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Disney's THE LION KING to Begin Performances at Birmingham Hippodrome Tomorrow

Disney's legendary musical THE LION KING will begin performances tomorrow night (28 June) at Birmingham Hippodrome, in advance of its official opening on Thursday 4 July. This will mark the first time that Julie Taymor's internationally celebrated production will have played in the city.

An international cast of 52 performers from 17 different countries are today undergoing final preparations for their debut in Birmingham, where excitement has been building across the region since the season was announced in October 2012. A fleet of 23 trucks has been utilised to transport Disney's enormous production to Birmingham, making it the largest theatre production ever to tour Europe.

The company 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.

Stuart Griffiths, Birmingham Hippodrome Chief Executive, said:

"We are thrilled that Disney's The Lion King opens at Birmingham Hippodrome tomorrow for a spectacular three month season. We look forward to welcoming several hundred thousand people over the summer for one of the greatest theatrical events the theatre has seen for many years ."

Four years in development, the first ever UK tour of Disney's THE LION KING will play a three-month season in Birmingham. The award-winning production will then play seasons in Edinburgh, Plymouth and Bradford, with additional cities to be announced shortly. In total, the production will visit 10 cities in the UK and Ireland over two and a half years.

The acclaimed stage adaptation of Disney's 1994 animated film was first seen on Broadway in 1997, where it recently celebrated its 15th anniversary. The production has now been seen by over 70 million people across five continents and the acclaimed West End production continues to sell out at London's Lyceum Theatre in its 14th triumphant year.

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