Dublin actor says ‘bring on the booing’ as he plays evil Scar in The Lion King Musical

Brian Gilligan, from Malahide, is set to play the role of Scar in Disney's The Lion King Musical

Amy Donohoe

One Dublin actor says he will welcome as much booing as possible when he returns to his hometown stage later this year.

Brian Gilligan, from Malahide, will trade the north Dublin coast for Pride Rock as he plays Scar in The Lion King Musical.

The ambitious actor trained at the Royal Irish Academy of Music and has featured in productions such as Romeo & Juliet at the Mill Theatre, and Jimmy’s Hall at the Abbey.

He can’t wait to be welcomed with a cacophony of boos during his homecoming as he plays one of the most evil Disney characters of all time.

“The boos are his applause, everything that you’re working towards, by the end of the show if you haven’t got a boo, you feel as if you haven’t done your job,” he said.

“It’s amazing playing the role, he’s so hell bent on getting what he wants. He’s got a ruthless ambition, he won’t stop and won’t let anyone in his way. He’s the perfect villain in my eyes.”

The story of The Lion King leaps into life using spectacular masks, puppets, and costumes to tell the story of Simba’s epic adventures.

Brian saw it for the first time 23 years ago, and to this day, he’ll never forget the magic he witnessed.

“I remember seeing the show back when I was 13 with my mother and brother,” he said.

“It was back in 2000, we’d stall seats in London and the epic moment of the Circle of Life coming into the theatre, seeing all the animals, I was blown away.

“I trained initially as a secondary school music teacher. Then I went on to do music full time. My first professional job was the Gaiety Panto. After that, things started to move.

The Lion King Musical returns to the stage in Dublin this September

“I did the Commitments back in 2016, we did 28 venues in seven and a half months. I did Once the Musical in the Olympia too.

“I’ve been involved with this tour since 2019 as understudy for Scar and Pumbaa. One a complex villain and the other a genuinely lovable animal who keeps everyone happy.”

Brian said he can’t wait for the cast and crew to experience where he’s from when The Lion King comes to the Bord Gais Energy Theatre this September. Most importantly, he’s looking forward to spending time with his family.

“Along the east coast, there’s some lovely beaches. I’m looking forward to taking everyone to Howth. I want to bring them for good fish and chips, and obviously Guinness,” he said.

“Friends and family are only ever going to be honest with you and keep you grounded. I’ve gotten a lot of love and support from them to be able to take on this iconic role.

“Being away from my family is a tough element. I’ve two young boys, they’re three and four. Being away from my wife is hard but we’re tight and we’re strong.

“The boys have recently seen me play Pumbaa. It was pretty epic, quite special.”

The Lion King plays a limited season in Dublin from September 28 to November 11

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