Stars of hit musical The Lion King stampeded to the Victoria And Albert Museum today for the opening of the latest exhibit in the theatre and performance galleries: two Laurence Olivier Award-winning costumes from the hit London musical.
The Julie Taymor-designed outfits and masks of characters Scar and Sarabi were placed alongside 3,500 other costumes and accessories, ranging from mid-18th century theatre to today, housed by the museum.
Geoffrey Marsh, Director of the V&A Theatre Collections, commented: “We are delighted that we are able to show these costumes by Julie Taymor in our galleries. The Lion King is a musical that demonstrates why costume is such an important part of the theatre experience and we’re pleased to be able to allow visitors the chance to see this first hand at the V&A.”
The new Lion King exhibit – the first time costumes from the musical have been exhibited anywhere in the UK – also features a video featuring highlights from the long-running show and an interview with Taymor.
President of Disney Theatrical Productions, Thomas Schumacher, who was also at today’s launch, said: “To see Julie Taymor’s stunning creative vision honoured by one of the world’s leading art and design museums is tremendously gratifying. It’s thrilling to know that visitors to the V&A will have the opportunity to appreciate the extraordinary detail of her exquisite designs in a much more intimate way.”
The costumes are the first to be added to the V&A’s collection since the theatre and performance galleries opened at the V&A Museum in March 2009. They join other pieces of theatrical design history including Laurence Olivier’s costume for the 1945 production of Oedipus Rex, Maggie Smith’s Lady Bracknell costume from the 1993 production of The Importance of Being Earnest and Vivien Leigh’s Dior-designed costume from Duel Of Angels.
The Lion King, which is based on the hugely popular animated film, is currently enjoying its 11th year at London’s Lyceum theatre, where it has played to more than eight million theatregoers. In addition to winning Taymor a Laurence Olivier Award for Best Costume Designer, the production also collected the Olivier for Best Theatre Choreographer when it first opened in the West End.