Following the mobilisation of theatre fans across the West End and beyond to support their favourite show, Billy Elliot The Musical has won the BBC Radio 2 Audience Award.
The en pointe powerhouse took the lion’s share of more than 65,000 votes cast by fans of London’s long-running shows, beating fellow short-listed shows The Phantom Of The Opera, Wicked and last year’s Olivier Award record-breaker Matilda The Musical, and winning the coveted award for the first time.
The tutu-ed tuner had previously made it to the Audience Award shortlist for the previous three years.
Written by Lee Hall, featuring music by Elton John, Billy Elliot The Musical took to the stage of the Victoria Palace theatre for the first time in spring 2005, since when is tale of a boy who discovers an unlikely talent for ballet while growing up in a northern mining town during the strikes of the 1980s has been seen by more than 4 million audience members. The production won four Olivier Awards, including Best New Musical, when it first opened in London.
Speaking to us at the Nominees’ Celebration earlier in the month, Billy Elliot The Musical’s Deka Walmsley, who plays Billy’s Dad, said: “I would be thrilled if we won. It’s an audience award and it’s special to have the audience decide. They’re the ones who sit and watch it. It would be a great reward for what we do. It would be fantastic. I would be really thrilled for everyone at the theatre and the kids, who work ridiculously hard.”