Joshua Moabi is making his West End debut playing Tommy in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Matilda The Musical at the Cambridge Theatre, and he has previously played Young Simba on the UK Tour of Disney’s The Lion King. On screen, Joshua will be appearing in an upcoming Netflix feature film which is set for release this winter and has worked on a number of commercials including for BT Sport, which he filmed with footballer Dele Alli. Also a dancer, Joshua has won many competitions and is part of K-iD Street Dance Troupe. Answering our questions, Joshua tells us about making his West End debut in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Matilda The Musical, touring as Young Simba in The Lion King and filming for an upcoming Netflix release.
You are making your West End debut in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Matilda The Musical as Tommy, what are you looking forward to for being in the show?
I’m looking forward to that ‘on stage’ feeling, there is nothing like that live theatre performance. Just feeling the audience and how they react and enjoy your performance is amazing. It’s such fun and I love that feeling.
How have rehearsals gone and what was it like meeting the rest of the cast for the first time?
The cast were really nice, I knew a few of the others from a previous project so it was so fun to see them again. As soon as we had been put together with the rest of the cast, it felt like the best feeling ever.
You played Young Simba on the UK Tour of The Lion King, what was the show like to be part of?
Performing in The Lion King was the best thing in my whole life. Everyone felt like family to me and I had a great time. I made the best friends and we are still very close now. It was such an incredible experience, whenever I was in the spotlight in one of my songs I really felt like Simba. I felt like a King. The story felt natural to tell to an audience and I loved my scenes with my on-stage father character, Mufasa. From the start of the show in The Lion King, the music is incredible and just carries everyone away. So powerful.
What are some of your favourite memories from performing as Young Simba?
Performing in front of thousands of people in the theatres. I also had such a good time with the other cubs. The opening press night was such a special night and I remember it well and celebrating afterwards with my fellow cubs and the rest of the cast at the party. Just magic. I will remember that forever.
Knowing that my family or friends were in the audience was also such a special feeling too. It made me so nervous but excited as well just knowing they were watching me.
Is there anything you enjoy most about working in theatre?
That live performance feeling. Performing so close to an audience and telling the story and feeling their reaction. There’s nothing quite like it.
We understand you have filmed for an upcoming Netflix feature film, is there anything you can tell us about it?
The feature film was an amazing but very unique experience. We filmed it during the lockdown, it was incredible to be doing that. Let’s just say it’s a story I am very familiar with. It took nearly a year to film and is due to be released this Christmas so you will have to wait until December to see! 😀
How do you find the experience working on commercials and can you say about some of the ones you’ve worked on over the years?
Adverts and commercials are where it all started for me. I did my first one aged seven and they are really fun to do. Unlike theatre, you have a shorter time working with everyone and meet people young and old from all around the world. It’s really exciting when I watch the crew set up all the cameras and I get to meet the director and they tell me what they want to happen. It’s fantastic seeing the finished product as well on TV or online.
The first big campaign I filmed was with the footballer Dele Alli for BT Sports. It was such fun, a very funny ad, and I was very starstruck being a big football fan!
I have also filmed for John Lewis, Kellogg’s Coco Pops with my dad (!), HSBC, Life Insurance, Gold TV and more…
Where does your love of acting come from and how did you start?
Well, my dad has been a singer/dancer for his whole career and my mum used to take me as a baby upwards to watch him in various shows and performances. We always have music on at home and there’s lots of dancing. Mum is a dancer and works for a dance studios and she took me to street dance classes at Innovation Dance Studios when I was five and it all escalated from there. I auditioned for the agency at the dance studios (iD Talent) and that was the first time I performed in front of people. I loved it. It was the best feeling.
What are some of your favourite films, TV and theatre shows to watch?
I love Anime and Japanese cartoon, I love all things Marvel and have grown up on all the Disney classics.
As a dancer, you have won many competitions and are part of K-iD competitive Street Dance Troupe, can you tell us about this?
The K-iD dance troupe is something I have been part of since I was nine and I love it. We are a team of 12 and train together each week and have social events too, it is really like a family. We compete at national street dance competitions. We love the feeling of winning but it also teaches us so much when we don’t win. We train harder and all feel like we are part of it all together. I have also competed with my duo partner which takes a lot of practice so we feel confident but it’s great. I love being part of the troupe.
How do you like to spend your time away from acting and dance?
I love skateboarding, I have a friend who is really good so he teaches me a lot. I also am really interested in medicine and love to learn new things. I have been interested and studied medical things for over a year now. I am particularly interested in looking at the brain and neurology. I also enjoy learning Japanese! Spending time with my brothers and family and also visiting family abroad too.