Meet Billy Elliot: Colin Bates

    Note: Colin’s Final known performance as Billy in London was February 24, 2007.

    Debut: March 13, 2006 (London)

    Total Performances as Billy: Unknown (Unreported data from the period he was Billy) (Recorded data: 76– includes 2 partial shows credited @ .5)

    Colin Bates Thumb3Colin Bates was the first American to play the role of Billy Elliot on the Victoria Palace Theatre (VPT) stage.  He was the 7th Billy overall.  Colin was born on 17-Aug-1990 in Los Angeles, California, to a British father (Robert) and American mother (Donna).  He grew up in New Freedom, Pennsylvania.

    At the age of nine, he was taking classes at the Baltimore School of the Arts and competing in ballettapjazzmodernlyrical and hip hop.  He also competed in gymnastics.  Prior to his being chosen to “Be Billy”, Colin played ‘Charlie Bates’ and then ‘The Artful Dodger’ in the U.S. national tour of Cameron Mackintosh‘s Oliver!

    Colin Bates is Billy Elliot

    In November of 2005 Colin first auditioned for Billy Elliot the Musical in the U.S., even though he was 15 when the cut-off age was 14.  Director Stephen Daldry liked what he saw but realizing Colin would be too old for the Broadway production and recognizing his potential, decided to send Colin to London to join the West End cast.  A few weeks later, he was off to the UK to start rehearsals there.  Colin debuted as Billy on 13-Mar-2006.  He would go on to play the role for 11 months before doing his last show on 24-Feb-2007.

    Shortly after his debut, Colin was interviewed on CBBC.  Here is that interview in three parts:




     Credit: Videos by AccordBETM

    Colin was chosen to film the official BETMUK promotional trailer that was used in advertisements for the show:



    The 14 Billy Elliots who performed at the BAFTA 60th Birthday celebrations in November 2007. They are (along with their Billy #) Top Row: Sam Angell (12), Oliver Taylor (11), Travis Yates (5), Liam Mower (1), Leon Cooke (4), James Lomas (3) and Matthew Koon (6). Middle Row: Layton Williams (9), Corey Snide (10), Josh Fedrick (13), Colin Bates (7), Trent Kowalik (17) and Dean McCarthy (8).  Front Row: Aaron Watson (41).    


    Life After Billy

    Since his days playing Billy Elliot, Colin has kept a very busy schedule acting, dancing and singing.

    • After BETM, Colin graduated from the Baltimore School for the Arts in 2008 and shortly thereafter moved to Los Angeles, California to continue to pursue his acting and singing.  
    • Once in LA, he formed the band “North Coast”, playing bass guitar and doing vocals.
    • Colin continued his dance training at South Bay Ballet in Torrance, CA.
    • In 2010, Colin joined the cast of the Columbine Project in Los Angeles.
    • In 2010, Colin enrolled in (and has since graduated from) The Julliard School of New York. 
    • Also in 2010, Colin made several television appearances including: One Life To Live (ABC), and Children’s Hospital (The WB).
    • From 2016 to 2018, Colin was a member of the band Aelios.
    • Colin’s full length film credits include: All Superheroes Must Die 2: The Last Superhero (2016), Dating My Mother (2017), I Didn’t Come Here To Make Love (2017), Exploited (post production), T11 Incomplete (post production), and Heather (filming – Fall of 2019).
    • His in front of the camera credits also include several short films: Don’t Tell Anyone (a 2015 Peabody Winner),  Mommy Heist in 2016, Leave in 2016, Heather in 2016, Cuba Libre in 2016, Redwood in 2017, Tub Adjacent in 2017 and O.N.E. (post production).  Colin used American Sign Language in a 2018 short film called Nice Talking to You which premiered at South By Southwest. 
    Colin Bates as “Ollie” in Nice Talking To You
    • Colin speaks French and has appeared in many French films such as La Priere (2018) and Normandie Nue (2018).
    • Colin’s work on stage continued as well. He worked in the Off Broadway 2016 production of The Effect with Tony Award winner David Cromer. 
    • From September 23 to November 16, 2018, Colin played the title role in A Picture of Dorian Gray at A Noise Within Theatre in Los Angeles. 
    • Colin is in the cast of A Girl from the North Country, a new jukebox musical based on Bob Dylan’s songs, playing until 24-Nov-2019 to sold out houses in Toronto. After leaving Toronto, this production will reopen in London (previously had premiered there) on 10-Dec-2019 and currently booking to 1-Feb-2020.
    • Colin continues to sing and play guitar.

    Credit: Video by A Noise Within

     For more information about Colin, visit: 

    Billy Elliot The ForumIMDb, Colin on Twitter


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