After 4,600 performances, due to the theatre’s previously announced refurbishment programme, the multi award-winning West End production of Billy Elliot the Musical will play its final performance at the Victoria Palace Theatre on 9 April 2016 as the production celebrates its eleventh birthday. The show has been seen to date by over 5.25 million people in London and nearly 11 million people worldwide, has grossed over $800 million worldwide and is the winner of over 80 theatre awards internationally.
In June this year tickets went on sale for the first UK and Ireland tour of Billy Elliot the Musical, opening at the Theatre Royal Plymouth in February 2016 when the touring and West End productions will be playing concurrently. Further dates – Sunderland, Bradford, Cardiff, Dublin, Edinburgh, Bristol, Manchester, Southampton and Birmingham – have subsequently been announced, with the tour currently booking to May 2017. The first Japanese language production will open at the Akasaka ACT Theater in Tokyo in 2017.
Based on the Oscar nominated film released in 2000 and set in a northern mining town against the background of the 1984/’85 miners’ strike, Billy’s journey takes him out of the boxing ring and into a ballet class where he discovers a passion for dance that inspires his family and whole community and changes his life forever.
Since its world premiere in 2005, the West End production has been honoured with numerous awards including 4 Olivier Awards in 2006, when Liam Mower, James Lomas and George Maguire, the first three boys to play the title role in London, became the youngest performers ever to have won the Olivier Award for Best Actor. The Broadway production was the recipient of 35 theatre awards, including ten Tony Awards in 2009 when David Alvarez, Trent Kowalik and Kiril Kulish jointly won the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical for their role as Billy Elliot. The Australian production was similarly honoured with multiple awards including Best Musical at the Helpmann Awards, the Sydney Theatre Awards and at the Green Room Awards in Melbourne. Similar awards success followed at the Dora Awards in Toronto, Korea Musical Awards and in the Netherlands where the show as honoured with the award for Best Musical at the Dutch Musical Awards in 2015.
In total, world-wide, ninety boys have now played the iconic role on stage with the West End production welcoming Euan Garrett, 12 years old from East Lothian, Scotland, earlier this month as the forty-second young boy to take on the title role in London. Since 2004, over 4,400 young boys have attended open auditions around the country with the hope of playing the iconic title role.
Ruthie Henshall and Deka Walmsley lead the adult cast in the West End as Mrs Wilkinson and Dad respectively in Billy Elliot the Musical. They are joined by Matthew Seadon-Young as Tony, Gillian Elisa as Grandma, Howard Crossley as George, Claudia Bradley as Dead Mum, Phil Snowden as Mr Braithwaite and James Butcher as Older Billy. Ensemble members are Craig Armstrong, Richard Ashton, James Ballanger, David Bardsley, Paul Basleigh, Rachel Bingham, Lucinda Collins, Peter Cork, Scott Cripps, Robbie Durham, Ross Finnie, Lee Hoy, Ruri James, Ben Redfern, Charlotte Riby, Mike Scott, Sharon Sexton, Wendy Somerville, Spencer Stafford, David Stoller and Kerry Washington
Brodie Donougher (12 years old from Blackpool), Euan Garrett (12 years old from East Lothian, Scotland), Thomas Hazelby (11 years old from Doncaster) and Nat Sweeney (13 years old from Birmingham) alternate the title role of Billy Elliot. Ben Robinson (10 years old from Chester), Nathan Jones (12 years old from Northumberland) and Bradley Mayfield (11 years old from South Yorkshire) play the role of Billy’s best friend Michael. Beatrice Bartley (11 years old from Durham), Hollie Jayne Creighton (10 years old from Sunderland) and Connie Fisher (11 years old from North Yorkshire) alternate the role of Debbie.
Photo: Alastair Muir