The first-ever UK tour of Disney's landmark musical THE LION KING received its official premiere at the Bristol Hippodrome on Thursday 6th September. Director and designer Julie Taymor and other members of the show's creative team were in attendance, including the President of Disney Theatrical Group and Producer of THE LION KING, Thomas Schumacher.
THE LION KING will continue its season at the Hippodrome until 17 November, before transferring Manchester's Palace Theatre for an 18 week season (1 December to 31 March 2013).
With the opening of the Bristol season, The Walt Disney Company announced that THE LION KING would also play seasons in Dublin and Birmingham in 2013. Tickets for these future engagements will go on sale in October.
Four years in development, THE LION KING is the biggest stage production ever to tour in the UK. Transported in 21 trucks, the full-scale production will bring Julie Taymor's internationally celebrated production to audiences across the country, playing in a total of 10 cities between 2012 and 2015.
An international cast of 52 performers from 17 different countries is led by 11 principals; Gugwana Dlamini as Rafiki, Cleveland Cathnott as Mufasa, Meilyr Sion as Zazu, Stephen Carlile as Scar, Gbemisola Ikumelo as Shenzi, Daniel Norford as Banzai, Philip Oakland as Ed, John Hasler as Timon, Mark Roper as Pumbaa, Nicholas Nkuna as Simba and Carole Stennett as Nala.
The acclaimed stage adaptation of Disney's 1994 animated film was first seen on Broadway in 1997 and has now been seen by over 65 million people across five continents. The London production recently welcomed its 10 millionth guest at London's Lyceum Theatre where it remains the West End's best-selling musical.
In addition to the record-breaking productions in London and New York, THE LION KING can currently be seen in Tokyo, Hamburg, Madrid and on tour in the US and Japan. A new production will also open in Australia in 2013.