While everyone is waiting in anticipation for the Harry Potter spin-off film that is set to hit the theatres in 2016, a group of LARP players from Poland and Denmark decided to bring the fictional world of witchcraft and wizardry to life.
Located in the beautiful Czocha castle in Southern Poland, The College of Wizardry opened its doors to young role players in November this year. The session sold out in two days and attracted almost 200 individuals from 11 different countries.
Although bringing real magic to life is hard for most muggles, the school has done a superb job at delivering authentic wizarding environment. The students are sorted into four houses that are named after people who are strongly connected with magic.
Sendivogius is based on Michał Sędziwój, a Polish alchemist. Durentius stems from Faust's Polish equivalent, Pan Twardowski, also known as Laurentius Dhur. Libussa is named after Libuše, a soothsayer and ancestor of the Czech people, and Molin may refer to Raffaele Molin, the Italian zoologist.
The students are encouraged to study hard and can choose from five career paths: Aurors, Curse Breakers, Healers, Magizoologists, and The Unspeakables. Their time at the College ends with S.P.E.L.Ls (Senior Protective Enchanter's Lifelong License), an equivalent to Rowling's N.E.W.Ts. All of this happens under the supervision of different teachers who range from "bumbling, absent-minded professors with scant memory of their own youth to sharp-tongued young lecturers."
The event is organized by a Polish LARP company, Liveform, that had had a dream of running a Harry Potter inspired game for several years, but lacked the funds to do so. This year, they managed to team up with Danish Rollespilsfabrikken and both sides successfully worked hand in hand to make The College of Wizardry happen.
The interest from young Harry Potter fans was immediate. "We got swamped by sign-ups and in two days the event was sold out. None of us had seen that coming," says Claus Raasted of Rollespilsfabrikken. "And here we are now with quite a bit of global interest for something that is in essence just a small, fan-made event."
The success of the first, four-day-long session at The College of Wizardry prompted the organizers to run a sequel event that has been scheduled for April 2015. The registration opens on December 11 at 8pm CET. The tuition is 280€, $345 or £220. The sessions are taught in English and you have to be 18 or older to participate. You can find out more about how to sign up here.