London gets first home-grown Billy

Published June 23, 2008

Fox Jackson-Keen will today become the first Londoner to play the title role in international hit musical Billy Elliot when he takes to the stage at the Victoria Palace.

Jackson-Keen, a 13-year-old from Hornsey, is the 16th boy to play Billy Elliot, and joins the trio of Layton Williams, Hogan Fulton and Joshua Fedrick who alternate as the lead.

Set in the North East of England during the miners’ strikes of the 1980s, Billy Elliot tells the story of a young boy who unearths a talent for dance and dreams of making it to the Royal Ballet School. But in a community where boys box and then work down the mines, his family struggles to understand his ambition.

The hit film, which starred Jamie Bell, was written by Lee Hall and directed by Stephen Daldry, received three Oscar and 13 BAFTA nominations. Hall and Daldry reunited to create the stage show, joining with pop royalty Sir Elton John, who provided the score.

Since opening in May 2005, Billy Elliot the musical has played to 2.2 million people, while a new production has opened in Australia, and a Broadway show opens later this year.

MA