The producers of the multi award-winning smash hit Billy Elliot the Musical are delighted to announce that the four boys who will play the title role in the first ever UK and Ireland tour of the iconic musical are Adam Abbou (12 years old from Liverpool), Matthew Lyons (11 years old from Leeds), Haydn May (11 years old from Bath) and Lewis Smallman (12 years old from West Bromwich). The boys were cast following nationwide auditions and after months of intensive rehearsals will alternate in the role when the show opens at the Theatre Royal Plymouth on Wednesday 24 February 2016.
Adam Abbou trained at Nazene Danielle’s Dance Dynamix and has competed in various regional and national dance championships. He has previously appeared as ‘Jerome’ in “South Pacific” and ‘Nibs’ in “Peter Pan”, both at the Liverpool Empire. Matthew Lyons trained at the West Yorkshire School of Performing Arts and has previously appeared in Matthew Bourne’s production of “Lord of the Flies” at the Bradford Alhambra. Haydn May trained at the Dorothy Coleborn School of Dancing and is a member of Tap Attack in Swindon and the Bristol Hawks Gymnastics Club. He has appeared as ‘Chip’ in “Beauty and the Beast, ‘Munchkin’ in “The Wizard of Oz” and ‘Michael in “Peter Pan”, all at the Theatre Royal, Bath. Lewis Smallman trained at Arabesque Dance Academy and Renaissance Arts. He has appeared in the English Youth Ballet’s “Swan Lake” and as ‘Kurt’ in “The Sound of Music” at Sutton Town Hall. He is also a keen gymnast with Sandwell Flyers Gymnastic Academy.
Adam, Matthew, Haydn and Lewis will be joined by Henry Farmer (10 years old from Lancashire), Elliot Stiff (9 years old from Sunderland) and Samuel Torpey (9 years old from Manchester) who all alternate the role of Billy’s best friend Michael. Joining them will be Lilly Cadwallender (10 years old from Hartlepool), Evie Martin (10 years old from Middlesbrough) and Italia Ross (10 years old from Hartlepool) who all alternate the role of Debbie.
They all join Annette McLaughlin as Mrs Wilkinson, Martin Walsh as ‘Dad’, Scott Garnham as ‘Tony’ and Andrea Miller as ‘Grandma’.
Annette McLaughlin’s many West End musical theatre credits include ‘Mrs Wormwood’ in “Matilda”, ‘Velma Kelly’ in “Chicago” and ‘Erma’ in “Anything Goes”. Her numerous Royal Shakespeare credits include roles in “The Jew of Malta”, “Measure for Measure” and “Volpone”. Her Almeida theatre credits include “Lysisitrata” and “The Odyssey”. Her other theatre credits include ‘Tracey Lord’ in “High Society” at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre and “Singin’ in the Rain” at the National Theatre. Martin Walsh is currently filming “Rovers” for Sky 1. His other TV credits include “Game of Thrones”, “Downton Abbey” and “Coronation Street”. He has also appeared on “The Trials of Jimmy Rose” and “Shameless”. Scott Garnham’s many West End credits include “Les Misérables” and the original casts of “I Can’t Sing” and “Made In Dagenham”. His other theatre credits include “Titanic” at the Princess of Wales Theatre in Toronto, “Grand Hotel” at Southwark Playhouse and the UK tour of “Never Forget”. Andrea Miller has appeared in numerous musicals including “Sweeney Todd”, “Into the Woods”, “Blood Brothers” and “Annie”. She most recently appeared in “Sister Act”.
The company also includes Phillip Aiden, Jonathan Alden, Leo Atkin, Tom Bainbridge, Deborah Bundy, Jack Butterworth, Luke Cinque-White, Donna Combe, Wayne Fitzsimmons, Nikki Gerrard, Abbie Louise Harris, Paul Hutton, Leon Kay, Charlie Martin, Kris Manuel, Barnaby Meredith, Daniel Page, Georgina Parkinson, Amy Rhiannon-Worth, Rachel Spurrell, Sebastian Sykes, Rafe Watts and Luke Zammit.
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.
Acclaimed by audiences and critics alike, Billy Elliot the Musical has now been seen by nearly 11 million people across five continents and is the recipient of over 80 awards internationally, including ten Tony Awards and five Olivier Awards. In 2006, Liam Mower, James Lomas and George Maguire, the first three boys to play the title role, became the youngest performers ever to have won the Olivier Award for Best Actor with the show also picking up the Best Musical prize.
In total, worldwide, ninety boys have now played the iconic role of Billy Elliot on stage. In May last year, Billy Elliot the Musical celebrated its 10th birthday at the West End’s Victoria Palace Theatre where it will play its final performance on 9 April 2016 after 4,600 performances when the theatre closes for refurbishment.
Billy Elliot the Musical is brought to life by the multiple award-winning creative team behind the film including writer Lee Hall (book and lyrics), director Stephen Daldry, and choreographer, Peter Darling, joined by Elton John who composed the show’s score. The production features scenic design by Ian MacNeil, the associate director is Julian Webber, costume design is by Nicky Gillibrand, lighting design by Rick Fisher and sound design by Paul Arditti. Musical supervision and orchestrations are by Martin Koch.
Photo: Jonny Ruff