A unique opportunity to go behind the scenes of Disney's West End Shows of Aladdin and the Lion King 
This summer Disney opened it's very first Pop Up Shop in Covent Garden, it was open for a whole month and was entirely free with the focus on Disney's The Lion King and Aladdin. Amazing costumes and puppets were on display from both productions, there was a Cave of Wonder's photo booth where you could have your photograph taken with the Genie's Magic Lamp but the best bits on offer were the dance and singing workshops, make-up tutorials, signings and character interviews with cast members from the shows. The day I visited, a make-up tutorial was scheduled with the actual actress who plays Rafiki called Tremaine Lamy and The Lion King's Head of Make-Up, Sara Tyndall. 
There was a small platform stage in the Pop-Up Shop where the MUA gave a live demonstration of Rafiki's make-up on Tremaine. It was fantastic as you were encouraged to ask as many questions as you like to both the MUA and Tremaine about what it's like to work in the Lion King.  
MUA Sara has been working with the production for 7 years and explained that the design of Rafiki's make-up is especially important as she is the only character that does not wear a mask. Tremaine has a 'Swing' role in the Lion King, which means sometimes she is required to play a different character in the show like Shenzi the hyena. At first she told us that she found it really daunting and difficult learning all the other parts and switching roles as well as learning the four African languages that are used in the story which includes the click-language Xhosa, Zulu, Sotho and Swahili. Tremaine is from Trinidad and first auditioned when she was 17 but did not get the part until 11 years later when she auditioned again and was offered the role. How is that for inspiration and for never giving up on your dream! She said it felt like she had a complete Circle of Life experience. Tremaine admitted that at 17 she was not ready to take on the role, that what she needed was to do more 'living', as with living you gain wisdom which is a huge part of Rafiki's character. 
I asked Tremaine a few questions throughout the session but my last question was ''What is your favourite line in the show?'' expecting she may say it is one of Rafiki's funny lines like ''asante sana squashed banana''. She thought about it for a long time as she said no one had ever asked her this before, then she replied with ''-actually my favourite line is sung,'' and then she unexpectedly burst into song in one of the African languages and then translated it saying it means 'Oh my child, oh my child, go where you must go'. She said it reminded her of her family in Trinidad who she misses but they understand that this is her journey, so it suddently become quite emotional! It was an amazing opportunity to learn so much from professionals working in the West End. If Disney opens another Pop-Up Shop next year I highly highly recommend you go! There is something for both adults and children and you will be inspired! 
 
Laura x 
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