Woodford house

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Makeup Design for Disney’s The Lion King JR

I was approached at the end of Term 2 about plans around the makeup for the combined Woodford and Lindisfarne production of Disney’s The Lion King JR. With my prior knowledge of makeup, and the skills learnt from the National Youth Drama School, I was more than keen to be a part of the makeup team.


I began the creative process soon after a meeting with Mrs Carpenter, Mrs Atkin and William Waitoa, and sketched several initial designs for the extravagant characters. I left these designs untouched for a couple of weeks, so that I would be able to look and critique them later on with a fresh set of eyes. I found this to be quite helpful, as I could see aspects that were missing from the designs, as well as ideas that flowed well and that were still useable.

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For my final designs, I printed out several pages of a blank face, and used coloured pencils and paint to bring the face to life. Collating my designs in this way was really helpful as it enabled me and the other designers to see how the makeup worked on a three-dimensional face. When it came to actually directing the makeup team through the process I was initially quite nervous. I consider myself to be a fairly introverted person, so leading a team of 15 people was very intimidating.

I held two small workshops with the students to introduce them to the techniques we would be using, the safety and sanitation procedures and the makeup itself. This helped us to familiarise ourselves with who we would be working with, and was a fun experience. I also sketched my designs on bigger pages to give to the team, so they would have a reference to use during the application of the makeup.

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During the rehearsals, Hope Phillips and I sat at the back of the auditorium while the performers practiced with their makeup on. Seeing the designs under the lights and from the viewpoint of the audience helped us to discern what worked and what didn’t. William Waitoa, the main costume designer, also gave me feedback and voiced his professional opinions upon seeing my makeup on stage. This was incredibly beneficial as I learnt what was required from a professional point of view.

The most important thing that I learnt about myself throughout this experience was my ability to come out of my shell on performance nights. I honestly didn’t think that I could handle the stresses of being assertive and answering multiple questions at once. Despite this, I believe that I handled the situation appropriately, and it quickly became an insight into a real workplace environment.

Ms Morris and Mrs Miller-Matcham were kind enough to offer me a Unit Standard worth six credits that accommodates the work that I have done before and during the Lion King Junior performances. These credits will also go towards my Gateway Embalming Course. I am very thankful for having been given this opportunity, as it was a fantastic learning experience for me as well as the makeup team.

Lydia Hill, Year 13