The Walt Disney Company UK today announced that Nick Afoa will be joining the touring production of The Lion King from 30 April. Afoa is currently starring in the role in London’s West End, where he has performed as Simba for three years after making his stage debut in the Australian production of The Lion King in 2013.
Not unlike his character in The Lion King, Afoa has had a journey to take his place on stage. The New Zealand-born, Auckland-raised performer had a promising rugby career with the All Blacks until he was sidelined by injury. After recovering and dedicating himself to his theatre career, nearly a decade later the 30 year-old beat 400 other hopefuls to the role of Simba in the Australian production.
He is currently in rehearsal with the touring cast and will appear in the production as it starts its engagement at the Alhambra, Bradford. The tour will continue on to Cardiff, Southampton and Manchester with further dates to be announced in due course. The Lion King UK & Ireland tour opened in Bristol on 13 September 2019 to rave reviews and is currently at the Edinburgh Playhouse until 18 April.
The previous tour of Disney’s The Lion King broke attendance records across the nation and the autumn opening of the 2019 tour coincided with The Lion King celebrating 20 years at London’s Lyceum Theatre. Since the UK premiere in 1999, The Lion King has entertained more than 16 million theatregoers and is the sixth longest-running West End musical of all time.
Julie Taymor’s internationally celebrated stage adaptation of The Lion King opened on Broadway in 1997 and 25 global productions have now been seen by more than 100 million people. The Lion King is produced by Disney Theatrical Productions, under the direction of Thomas Schumacher.