Nicholas Afoa
Nicholas Afoa

Nicholas Afoa joins The Lion King

Published April 29, 2016

Former All Blacks rugby player Nicholas Afoa will make his West End debut next month as Simba in the hugely popular musical Disney’s The Lion King.

The New Zealand star made his stage debut as Simba in the Australian production of the world conquering musical in 2013. London audiences will be in safe hands when he arrives on the West End stage with the actor having performed the role more than 860 times.

This will mark Afoa’s second professional stage engagement following his unusual story to the stage. The Auckland-raised performer swapped rugby for theatre when his sporting career was sidelined by an injury. After recovering, he dedicated his attentions to the stage and, nearly a decade on, beat 400 other hopefuls to win the role of Simba in Australia.

Disney’s The Lion King has been playing at the West End’s Lyceum Theatre for an incredible 17 years, with more than 13 million theatregoers having enjoyed Julie Taymor’s sensational stage adaptation of the beloved animated film.

Featuring all of the famous songs from the 1994 film, the musical tells the powerful and moving story of Simba as he journeys on an epic adventure from wide-eyed cub to his destined role as King of the Pridelands.

Afoa will not be the only new cast member joining the hit show next month. From 10 May he’ll be joined by fellow newcomers Etian Almeida, Jonathan Andre, Janique Charles, Zinhle Dube, Sandile Gontsana, Kwesi Jeffers, Stephanie Lo, Sadia McEwen, Khaya Maseko, Daniel Monteiro, Nosipho Nkonqa, Dominique Planter, Antoine Murray-Straughan, Kayode Salina and Ricardo Walker.

Watch the new cast in rehearsals below.