The Lion King JR musical production had always been on St Peter’s Catholic School’s radar.
Ever since they performed “Noah the musical” back in 2017, that is – it left the school with animal costumes galore.
This year, fate intervened.
Yaw Asumadu, husband of the school’s new principal Anita Asumadu, is a master Djembe drummer — who worked on the original soundtrack to the Disney film.
It was partly this combination of factors that led Cushla Hounsell and Jacinta O’Connell—producer and director respectively—to pick the famous Disney production for this year’s school musical, which finished last Thursday July 8 at St Peter’s School Auditorium.
“We just felt that this year was the right year for it,” Hounsell said.
The Lion King JR brings Simba and Rafiki and the rest of the film’s cast to the stage—travelling from pride rock to the jungle—in the classic coming-of-age tale.
Part of the appeal of the Lion King is its vibrant musicality, with students learning traditional African “Djembe” drumming from Yaw Asumadu.
“It’s a call and response,” explained Hounsell. “The drum announces the birth of the baby lion, and the others rejoice.”
One of the key features of St Peter’s Catholic School’s musical productions is the involvement of every child from a cohort of around 180 students, years 1 up to 8.
“Every child…is on stage pretty much the whole time,” Hounsell explained. “It’s a very very old tradition here.”
And it‘s a tradition the school plans to continue.
“It absolutely adds special character,” Hounsell said. “Because you get the buy-in from the kids— if it was only the seniors, I don’t think we’d get the same excitement from the whole school.”
According to O’Connell, the lead cast of year 7 and 8s has been practising from “day one this term.”
Both O’Connell and Hounsell paid tribute to the school’s parents for their “absolutely amazing” work making costumes and building sets.