The first-ever UK tour of the award-winning musical The Lion King has been announced, with performances beginning on August 31 at Bristol’s Hippodrome Theatre prior to an official opening on September 6.
In keeping with the tradition of the show, the UK touring company will include singers, dancers and actors from all over the world. Hailing from 12 different countries, a diverse group of players will come together for the first time on July 9 at rehearsals in Bristol.
Among the 46-strong cast will be Jamaican Cleveland Cathnott as King Mufasa. Cathnott is currently part of the London company of The Lion King. Also a veteran of the London production is Carol Stennett, who will reprise the role of Nala on tour. She has previously starred in Thriller Live in the West End.
Nicholas Nkuna will play the role of the Lion King himself, the adult Simba. Nkuma recently performed the title role of The Phantom of the Opera in his native South Africa.
Londoner John Hasler is mirthsome meerkat Timon. The actor comes to the part after a busy year filming 10 Arenas of Marwood and performing voice work on BBC’s The Hour and Disney/Pixar’s Brave.
Hasler’s partner in comedy will be Liverpudlian Mark Roper who will play opposite him as warthog Pumbaa. Roper has starred in musicals all over the UK, as well as recently taking to the screen in Life’s Too Short, Blitz and Hustle.
Auditions for the roles of Young Simba and Young Nala will take place in Bristol on June 16. These leading roles will be shared by several child performers during the Bristol season.
The Lion King, based on the animated Disney film, was adapted for the stage by innovative director Julie Taymor and features a memorable score by Elton John and Tim Rice. It tells the tale of Simba, a young lion cub, as he journeys through life and struggles to accept the responsibilities of adulthood and his destined role of King of the African Pridelands.