21st Birthmonth Part 1: “Hakuna Matata”

So we’re onto the last day of September which means that my 21st “birthmonth” is coming to an end. “A birthmonth?” I hear you ask… Let me explain.

In the lead up to my 21st birthday I knew that on the day itself, and the day after, I would be working on a major conference we organise bi-annually at work. An event of over 2000 people, it’s not exactly a day I wanted to spend under the weather after a night of, what one may consider traditional, 21st birthday celebrations. As a result, the celebration plans seeped into the weekends both before and after my birthday, and coincidental visits from Melbourne friends at the end of the month meant that I had exciting plans for almost the entirety of September, hence the concept of the Birthmonth was conceived!

Last Semester at Uni, I made a few wonderful friends, however the end of term in June meant saying goodbye to some people I had become very close to in a short period of time, leaving me with a 4 month summer break, and no friends in this big city… it didn’t help that at this same time I changed jobs from working in a bustling café dealing with customers all day to commuting to an office 40 minutes away. I absolutely adore my new job, but that coupled with no longer studying made it very hard to meet new people here in Brighton, and, chirpy people person that I am, I was finding the transition quite tough and more than a little lonely. Understanding this, you can imagine how excited I was at the prospect of my Birthmonth! After months of interspersed tearful or glum, lonely moments, I was thrilled at the prospect of seeing friends in Oxford, having birthday surprises, and seeing some people from back in Melbourne.

The first event on the birthmonth list was a trip to the West End, to visit the King of the Jungle!

Img Credit: london.broadway.com


I have always adored the theatre, both acting, watching, and working behind the scenes. Although I haven’t been directly involved since leaving Newcastle in 2011 I am constantly pining for my old love, so when I happened to find out a man I knew worked for Disney’s The Lion King, and could get Marcus and I house seats and take us on a backstage tour I could not have said yes fast enough! Not having had the most thrilling theatre experiences before, Marcus took a little bit more convincing, but when I offered to get us the tickets, and told him that if any show was going to take his fancy it would most likely be the one full of dancing animals, he had to agree.

The show was incredible. It was the first show I had ever seen, as a girl in Sydney with my parents but my memory of it was not strong, and seeing it again was absolutely magical! The talent of the cast, the detail, care and precision of the crew and the artistic skill of composers and choreographers absolutely blew me away, and being surrounded by children clutching plush Timon and Simba’s, eyes goggling the stage only added to the magic!

Glancing sideways numerous times during the show I was very pleased to see Marcus absolutely transfixed – FINALLY! I had found a show which communicated with him the power and beauty of the theatre which I feel every single time the lights dim and the curtains open.

After the show we were taken backstage by Mike, and not only saw how some of the magic was created, but got up close and personal with many of the main puppets, and met a couple of the main cast. Meeting them, out of their animal kingdom costumes and into jeans and t-shirts. A reminder that in the real world a villain is a loving Dad, and a king of the Pridelands can enjoy some laughter and banter with mates and complete strangers. It amazed me that these actors had played their roles for, in one case, 7 years! I asked each of them if they enjoyed their work, and they each took a long pause, a smile sneaked onto their faces, and they nodded. “I absolutely love it” was always the response.

One of the Zazu Puppets backstage

As we said goodbye to Mike and left the theatre I felt absolutely invigorated, a fantastic start to the birthmonth there was one specific phrase which stuck with me and dissolved all the down times of the past months away – Hakuna Matata.


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