Lion King Cast

Jun 3 2019 | By More

Casting for The Lion King at Edinburgh Playhouse

The principal company has been announced for the UK tour of Disney’s The Lion King which opens in Bristol and arrives at the Edinburgh Playhouse in December for its only Scottish dates.

The company continues The Lion King’s reputation for diversity with cast member from 16 different countries on stage, although the named roles are mostly cast from South African and English performers.

Dashaun Young (Simba), Josslynn Hlenti (Nala) and Thandazile Son (Rafiki).

The roles of Simba, the young lion who is first in line to be king of the Pridelands and his friend Nala the Lioness will be  played by American actor Dashaun Young and South African actresses Josslynn Hlenti. The mandril Rafiki, will be played by Thandazile Soni.

Young first played Simba in North America in 2007 and has played the role on several tours since then, as well as playing on Broadway in productions of Motown the Musical and Beautiful The Carole King Musical.

Durban-born Josslynn Hlenti successfully auditioned for the role of Nala in 2013, playing the role in the Australian and other international tours. She has had roles in South African productions of Annie, FrontLines and King Kong – for which she was nominated for a Fleur du Cap theatre award.

Thandazile Soni is from KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa and has performed the iconic role of Rafki, who is the all-knowing, all-seeing heart and soul of the show, on Broadway and in the West End as the North American tour. She is currently performing the role in the Netherlands.


British actor Richard Hurst, whose long CV include RSC productions of The Duchess of Malfi and The Fantastic Follies of Mrs Rich will play the villainous Scar, Simba’s uncle. French actor Jean-Luc Guizonne will be Mafusa, Simba’s father and King of the Pridelands.

Richard Hurst (Scar), Jean-Luc Guizonne (Mufasa), Steve Beirnaert (Timon) and Carl Sanderson (Pumbaa).
Matthew Forbes (Zazu), Rebecca Omogbehin (Shenzi), Simon Trinder (Banzai) and Alan McHale (Ed).

The largely comic roles of the meerkat Timon and warthog Pumbaa who befriend Simba will be played by Belgian Steve Beirnaert, who was nominated for Best Supporting Actor in the Dutch theatre awards for the former and Yorkshire-born Carl Sanderson, who has a long history of comic musical roles as the latter.

Matthew Forbes, the Leicester-born actor and director who has strong interest in puppet-oriented theatre, will play Zazu, the hornbill who is Mufasa’s majordomo.

The hyenas who are Scar’s minions will be played by London-born actor Rebecca Omogbehin as Shenzi, Manchester-born Simon Trinder as Banzai and Irish-born Alan McHale as Ed.

With a cast of over 50 actors, singers and dancers, the story of The Lion King is brought to life using masks, puppets and striking costumes to tell the story of Simba’s epic adventure as he struggles to accept the responsibilities of adulthood and becoming king.

Further cast include: Lwandolwethu Dennis Bam, Khanyisani Beato, Nigel Brown, Rushand Chambers, Tau-En Chien, Javier Cid, Jorrell Coiffic-Kamall, Tevin Daniel, Tim Driesen, Matthew Elliot-Campbell, Oraine Frater, Brian Gilligan, Daniel Griffith, Alicia Hayward, Zalika Henry, Caleaf Hensen, Olivia Jones and Melvin La Blanc.

They will be joined by Jochebel Ohene MacCarthy, Zanele Mazibuko, Daniel De Jesus Mejia Garcia, Zanele Ndlovu, Buhle Nkomo, Brianna Ogunbawo, Paige Peddie, Tara Price, Charlotte Samaroo, Cristiane Santos De Jesus, Mamido Bomboko Souchu, Sherry Tay, Francesca Thompson, Connor Pele Williams, Maria Yim and Bukiwe Zinganto.


The Lion King
Bristol Hippodrome, St Augustine’s Parade, Bristol, BS1 4UZ
Sat 7 Sept – Sat 23 Nov 2019
Evenings: Tue – Sat: 7.30pm; Matinees Weds, Sat, Sun: 2.30pm.
Tickets and details Book here.

The Lion King
Edinburgh Playhouse, 18 – 22 Greenside Place, EH1 3AA
Thurs 5 Dec 2019 – Sun 9 Feb 2020.
Evenings Tue – Sat: 7.30pm; Matinees Weds Sat, Sun: 2.30pm.
Tickets and details: Book here.

Christmas/New Year times:
Mat Fri 20 Dec: 2.30pm.
Tue 24 Dec: 2.30pm (no evening perf)
No perfs Wed 25, Tue 31 Dec, Wed 1 Jan.
Mon 30: 2.30pm, 7.30pm.
Extra matinees: Thurs 2, Fri 3 Jan.
Sun 26 Jan: Relaxed performance at 1.30pm.


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Comments (4)

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  1. Ross Harrington says:

    Absolutely brilliant… from tears to laughter. Thanks to a very talented cast. Worth every penny and every mile traveled.

  2. Charlotte McManus says:

    Saw this show last night, it was amazing, out of this world.. All show members were amazing.. no words could do this show justice. Would love to see it all again.

  3. Georgina harris says:

    What a fantastic show the colours
    The energy The singing the dancing the animals absolutely brilliant well done everyone

  4. Teresa MacNiven says:

    This show in the Playhouse in Edinburgh tonight was absolutely wonderful. What a talented company of actors. Every single person in that production was magnificent. Absolutely first class entertainment. I couldn’t single out anyone as the best. They were all marvellous. The Choreography was outstanding as were the costumes and the stage sets. The Orchestra was superb too. Well worth the money. This I could go and see again. Thank you to all for making this musical possible.