Disney Theatrical Productions have announced that Nick Afoa will transfer to the London production of The Lion King as Simba when the Australian season of the landmark musical concludes in Perth on Sunday 28 February.
It will be the first time Afoa has ever visited London and only his second professional theatre role. He made his stage debut as lion cub Simba in the homegrown production of The Lion King in 2013. By the time the curtain falls at Perth’s Crown theatre this Sunday, Afoa will have roared onto stage more than 860 times since the Australian season began in Sydney in December 2013.
Not unlike his character’s long journey in The Lion King, it’s taken Afoa some years to find his rightful place on stage. The Auckland-raised performer had a promising rugby career with the All Blacks until he was sidelined by injury. He turned down a third audition call for the Australian premiere of The Lion King in 2003 to trial for a New Zealand representative team. He did not make the squad and could not return to auditions.
Almost ten years later to the day the 29 year-old beat 400 other performers for the role in the return Australian season. Afoa will move to London in three weeks to begin rehearsals with the West End company.
The Australian production of The Lion King plays at Perth’s Crown Theatre until Sunday 28 February 2016. For more information, visit: liveshows.disney.com.au for details.
Image: Nick Afoa as Simba in The Lion King – photo by Deen van Meer