Note: Elliott’s final show as Billy was on 20-Jun-2015 at the Victoria Palace Theatre in London.
Debut: July 17, 2013 (London)
Total Performances: 145.85 (includes 8 partial shows credited @.5 ea, 1 partial show credited @ .25 and one partial show credited at .1)
On July 17, 2013, 10-year-old Elliott Hanna (D.O.B. = 20-Mar-2003) became the 34th and youngest boy ever to play Billy Elliot on the London stage. He also became the 71st worldwide in the role. Elliott is from the home of the Beatles – Liverpool – where he has been dancing since the age of four, beginning with break dancing and gradually expanding his dance repertoire at Nazene Danielle’s Dance Dynamix. Before his involvement with BETM, Elliott attended St Cecilia’s Junior School in the Liverpool community of Tuebrook.
Before his involvement with BETM, Elliott was well-known to television audiences in England having competed with his then dance partner, Tayluer Amos, in the popular Sky 1 show Got To Dance (Series 3). He and Tayluer placed second in that competition. Not a bad accomplishment for someone who was only eight-years-old at the time. Here’s a video clip of their performance in that show:
Credit: Video by GottoDanceSky1
Also in 2012, at age 8, Elliott was the youngest ever to receive the ISTD Janet Cram Modern Theatre Award and he and Tayluer were crowned national champions at the Hall of Fame Dance Challenge in Las Vegas. Quite a year — one like many of us will never experience and Elliott experienced it at eight-years-old! After that one wondered what he could do to top it. Well, the answer of course is to star in a West End musical.
And his first show as Billy wasn’t even his West End debut. He and Tayluer did that when they appeared in a variety show in November of 2012 at the Savoy Theatre to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, which featured performances by Britain’s most entertaining children and teenagers. Other theatre credits include The Wizard of Oz at the St Helens Theatre Royal and Dick Whittington and the Bells of London at the now closed Contemporary Urban Centre. Elliott and Tayluer also danced in Cinderella at the Liverpool Empire Theatre. In addition, Elliot has a singing credit on his resume as well, having sung at Liverpool’s Echo arena in the touring production of ABBA: The Show.
In an article in his hometown newspaper, The Liverpool Echo, Elliott’s dance teacher (Nazene Danielle Langfield) said “I’ve always known Elliott had something in him. He’s always been a pleasure to work with and he always struck us as a little Billy Elliot.” She went on to say that she’d recommended that he audition for BETM in March of last year, even before he competed in the Got to Dance competition. After two call backs, the BETMUK people liked what they saw and had Elliott go to the Billy Elliot summer school last year and then he’s lived in the Billy House and has been training for the past several months. She said “He’s got an advantage of being younger than the other boys who play Billy so he won’t have to worry about things like his voice breaking for some time.”
When asked what his favorite part of the show is, Elliott had a two-fold answer. He said “My favourite acting scene in Billy Elliot is ‘Expressing Yourself’ as my character Billy gets to have loads of fun with Michael, his best friend! My favourite dance number is ‘Dream Ballet’; it’s a lovely number and classical ballet is my favourite thing to perform.”
In January of 2014, BETMUK began a series of “Meet the Billys” videos featuring the then current four Billys. Elliott’s was the second one released in the series:
Credit: Video by BETMUK
In August, 2014 BETMUK also did a series of videos with the current Billys called “Quick-Fire Interviews”. Here’s Elliott’s:
Credit: Video by BETMUK
To support the opening of a new production of Billy Elliot The Musical scheduled to premiere in The Netherlands on November 4, 2014, BETMUK sent Elliott to The Hague on August 31, 2014 to take part in the promotional annual cultural event there called the Uitmarkt.
On September 28, 2014, Elliott was chosen to be Billy in the Billy Elliot Live production, which was a live performance of the show, on a Sunday afternoon, streamed live to hundreds of movie theatres across the UK and, indeed, across the world. It would be shown many times in other countries since then and a DVD/Blu-ray disc of that show is now for sale.
On March 7, 2015, Elliott performed the role of Billy for the 137.75th and final time on the Victoria Palace Theatre stage. Elliott, just days short of his 12th birthday when he “retired” from the show, has returned home to Tuebrook and is now studying at Cardinal Heenan Catholic High School.
Editor’s note: Subsequent to his “official last show”, Elliott returned to cover for the injured Thomas Hazelby (20-May to 20-Jun, 2015), accounting for his total of 145.85 shows as Billy.
There is no doubt that this triple threat entertainer has not been heard the last of. Look for him in on some stage in the future.
For more information on Elliott visit:
Photo Credit: All production photos from the show in this profile are by Alastair Muir.