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Billy Youth Theatre creates West End star

Published 17 September 2010

A schoolboy who appeared in an amateur production of Billy Elliot The Musical has landed a role in the West End production of the show.

Shotton Hall Theatre School’s Connor Lawson, who took part in Billy Youth Theatre last academic year, will play the role of Billy’s best friend Michael at the Victoria Palace theatre from 29 November.

Billy Youth Theatre is an initiative devised by Billy Elliot writer Lee Hall who adapted his award-winning musical to produce a shortened version especially for schools and youth groups. Last year 115 such groups performed productions of the musical around the country, leading to seven regional showcases. Shotton Hall Theatre School was one of 14 productions invited to perform at a West End Gala in July.

Youngsters aged 10 to 19 hoping to follow in Lawson’s ballet steps can take part in this year’s Billy Youth Theatre, which opens for applications for schools and youth groups on 11 October.

Hall commented: “I was completely overwhelmed by the response to our first Billy Youth Theatre. The level of energy and commitment from everyone involved was exceptional. I hope we can repeat the excitement and enthusiasm in our second year. We are looking forward to getting started.”

Based on the hit 2000 film, Billy Elliot The Musical is set in a mining community in the north of England and centres on one young boy’s desire to skip boxing lessons for ballet. While his father and brother stand on the picket line, Billy is encouraged by dance teacher Mrs Wilkinson to follow his dreams and apply for the Royal Ballet School.

For details of how to apply for Billy Youth Theatre, visit



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