The incredible cast of the Whitgift production of Billy Elliot the musical performed over four nights to full houses in June 2022.
This was an outstanding production, not just for the acting, musical and dancing expertise but for the sense of teamwork across the generations at Whitgift and other schools. The performances featured a largely Junior Years cast, some familiar faces from the Sixth Form and pupils from Old Palace of John Whitgift School, Trinity School and WAVPA (Whitgift Academy of Visual and Performing Arts)
The well-loved musical focuses on motherless Billy, who begins taking ballet lessons almost by accident and finds, much to his surprise that he has talent, and far more enthusiasm, for this pursuit than for boxing. This story of his personal struggle to be true to himself by overcoming family bigotry and financial hardship to eventually make it to the Royal Ballet School is juxtaposed against community strife caused by the 1984 -85 miners’ strike in County Durham.
Staging a musical this complex was never going to be easy not least as lead cast members needed to learn to dance from scratch and rose to the challenge with unbelievable enthusiasm swapping ballet for tap shoes with ease.
“I have been constantly astonished by the progress made and the skills developed in these young performers. I am so proud that this relatively inexperienced cast rose to the challenge of conveying these important messages of acceptance and tolerance through the medium of drama”, said Director, Mrs Carter.