The Nelson Youth Theatre cast of The Lion King Jr. Photo: Anthony Corke.

The Lion King roars into Nelson


Three-metre-tall giraffes, dancing gazelles and ferocious lions will be taking over the Theatre Royal stage next week as the Lion King Jr comes to town for the school holidays.

The Nelson Youth Theatre production is on from 17 – 20 July in a one hour show especially designed for the region’s smallest theatre fans.

The Lion King is a classic 1994 animated musical film which was remade into a photorealistic computer-animated movie this year.

“Ours is a shortened version, created for youth groups but it still carries all the punches of the big version,” says director Richard Carruthers.

The story follows the adventures of a curious cub named Simba, as he struggles to accept the responsibilities of adulthood and his destiny as king.

Along the way he encounters a cast of memorable characters, including Nala, meerkat Timon, warthog Pumbaa and wicked Uncle Scar.

It features plenty of memorable songs from Elton John and Tim Rice, including “Hakuna Matata” and “Can You Feel the Love Tonight”.

Richard says the cast of 65 have been “absolutely loving” rehearsals.

“We’ve got around half a dozen senior boys and girls taking on the lead roles and a strong contingency of younger ones too.

“The music is beautiful and the costumes are stunning. It’s been a real labour of love from the parents and grandparents.”

Disney’s The Lion King Jr is on at the Theatre Royal from 17- 20 July with 2pm and 6pm show options. Tickets are available at TicketDirect or the theatre box office.