trying to secure their next big career move.
Perhaps not surprisingly the research showed that those surveyed believe that William Shakespeare (42%) has demonstrated the best mastery of the English language. Perhaps more surprising is their choice of celebrity English teacher - whilst you might think the majority might like to take lessons with royals, William and Kate, it is in fact the billionaire Microsoft boss, Bill Gates, who wins out with 19% of the vote, narrowly beating his fellow countryman Barack Obama (14%). And who is it that these learners are looking to for inspiration? Well it seems that Canadian songstress, Celine Dion, is the non-native English speaker who has gone on to achieve most success through learning English, according to 27% of respondents, just ahead of Colombian diva, Shakira (25%).
'Thank you' is the most useful English word cited by respondents, and showing that we are all romantics at heart 'love' is the favourite English word.
Visit http://www.english.com for more information on the Global Scale of English or http://www.linkedin.com/company/pearson-english.
About the Global Scale of English:
The Global Scale of English means English language proficiency no longer needs to be measured in vague terms like basic, intermediate or advanced. It enables English learners to accurately score and communicate their English language skills and progress on a granular, numeric scale from 10-90 providing a far more precise measurement of the learner's ability than any existing methods which tend to categorise in broad bands. It is rooted in real life so that learners can clearly see what they can achieve at every level, for example, if you score 29 on the scale, you are able to identify and order very common food and drink from a menu; at 62, you can write a structured review of a film, book or play; at 74 you can extract the main points from news items with opinions, arguments and discussion.
Pearson is the world's leading learning company, with 40,000 employees in more than 80 countries working to help people of all ages to make measurable progress in their lives through learning.
Pearson English is a division of Pearson and more than 1.5 million teachers and 35 million students use our English language learning resources and tools each year. We offer dynamic and effective learning solutions to individuals, institutions and corporations in over 150 countries.
Our key businesses include: Wall Street English (centre based learning for consumers); Pearson English Business Solutions (online business English learning solutions formerly known as GlobalEnglish) and ELT (institutional English language publications including brands such as Longman). In 2013, Pearson announced a strategic investment in English language learning platform Voxy and acquired Grupo Multi, the leading adult English Language Training company in Brazil.
In 2014 Pearson English released the Global Scale of English, the world's first common, global benchmark of English language learning. It measures English language progress on a numeric scale in a way that is consistent, granular and actionable for governments, corporates, academics, institutions and learners. The Scale has been created as an Open Standard for English that meets a global need.
1. Best female artist to help you learn English - top four: Adele (23%), Madonna (22%), Katy Perry (13%) and Beyoncé (12%)
Best male artist to help you learn English - top four: Justin Timberlake (28%), Bono (18%), Justin Bieber (15%) and David Guetta (11%)
Best band to help you learn English - top four: The Beatles (48%), U2 (12%), One Direction (10%) and Nirvana (10%)
Best movie to help you learn English - top four: Harry Potter (36%), The Lord of the Rings (20%), Star Wars (14%) and X Men (14%)
Best TV programme to help you learn English - top four: House of Cards (24%), Breaking Bad (19%), Downton Abbey (16%) and Mad Men (14%)
2. LinkedIn research for Pearson English, May 2014
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 21 January 2015 15:12 )
The Warner Bros Studio Tour in the UK has been putting out teasers on social media this week, hinting at a possible expansion for The Making of Harry Potter. The tour currently houses two soundstages and a backlot featuring sets for The Great Hall, Gryffindor Common Room, Dumbledore's Office, Diagon Alley and Privet Drive, as well as props and costumes.
Our best guess is it'll be the Hogwarts Express. Nothing as elaborate, of course, as the moving train at Universal Studios Resort in Orlando - that would've been spotted for sure by now. But perhaps there'll be a Platform 9 3/4 set with train cars that guests can board and walk through. Maybe there'll even be a food trolley cart - or the actual compartment used during filming, where the Harry, Ron and Hermione sat. Or nargles and dementors and Death Eaters, oh my.
An official announcement is expected on Monday, Jan. 26.