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Bajan in Lion King musical

TRE GREAVES, [email protected]

Bajan in Lion King musical

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Du-Wayne Hinds just can’t wait to be king! In a few months, the Barbadian entertainer will take a step closer to wearing a much sought-after crown when he joins the cast of Lion King The Musical in London.

The 23-year-old was cast as the Simba understudy on Monday, where he will shadow Samoan actor Nick Afoa. He is also a part of the ensemble in the long-standing production based on the Walt Disney film of the same name, following in the footsteps of fellow Barbadian Ricky Stoute, who danced with the production.

Hinds told THE NATION in a telephone interview that he first auditioned in 2013, just to gain experience, when directors came to Barbados. So when they visited Trinidad, where he is now based, he was more than prepared.

However, he did not imagine the conditions he would have had to perform under.

“Funny enough, the week leading up to the audition I got a really bad cold, which freaked me out because I was fine all along – so why is my voice cracking up now?” he said.

“So it was February 21 and I got up at 4:30 a.m. because the cold was so bad I knew I needed time to prepare. I gargled with salt water, baking soda and salt. I did heat inhalation; I used honey. I had to do a lot to make sure that my voice was okay,” he recalled. 

An hour later he was in the gym, doing cardio and lifting weights. Then Murphy’s Law kicked in. As he was trying to print the score that he would need for the audition, the printer stopped working.

But fortune was on his side. He got a copy of the score, made it to the audition just in time and blew away the casting team in the dancing, acting and singing segments. He sang I Need You Now by Smokie Norful.

Hinds was asked to return the next day.

“The cold was even worse the next day but I just had to perform and be myself. So I got up the morning and I wasn’t scared, but I just knew I had to be a lot more focused because it wasn’t just the first audition – this was a call-back,” Hinds added.

Unlike the scores of other performers, who were told that they would hear if they made it in six months or even a year, the former Christ Church Foundation student received the good news three days later.

The shock still hasn’t worn off. He leaves for London in two weeks on a one-year contract.

This latest accomplishment is a dream come true for Hinds, who fell in love with the arts from a child.

He is trained in ballet, modern and African dance and has performed on numerous local stages. He also released singles such as Breathe in 2016.

The What If singer moved to Trinidad in 2015 and since then, graduated from University of the West Indies St Augustine Campus with a bachelor’s with honours in theatre arts

Despite reaching a milestone, he promises never to stop dreaming.

“Everything starts in your mind because as much as things weren’t going right for me in Trinidad, and I know people . . . probably thought I was living the life; they didn’t know how hard it’s been.

“So this situation is an example of me believing in myself until what I wanted materialised. So I feel inspired by this to dream even more,” he said.

Rehearsals start on March 26 for the shows, which begin in May. (TG)