Fivelements proudly hosts Yellow Coco’s multicultural production of: “Bali Inspired Lion King”


“Susan and Susiawan have honored each child's voice, opinion and contribution. This is not a neat, slick, packaged deal, but an incredibly creative and mindful exploration of art, drama, and music, which balances each child's inner gifts with gentle guidance…” Annie Murdock, mother of Liliana who plays Simba

 Yellow Coco Creative Nest, Ubud’s community based art space, has re-created their own version of The Lion King ready for their performance on Earth Day, 26th April, at Fivelements. Inspired by Julie Taymor’s work with puppetry and mask in her famous Lion King, which was ignited by her four year stay in Java and Bali, Yellow Coco founders Susan Allen and Susiawan have enhanced the connection to Bali still further by incorporating elements of Balinese barong and mythology, shadow play and mask, local animal study and research. And of course the performance is rich with dance, movement, story theatre and music.

Rehearsals are going well and Susan reports, “I just love to see the children being the different animals with the unique characteristics of each species. It's so fun to see them explore how far they can take this. I also love how they are learning to use the whole stage space and engage the audience.”

She tells us that the end result of entertaining the audience was just one of the many aims of the production. “We wanted our production to support co-learning and artistic exploration with the children, connect with the local culture and landscape, and collaborate across communities, cultures and age groups,” she says. “We also planned for the backdrop, masks, puppets and costumes to be created from recycled and re-used materials as much as possible, with the children involved in the design and creation.”

While the Lion King is a story that everyone knows well, Yellow Coco’s collaboration with the children makes it a living, growing, roaring version of the original. “The most successful element of the project is incorporating the children's ideas into the performance, stage directions, gestures and even the lines they speak. They are all growing and learning from this process, as am I. I'm very impressed by how they really have taken ownership over the play and the process. They never cease to think of ways to improve aspects of the play while we practice.”

"I like Yellow Coco because of how connected everyone is and how all the kids like each other,” says Emily Pearce, who plays Rafiki. “I also like it because of the acting experience and the games really help to improve my acting. I would say that Yellow Coco is probably the best class I have ever taken."

In fact all Yellow Coco’s little performers are thrilled to be part of the creative process, coming out with additional comments like, “It’s fun, we love the songs and dancing, and we get to create too. We re-wrote the story and it’s great to make things like our masks, the props and the costumes.”

“The children put their own costumes together,” confirms Susan.“In almost all cases nothing was purchased, instead we used the fabrics and clothes Yellow Coco has gathered over the years.”

And the feedback from parents highlights the value of the project. “Every week, the day my daughter most looks forward to is the day that she has her Lion King rehearsal,” says Annie Murdock, mother of Liliana, who plays Simba. “Susan and Susiawan are gifted holistic educators and in the process of developing the Bali Inspired Lion King, they have honored each child's voice, opinion and contribution. This is not a neat, slick, packaged deal, but an incredibly creative and mindful exploration of art, drama, and music, which balances each child's inner gifts with gentle guidance from Susan and Susiawan. I believe my daughter's enthusiasm for the rehearsals stems from the fact that at Yellow Coco she feels honored and respected and is given space to shine in a supportive community.”

“Why do I think the Lion King is beneficial for Rahfael? Wow, no words could cover that,” says Eva Kroes, mother of Rahfael who is playing a lion in Mufasa’s pride. “The group process, the creation process, the fun, the friends, the singing, the costumes, relating to the story and through the story to the inner and outer world... He loves it and so do we. We so respect and honor your work Susi and Susan. It's true and golden. Thank you!”

A long-time supporter of Yellow Coco, Fivelements makes the ideal stage for the performance, highlighting their commitment to supporting local culture, wellbeing and sustainability.

So please join us in celebration of Earth Day, with the co-creative production from Yellow Coco Creative Nest and the children, for the performance of BALI INSPIRED LION KING. Sunday April 26th at 2pm. For more details: