“It’s an experience like no other”: Behind the scenes of Disney’s The Lion King tour

Ever wondered what it’s like to work for Disney, travelling the country with one of the most successful musicals in the world?

Well that’s exactly what Sound Technology graduate Dan Hobbs is doing – as Deputy Head of Sound for The Lion King UK & Ireland tour. We caught up with him as the show nears the end of its adventure at the Wales Millennium Centre.

“I’d always wanted to work in live events,” said Dan, from Taunton, Somerset, who graduated from the University of South Wales (previously the University of Glamorgan) in 2013.

“My degree was very practical and allowed me to learn so much about live audio, acoustics, how to create and mix sound in a huge variety of ways. We would organise weekly gigs at the Cardiff Campus, which really helped me prepare for the collaborative industry of live performance.”

After gaining experience in live music venues during his studies, Dan worked at the Tacchi-Morris Arts Centre in Taunton, where he helped operate the sound and lighting for several shows and musicals performed by the local school and college.

With some freelance work under his belt, he then worked for Disney Cruise Line, before joining a production company for a national tour of In The Night Garden Live, a children’s show based on the popular TV series.

This led to a job with dance company Jasmin Vardimon, where Dan travelled around the world on shows such Pinocchio and Medusa – taking in the sights of Paris, Seoul and many other cities.

In 2019, he saw an opportunity to work at The Walt Disney Theatrical Company on The Lion King UK Tour, and joined the cast and crew as Technical Swing – a varied role which involves assisting the production team in sound, lighting, effects, staging and more.

More recently, Dan has been appointed as Deputy Head of Sound on the tour – and couldn’t be happier.

“I’m still very proud to say I work for Disney. The Lion King is an incredible production and being able to be a small part of that magic never gets old!” he said.

“My experience at university and the first few years after graduating, going out and working on different types of events, definitely gave me the confidence to step into the industry and go after the jobs I really wanted.

“Being on a touring production obviously means spending a lot of time away from home, so it’s not for everyone, but it’s honestly my dream job. It’s an experience like no other.”