Anthony Boyle’s mom says she knew he was going to be a star from the first moment she saw him onstage. It took Boyle a little longer to figure it out for himself.

Growing up in west Belfast, Boyle struggled to find an outlet for his creative energy, so much so that he got expelled from school. “I had so many ideas and so many things that I wanted to do,” he says.

Eventually, he settled on theater. Despite appearing in what he describes as some of the “worst plays imaginable” while he was a struggling actor, Boyle was recruited by the prestigious Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama at age 19. He spent nearly three years honing his craft before getting the part that would change his life: playing Draco Malfoy’s son Scorpius in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, a two-part play set 19 years after the events of J.K. Rowling’s seven-book series. “I think Scorpius is one of the most beautiful characters written in the last 25 years,” he says.

From London’s West End to Broadway—Cursed began its sold-out New York run in April—Boyle is now being hailed as one of theater’s most promising talents. The 23-year-old, who has already won an Olivier Award for playing Scorpius, was recently nominated for a Tony Award alongside established actors like Nathan Lane. “They’re people I’ve looked up to forever,” he says. “It just feels like a dream.”

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