THE LION KING Welcomes The 500,000th School Pupil

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THE LION KING Welcomes The 500,000th School Pupil

Yesterday, the London production of Disney's THE LION KING welcomed its 500,000th school pupil as part of the show's acclaimed Education Programme. This remarkable total crowns another record-breaking year for the Programme, which saw the highest attendance from school groups in the show's 11 year history - with over 67,000 tickets sold.

The 500,000th school pupil was part of a group of 6th form students from Gateway College in Leicester, who were visiting London specifically to see THE LION KING. Following the performance the entire group were treated to a backstage tour of this award-winning musical where they had the opportunity to meet some of the cast.

Daryl Pascall, Deputy Head of Arts at Gateway College said: "As teachers, we want to provide our students with the opportunity to experience a theatrical performance in London. For many this is the first time they will do so and THE LION KING is a particularly magical production - the memory of which will stay with them forever. More immediately though, the experience will be an invaluable asset in their studies, aided by the production's comprehensive Education Programme."

As THE LION KING welcomed this record-breaking school visit, the show also celebrated the highest annual attendance from school groups in the show's history. Over 67,000 school pupils from around the UK saw the show during the period October 2009 to September 2010, with the highest monthly attendance in June, with over 10,000 visits.

"We remain incredibly proud of THE LION KING and the success of the show's Education Programme in the UK" said Steve Fickinger, Vice President of Creative Development & Licensing for Disney Theatrical Productions. "There can be no better way for school children to experience the potential of live theatre than through Julie Taymor's extraordinary production- so it is thrilling for us that UK schools continue to embrace the show in record numbers."

School groups which book tickets to see THE LION KING receive access to the show's acclaimed Education Programme. This innovative curriculum-linked pack has been developed to further enrich the experience of seeing the show. The programme includes:

· Primary and Secondary teachers' packs

· Supporting activity sheets

· Hour-long educational DVD "Behind the Scenes" with comprehension questionnaires

· Curriculum Links and additional online resources

This month a new addition was made to the Education Programme. A website called exploringthelionking.co.uk has been created, giving pupils the opportunity to explore the inspiration behind the show's unique costumes, masks and puppets. Originally created as part of the exhibition "Exploring The Lion King", this online resource is now available to give young people the chance to discover more about the show.

THE LION KING has now been seen by over 52 million people worldwide and in addition to productions in London and New York, the show can currently be seen in Paris, Tokyo, Hamburg, Las Vegas, and on tour in North America. A new production is due to open in Singapore early next year. Julie Taymor's internationally acclaimed stage adaptation of THE LION KING is based on Disney's beloved animated feature film and follows the adventures of the lion cub Simba, as he struggles to accept the responsibilities of adulthood and his destined role of King.

The London company of 46 performers is led by 11 principals: George Asprey as Scar, Shaun Escoffery as Mufasa, Stephen Matthews as Zazu, Brown Lindiwe Mkhize as Rafiki, Nick Mercer as Timon, Keith Bookman as Pumbaa, Andile Gumbi as Simba, Gloria Onitiri as Nala, Gary Forbes as Banzai, Allyson Addo as Shenzi and Mark Sangster as Ed.

THE LION KING is produced by Disney Theatrical Productions.

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