Saturday, July 4, 2020
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    Meet Billy Elliot: Brodie Donougher

    Note: Brodie’s final show as Billy in the West End (London) production of the show was on 9-Apr-2016.

    Debut: November 19, 2014 (London)

    Total Performances as Billy:  143.95 (includes 1 partial show credited @.5, the 10th Anniversary show credited @.2 and the closing show credited @.25)

    Brodie Donougher Thumb4Brodie Donougher was 12 years old upon his BETM debut.  He is from Blackpool in Lancashire, which is in the Northwest of England or, as it’s called, the North Shore.  He lived there with his mum, Ashley, his dad, Keith, sisters Derrian, Jessica and Arroia, and brother, Emlyn.  For academics, he’s gotten his primary school training at the Layton Primary School in Blackpool.

    Brodie’s early passion was gymnastics.  From a young age, he studied at the Garstang School of Gymnastics.  Here are a couple of brief videos taken by family members that illustrate the strength and skill that Brodie acquired over the early years of his life.

    Credit: Video by Jess Donougher

    Credit: Video by Keith Donougher

    Brodie first discovered dancing through the PrimarySTEPS program at his school. PrimarySTEPS is a national junior school program intended to provide a creative introduction to ballet for children, and Brodie first took part at age seven.

    Brodie DonougherThe boys’ coach at Garstang School of Gymnastics, Fiona Catterall, said the staff at the school were all very proud of Brodie and what he’s accomplished.  She said that Brodie still found time to attend gym training each week in between all the auditions and ballet studies, and that the gym work had helped build up his stamina.  In fact, “His parents say the basic body conditioning is a great help with the ballet,” she added.

    Brodie’s stated goals in the short term, in his words, were “When I grow up I want to be in the Royal Ballet or play Billy Elliot in the West End.” Perhaps never in his wildest dreams did he think he could achieve both by age 11.

    In March of 2014, Brodie learned that after two successful auditions in Manchester and London that he had been accepted to the Royal Ballet School.  It’s a prestigious appointment, as only 12 boys from around the world were accepted.

    But then Billy Elliot came along.  While at his dance school, Brodie’s mum learned about auditions for the role of Billy in Billy Elliot the Musical in the West End.  Brodie attended two auditions, the first in Manchester and the second one in London, and was then asked to attend the Billy Summer School, which was a five week program.  At the conclusion of Summer School, the BETM creative team obviously had liked what they saw and they offered Brodie the role of Billy.  Shortly after that, Brodie moved into the Billy House where several months of intense training led up to his debut.

    So now, with his debut as Billy at the Victoria Palace Theatre on 19-Nov-2014, he has realized the second of his goals.  With that debut, he became London’s 39th Billy and was the 81st boy to play the role professionally worldwide.

    In a video series called Meet the Billys, the BETM company introduces its Billys to the world.  Here’s Brodie’s:

    Editor’s Note: The other boy seen practicing ballet with Brodie in this video is Thomas Hazelby, who later debuted as Billy as well. 

    Billy Elliot The Musical was voted by the public onto a short list of four shows eligible to win the 2015 This Morning Audience Award at the Olivier Awards.  BETM send Brodie (Billy) and Nathan Jones (Michael) to perform on This Morning on Tuesday, 7-Apr-2015 to showcase the show and ask for people’s votes for BETM to win the award.

    Here’s a video of their appearance, performing a modified version of Expressing Yourself:

    Credit: Video by tomchitling

    Brodie Donougher Dances in Electricity
    Brodie Donougher Dances in Electricity

    For more information on Brodie visit:

    Billy Elliot the Forum, Brodie Donougher Facebook Appreciation Page

    Brodie Donougher (Billy) and Gillian Elisa (Grandma)
    Brodie Donougher (Billy) and Gillian Elisa (Grandma)

    Photo Credit:  All production photos from the show in this profile are by Alastair Muir. 

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    Life After Billy

    • 2016/2017 – After BETM, Brodie went into Vocational Ballet Training at Elmhurst Ballet School in April 2016 and continued work on his GCSE’s.  He performed live on the Late Late Show on Ireland’s RTÉ on May 27th of that year with Adam Abbou and Lewis Smallman from the UK and Ireland Tour production, to promote the tour’s visit to Ireland. 

    Credit: Video by the Late Late Show

    • 2018/2019 – Brodie received a scholarship to one of UK’s biggest ballet summer schools, where he lived and trained. 
      • He is a Dance World Cup Finalist from 2019.
      • On 30-Jun-2019 an episode of One Day That Changed My Life aired on BBC One (Series 2, Episode 6), a short documentary drama featuring Brodie.  The documentary covered Brodie’s time at Elmhurst dealing with an injury and whether he would dance again, his rehabilitation and his preparations for his audition to get into the Upper School at Elmhurst.  Brodie’s segment of the documentary is shown below.

     

    • 2020 & Beyond – Brodie is hoping to graduate and get 2 A Levels.  He is also aiming for his Level 6 Trinity Diploma. 

      • He is teaching, assisting and performing each month with other male dancers across the UK. 
      • Brodie will be performing and working with The Birmingham Royal Ballet in Swan Lake from 18-Feb-2020 through the end of the month.

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