THE Empire Theatre is taking pride in its biggest production to date.
Twenty three trucks and a cast of 52 performers from across the globe have rolled into Wearside to stage Disney’s The Lion King.
The much-anticipated blockbuster show makes its North East debut tonight at the High Street West venue.
It will play a seven-week season in the city as part of its sell-out tour of the UK and Ireland, which has broken records in every city it has visited.
Excitement has been building across the region since the season was announced in January this year. Large crowds queued from the crack of dawn to be the very first to purchase tickets, and ticket sales have broken all records at the theatre.
However, there are some seats still available for the show which includes hundreds of masks, puppets and more than 700 elaborate costumes representing 26 different types of animal.
The company is led by 11 principals; Thulisile Thusi as Rafiki, Cleveland Cathnott as Mufasa, Meilyr Sion as Zazu, Christopher Colquhoun as Scar, Tarisha Rommick as Shenzi, Daniel Norford as Banzai, Philip Oakland as Ed, Dominic Brewer as Timon, Lee Ormsby as Pumbaa, Hope Maine as Simba and Melina M’Poy as Nala.
The stage musical is based on the Academy Award-winning 1994 animated film featuring tracks Circle of Life and Can You Feel The Love Tonight.