Today, 19th November 2014, eleven year-old Brodie Donougher from Blackpool, gives his first performance in the title role of the internationally award winning Billy Elliot the Musical – and becomes the 39th boy to play the role. Brodie joins a cast led by Ruthie Henshall who plays Mrs Wilkinson, Billy’s dance teacher and Deka Walmsley who plays Billy’s dad. Brodie becomes the thirty-ninth boy to perform the role of Billy at London’s Victoria Palace Theatre and the seventy-sixth boy to perform the role worldwide, including Jamie Bell who played Billy Elliot in the award-winning film. Also joining the cast today will be 10 year old Connie Fisher from Northallerton, North Yorkshire, who will play Mrs Wilkinson’s daughter Debbie. In addition 19 girls from London and surrounding counties aged 9 – 14 join the cast as Ballet Girls. Billy Elliot the Musical is currently booking at the Victoria Palace Theatre to 19 December 2015.
Brodie Donougher said: “My name is Brodie and I’m eleven years old. I have three sisters, Derrian and Jessica and Arroia, and one brother, Emlyn, and live in Blackpool with my parents. When I was seven, I was introduced to ballet through PrimarySTEPS, a Royal Ballet School programme that gives children the opportunity to try ballet, and later became part of The Royal Ballet School’s Junior Associate programme. I’m also a keen gymnast and have trained and competed with the Garstang School of Gymnastics. My mum heard about the Billy Elliot auditions being held in Manchester and asked me if I would like to audition. I got through to the London auditions and was invited to train at the Billy Elliot summer school in 2013. I really enjoyed the experience and knew then that I wanted to be Billy, and I was overwhelmed when I was offered the role a year later. I have also successfully auditioned for The Royal Ballet Schools full-time training programme in London and look forward to attending in the future. In the meantime, I can’t wait for my first performance at the Victoria Palace Theatre tonight.”
Connie Fisher said: “I am ten years old and from Northallerton, a small town in North Yorkshire. I have been dancing since the age of three and started competing at freestyle competitions with my dance school, Planet Dance, when I was four. I recently joined Val Armstrong School of Performing Arts in Hartlepool and also became Juvenile British Modern Champion 2014. It was Val who got me the opportunity for my first ever audition, which was for the role of Debbie in Billy Elliot. I was so excited when I found out I had got the part. It’s an amazing opportunity and I feel really lucky and hope I make everyone who has supported me proud!”
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.
September 2014 saw a record breaking twenty-five former and current Billy Elliots get together on stage in a specially choreographed mash-up finale of Billy Elliot the Musical at a unique performance that was broadcast live to the UK and around the world from the show’s West End home at the Victoria Palace Theatre. All three original Billy Elliots – James Lomas, George Maguire and Liam Mower – took part in a spectacular finale as the broadcast, the widest ever cinema release of a live event, hit number one at the UK box office. Two special screenings of Billy Elliot the Musical Live also took place at the historic Easington Social Welfare Centre, formerly the Easington Colliery Miners’ Institute, one of the settings for Billy’s inspiring story. Billy Elliot the Musical Live will be available on Blu-ray and DVD and Digital Download on 24 November 2014.
The adult cast of Billy Elliot the Musical is led by Ruthie Henshall as Billy’s dance teacher Mrs Wilkinson, Deka Walmsley as Billy’s dad, Chris Grahamson as Tony and Ann Emery as Grandma, joined by Claudia Bradley, Howard Crossley, Barnaby Meredith and David Muscat. Ensemble members are Craig Armstrong, David Bardsley, Paul Basleigh, Spencer Cartwright, Lucinda Collins, Gillian Elisa, Lee Hoy, Ruri James, Chris Jenkins, Charlie Martin, Alan Mehdizadeh, Steve Paget, Ben Redfern, Charlotte Riby, Mark John Richardson, Mike Scott, Phil Snowden, Wendy Somerville, Spencer Stafford and David Stoller.
Brodie Donougher joins Elliott Hanna (11 years old from Liverpool), Ollie Jochim (12 years old from Chelmsford, Essex), Bradley Perret (12 years old from Juan les Pins, France) and Matteo Zecca (12 years old from Buckinghamshire) who alternate the title role. Todd Bell (12 years old from Whitehaven, Cumbria), Tomi Fry (12 years old from Swindon) and Zach Atkinson (13 years old from Manchester) play the role of Billy’s best friend Michael. Connie Fisher joins Kyria Cooper (11 years old from Hartlepool) and Demi Lee (11 years old from Middlesbrough) to alternate the role of Debbie.
Based on the Academy Award® nominated film, Billy Elliot the Musical has been dazzling London’s theatergoers at the Victoria Palace Theatre since 2005, and has gone on to captivate audiences around the world, winning over 80 theatre awards globally including 10 Tony Awards® and 5 Olivier Awards.
Billy Elliot the Musical has now been seen by nearly 10 million people worldwide and 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.
Productions of Billy Elliot the Musical have been staged on Broadway, as well as in Sydney, Melbourne, Chicago, Toronto and Seoul, South Korea. The North American touring production, which began in 2010, finished its spectacular run in August 2013 in São Paulo, Brazil, the first time Billy Elliot was performed in South America. The Netherlands is now added to the international list of countries, with further international productions currently planned.
Billy Elliot the Musical is presented in London by Universal Stage Productions, Working Title Films and Old Vic Productions in association with Tiger Aspect and is based on the Universal Pictures/Studio Canal film. The show is produced by Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Jon Finn and Sally Greene. Angela Morrison and David Furnish are executive producers.