HARRY Potter has waved his magic wand to bring down the ticket prices for theatregoers in Swindon.

Swindon close harmony group Ten In A Bar, led by music director and founder Jill Hodge, wanted to charge £9 for tickets for its annual show at the Arts Centre next month, which includes a sketch based on a Harry Potter theme.

But because of copyright restrictions they have been reduced to £6.50.

“I write a comedy sketch each year and this one was using Harry Potter material mixed up with Frodo of the Shires (from Lord Of The Rings),” said Jill.

The singers applied for permission through the agent for Harry Potter author J K Rowling but came to a stumbling block over ticket prices.

“We had a series of long discussions with the Christopher Little Agency,” said Jill.

“They were extremely helpful and supportive but we weren’t complying with all the recommendations and guidelines set for a non-commercial/non profit-making event, notably the ticket price.”

The singers came up with the proposal of reducing the ticket price from £9 to £6.50 and this was accepted by the agency. They also had to agree to the strict guidelines on the use of publicity and merchandise, like not selling on the back of the Harry Potter name.

The show, called The Mistaken Identity, has a 25-strong cast but there was no one suitable for the part of Harry Potter until Jill stumbled upon her perfect leading man in a corridor at New College.

Jill, who is a specialist learning support tutor at the college, spotted one of the students who absolutely looked the part.

“His name is David Casey and I just went up to him offered him the part. I then found that he had already performed on stage and sang in the National Children’s Choir,” she said.

Jill is responsible for the Asperger’s students at the college, which is why the show aims to raise awareness and cash for the charity Discovering Autistic Spectrum Happiness. DASH is a local charity set up to improve the quality of life for adults with Asperger’s Syndrome and autistic disorders in Swindon.

The Mistaken Identity takes place at Swindon’s Arts Centre in Old Town from March 11 to 14. Tickets are £6.50 from 01793 881798 or the box office on 01793 614837.

l“Warner Bros Entertainment and J K Rowling are not responsible for this event but, subject to conditions, they have kindly granted us (Ten In The Bar) permission to use the Harry Potter trade mark and other materials.”