Romford girl learns to roar in Lion King show

PUBLISHED: 15:00 02 July 2016

Shaye Temple, 9, is playing young Nala in Disney's Lion King show

Shaye Temple, 9, is playing young Nala in Disney's Lion King show


A promising nine-year-old actress has joined the cast of the Lion King production as the young lion Nala.

Shaye Temple, of Romford, was selected from more than 200 children in April after passing tough auditions to be part of the Disney production in the Lyceum Theatre, central London.

Shaye, who has now performed in about 10 shows as young Nala, is one of four young girls sharing the part.

Described as “a fantastic actress with loads of personality”, the show’s children’s director Kella Panay said Shaye remained quite reserved backstage.

“She is quite quiet by nature but as soon as she gets on stage she is a sassy little Nala. She has got great movement and is a great dancer and singer too,” said Ms Panay.

Keen to learn, Shaye applies any notes she receives to improve her performance.

“She just wants to get better and better. It was lovely to see how this quiet girl became a different actress than when she first joined us.”

After six weeks of intense rehearsals, learning the part and getting comfortable among the adult cast, the lion cubs made their first roars on stage in front of an audience.

“The young Simba and Nala completely hold the story in the first act of the show. It is quite a big responsibility for them, although I am, not sure they realise that,” said Ms Panay.

After leaning her part, Shaye also had to get used to moving around the animal puppets, which are a central feature of the show.

“In the scene with the hyenas for example, they first learn the moves and then they get used to the puppets and how to move around them. The hyenas can be quite scary for children,” added Ms Panay.

The young actors also have to remember to look at masks rather than in the eyes of cast members.

“For children, it is quite a lot to take in,” said Ms Panay.

The young cast split their time between school in the morning and rehearsals in the afternoon. The rehearsals are hard work for children, still required to attend a minimum of 15 hours of school.

With two shows a week, Shaye has been contracted for six months, with the possibility to extend it later this year.

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