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Hit musical The Lion King casts 7-year-old Highgate child actor as youngest ever Simba

PUBLISHED: 09:00 22 April 2013 | UPDATED: 09:59 22 April 2013

Nana Bediako from Stagecoach in Highgate. Nana is something of a rising star and is currently in rehearsals to play Simba in The Lion King - he is the youngest ever child chosen to play the part Nana has also stared in a Sainsbury's advert with David Beckham - he received a signed football

Nana Bediako from Stagecoach in Highgate. Nana is something of a rising star and is currently in rehearsals to play Simba in The Lion King - he is the youngest ever child chosen to play the part Nana has also stared in a Sainsbury's advert with David Beckham - he received a signed football

© Nigel Sutton email pictures@nigelsuttonphotography.com

A seven-year-old, who has starred in an advert with David Beckham, is about to become the youngest ever Simba in hit West End musical The Lion King.

A seven-year-old, who has starred in an advert with David Beckham, is about to become the youngest ever Simba in hit West End musical The Lion King.

Nana Bediako, who has trained at Highgate Stagecoach theatre school for more than two years, spent a gruelling six months auditioning with 75 other hopefuls for a role in one of the most popular musicals of all time.

Most boys reach nine or 10 before they are chosen to perform four days a week in front of an audience of hundreds.

Nana’s mother Matilda Doateng said she signed her son up with talent agencies and with a stage school when he was a small child because he was ‘‘very cute’’ and his career has taken off from there.

She said: “When he was younger he was very good-looking and would sing all the time.

“When he was two or three he used to sing all the RnB songs and as he grew up he started acting. I’m very proud of him.”

Two years ago Nana took a role in Channel 4 drama, Top Boy, and was selected to play football with David Beckham in a Sainsbury’s advert.

The football signed by Beckham that was used during filming now has pride of place in his wardrobe.

Nana’s mother added that The Lion King auditions were very tough.

“I never expected he was going to get through,” she said. “He was just enjoying the experience.”

Single mother Miss Doateng, who lives in Tottenham, said that in her home country of Ghana, people would not understand what it meant to be in the West End.

When she sits in the audience for her son’s premiere next month, it will be the first time she has been to a musical.

Odette Garvey, principal of Highgate Stagecoach, said she will be supporting her prodigy from the stalls.

“He has a lot of potential,” she said. “He has talent and he worked hard and developed into an exceptional performer.

“He has a fantastic future in the performing arts and is destined for a performing career, if he so wants.”

Nana says he wants to be a doctor one day.

But that won’t hamper his dreams of appearing on stage in The Bodyguard and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which are top of his list right now.


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