The final London performance of Billy Elliot the Musical will be a fundraiser for a charity based in the former mining town that provides the setting for the tale of the dancing schoolboy.
A flagship voluntary and community sector organisation, the East Durham Trust is a charity based in Easington, Co. Durham, set up to help real local families like Billy’s.
The multi award-winning West End production which this year celebrates its 11th birthday is due to play its final performance at the soon to be refurbished Victoria Palace Theatre on 9 April. Tickets are now on sale for the final show via the Victoria Palace Theatre with all proceeds going to the charity.
Announcing the fundraiser, one of the show’s executive producers, Working Title Films’ Eric Fellner, said: “We are delighted to be supporting East Durham Trust, a charity that resonates only too well with Lee Hall’s heart-warming story of Billy and his family. Billy’s journey has been something we are extremely proud of and we are delighted that proceeds from our final performance at the Victoria Palace Theatre will go to helping the local communities in County Durham.”
Malcolm Fallow, the CEO of East Durham Trust, said: “I want to thank everyone involved in Billy Elliot the Musical for their incredible support. This is a fantastic gesture and it will genuinely be appreciated by the people of East Durham and make a significant difference to our ongoing work in the community.”
East Durham Trust was established to counteract the effects of social and economic deprivation in the area through a range of practical, community-based programmes. The Trust is also the community engagement partner in the Arts Council-supported ‘East Durham Creates’ initiative, working to increase arts engagement for local people with little or no access to artistic or cultural activities.
Billy Elliot the Musical is brought to life by the multiple award-winning team of writer Lee Hall (book and lyrics), director Stephen Daldry, choreographer Peter Darling and 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.
The show has been seen to date by nearly 5.4 million people in London, while globally it has been seen by almost 11 million people. It has grossed over $800 million and won more than 80 theatre awards.
Ruthie Henshall and Deka Walmsley lead the adult cast in the West End. The cast also includes Matthew Seadon-Young, Gillian Elisa, Howard Crossley, Claudia Bradley, Phil Snowden and James Butcher. 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 (13 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 (ten 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 (11 years old from Sunderland) and Connie Fisher (11 years old from North Yorkshire) alternate the role of Debbie.
The first UK and Ireland tour of Billy Elliot the Musical opened last month at the Theatre Royal Plymouth and is currently booking until May 2017.The first Dutch production continues at the AFAS Circustheater in The Hague. Productions have previously been staged on Broadway, in Sydney, Melbourne, Chicago, Toronto and Seoul. The North American touring production, which began in 2010, finished its hugely popular run in August 2013 with an engagement in São Paulo, Brazil, the first time Billy Elliot played in South America. Further international productions are planned including the first Japanese production in 2017.
Billy Elliot the Musical is presented by Universal Stage Productions, Working Title Films and Old Vic Productions 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.