Twelve year old Harrison Dowzell from Nottinghamshire is to become the thirtieth boy to play the title role of Billy Elliot in the West End. Harrison, who joins the cast of Billy Elliot the Musical today, 14 May 2012, will alternate the role of Billy with Harris Beattie (13 years old from Aberdeen, Scotland), Kaine Ward (13 years old from Hertfordshire), Ryan Collinson (13 years old from Southport) and Adam Vesperman (13 years old from Seattle, Washington, USA). He will be the 65th boy to play the role worldwide, including Jamie Bell who played Billy Elliot in the award-winning film.
Harrison Dowzell said: “I am twelve year old Harrison Dowzell from Nottinghamshire and I live with my mum, dad, little brother Josh and Persian cat Rocky. I have always enjoyed sport, especially football and I was lucky enough to play for Notts County FC. Knowing how much I enjoyed dancing, my teachers at junior school suggested I took proper lessons and for over two years I managed to juggle football and dancing and was very busy. When I was eight years old I joined the Rollo Academy of Performing Arts and Freedom Movement (a hip hop troupe). I loved the film Billy Elliot so much that when I saw the audition poster in my dance studio I thought I would try my luck. I took a couple of ballet lessons in preparation and six months after my first audition (and after several call backs), I was invited to do some training with the Billy team over the summer. It was shortly after this that I was told I had got the part of Billy Elliot and I was so happy I could have burst. When I first arrived in London I was a little nervous but within a couple of days I felt like I had been here for months. I am really excited about my first performance as Billy.”
Billy Elliot the Musical, now in its eighth year, will release a further 640,000 tickets this week, taking booking at the Victoria Palace Theatre to 21 December 2013. The internationally award-winning show, which opened at the Victoria Palace Theatre in 2005, has been seen by almost 8 million people worldwide, including 3.7 in the West End. Billy Elliot the Musical has also been staged on Broadway at the Imperial Theatre, as well as Sydney, Melbourne, Chicago, Toronto and Seoul, South Korea and is currently on tour across North America, with further international productions planned.
Based on the Oscar nominated film, Billy Elliot the Musical is an inspirational story of one boy’s dream to realise his ambitions against the odds. Set in the North East of England against the background of the historic 1984/85 miners’ strike, Billy pursues his passion for dance in secret to avoid disapproval of his struggling family.
Billy Elliot the Musical features music by Elton John, book and lyrics by Lee Hall, is directed by Stephen Daldry with choreography by Peter Darling. 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.
From 14 May 2012 the West End cast comprises Harrison Dowzell (12 years old from Nottinghamshire), Harris Beattie (13 years old from Aberdeen, Scotland), Kaine Ward (13 years old from Hertfordshire), Ryan Collinson (13 years old from Southport) and Adam Vesperman (13 years old from Seattle, Washington, USA) who alternate the role of Billy. Reece Barrett (13 years old from Exeter), Connor Kelly (13 years old from Scunthorpe) and Joe Massey (12 years old from South Wirrell) who alternate the role of Billy’s best friend Michael; Dayna Dixon (9 years old from Newcastle upon Tyne), Francesca Mango (13 years old from Northumberland) and Macy Stasiak (10 years old from Darlington), who alternate the role of Debbie.