The Lion King. The first-ever Junior Musical from DCGS was… incredible. For six months the students worked tirelessly learning songs, doing dances and learning lines. Over 1000 lucky people were able to come to see the result - an hour long, infectiously joyful and spectacularly executed performance.

When the famed West-End show arrived at DCGS back in September 2021, intensive rehearsals and production started almost immediately. After months of hard work, we asked the cast and crew to share their thoughts and feelings on what they hoped would turn out to be an incredible performance.

Seb, who played Older Simba in "Cast Tim", told us that he was extremely surprised to get the lead role as he hadn’t originally auditioned for it. He admitted that in the first rehearsals, it had seemed ludicrous that they were going to produce a full-fledged musical but that the cast had made incredible progress. Jack, a member of the ensemble and giraffe on stage, added that the constant multitasking of singing, dancing and acting was at first difficult, but then the cast began to go with the flow of the music. Seb acknowledged that this could not have been done without the 'phenomenal' organisation and enthusiasm of the amazing directors Mrs Anstey and Miss Jones, assisted by Mrs Blackburn, Mrs Jones and Mrs Atkinson.

The joy of working in a group for so long is how much you gain from it. You make friends, you become more confident, you improve your ability (in this case) in music and drama, you gain life lessons and experience (for example how to collaborate on a big scale) but most importantly, you just have many hours of fun and joy. As the team spent more time rehearsing with each other, it started to feel as if the group was a family. Everyone knew each other and everyone felt like they could go to each other if they needed help. Max (Older Simba in "Cast Elton") denied the rumour of any rivalry between the two different casts, even going on to say it was a great idea, and simply a different form of friendship.

We also asked Max if it was strange performing as an animal, to which he replied saying, “It is a bit of a weird new experience, but you just have to practise walking, talking and acting like that animal, and soon enough you feel their vibe!” He also commented on the nerves, saying “It is nerve-wracking at first, but you get up there and begin to feel amazing. It was a lovely feeling to be with other people who are working as hard as you are trying to get things done, together."

A production is impossible to pull off without the hours of design and technical work which happen (quite literally) behind the scenes. With this in mind, we interviewed Freddie from the backstage team. He explained that he and many other members of the team had initially got involved in set design because of their love of art, adding jokily that it was also due to their inability to sing and act.

The six months of hard work culminated in the performance which went remarkably. The cast remembered every one of their abundant lines and everyone sang their hearts out. Lighthearted comedic sections provided comic relief, and spectacularly sung solos from the main parts topped it all off. So many people worked their socks off to get this musical together and wow, did everyone do so well!