Preparations are now underway in Bristol in advance of the first performance of Disney's award-winning musical The Lion King at The Bristol Hippodrome in 4 weeks.

Above, you can see members of the show's ensemble rehearsing "Chow Down", one of the productions energetic dance numbers in which the cast portray hyenas- just one of the 26 different types of animal that they create in the production through masks, puppets and elaborate costumes.

Cleveland Cathnott, who plays Mufasa, in rehearsal Credit: Bristol Hippodrome

During the show's rehearsal period, Clevelan Cathnott, who plays Mufasa, will learn to use the unique masks and costume to help portray this iconic character. He is supported by a company of 47 other performers along with a crew and orchestra of over 100. Although it looks like it is carved in oak, Mufasa's mask actually weighs just 11 ounces. The masks, along with many others used in the show, are extremely lightweight, constructed in carbon graphite - the same durable material used to build airplanes.

Members of The Lion King company rehearsing with their 'grassheads'. Credit: Bristol Hippodrome

In addition to the wide array of animals and insects that productions masks and puppets must represent, the company also often create the plants and grass of the African savannah.

Cordelia Lynch went to see the rehearsals. Here's her report on how it's all taking shape