The Lion King to hold open call audition for NZ children to play young Simba and Nala

The Lion King musical will hold auditions for Kiwi kids to join the cast of the international stage spectacular for its New Zealand run. 

The Disney production is set to premiere at Auckland's Spark Arena in June this year and is on the hunt for children aged between eight and 11 years old for the roles of Young Simba and Young Nala. 

Those applying should be "confident children with personality, natural singers/actors who can move well", but no previous performing experience is necessary. Children from all backgrounds are encouraged to register. 

"New Zealand is rich with incredibly talented performers and we are excited to not only bring this wonderful production to Auckland for the very first time, but to welcome to the cast young Kiwi actors who will join The Lion King family," producer of the international tour Michael Cassel said. 

Auditionees will be asked to prepare a rendition of the song 'I Just Can't Wait to be King' and bring a headshot or clear photograph with them. All participants must be accompanied by a parent or guardian and must be prepared to travel internationally after the Auckland season. 

While The Lion King will offer up a total of five spots for Kiwi performers and around 300 behind-the-scenes jobs for locals, some New Zealanders are unhappy that 126 coveted managed isolation and quarantine spots will be granted to overseas cast and crew. 

The Lion King joins a cast of other entertainers and sports events given priority visas, from The Wiggles, to the Avatar crew, and more than 700 for the America's Cup. 

The first round of auditions for The Lion King will be held in Auckland from March 26 - 28, and participants can register through the Auckland Live website. The show will open for a limited season on June 24.