Note: Josh’s final performance as Billy in the Melbourne production of Billy Elliot the Musical (BETM) was on 14-Jun-2009.
Debut: 6-Nov-2008 (Sydney)
Total Performances as Billy: Unknown (Unreported data from the period he was Billy) Recorded data: 36 (Includes 2 partials shows credited @.5 each)
Josh Denyer was 13-years-old (D.O.B. = 7-Feb-1995) when he debuted as Billy in the Sydney production of BETM. Sydney was also Josh’s hometown.
Josh started dancing at age six, having been inspired by watching his sister Chantelle. He started his dance training at Capital Performance Studios, in Hornby, and then in June 2007 took up classical ballet at Ecole Ballet & Dance Theatre. By choosing to take up dance, Josh was breaking the family tradition, since his father, grandfather and uncles had all played soccer.
Josh had previous theatre experience, having performed in the play The Serpents Teeth with The Sydney Theatre Company. He also had guest appearances in the TV shows All Saints and Life Support, and appeared in several commercials. Josh worked with the American actress Geena Davis when he played her son ‘Young Gene’ in the feature film Accidents Happen.
For Josh, it was a long journey to eventually land the role of Billy. “I first auditioned in 2006 for the role of Michael,” he recalled. “They wanted me to train up in ballet to come back to audition for Billy.” In reference to his preparation to play Billy, Josh said, “It has been an incredibly challenging but rewarding journey auditioning and rehearsing for the role of Billy. I have made some great friendships and met some very talented people. I’m so honoured to be working alongside an incredible cast and look forward to being part of this musical.”
Josh was able to make his debut as Billy Elliot in his hometown of Sydney on 6-Nov-2008, just three days before the final show in that location. This made him the eighth Billy in Sydney and the 28th actor to play the role worldwide. He then continued to perform with the show when it moved to its new location in Melbourne that December.
Josh was given the honour of being chosen to perform in the very last show in Australia on 14-Jun-2009. This was a lot of pressure for him as he had to perform in front of Stephen Daldry, and an audience filled with fans who had travelled to Melbourne from all over Australia to see this great show one last time. Of course Josh put on a spectacular performance and gave the Australian production the send-off it deserved.
Credit: Photo by Luis Enrique Ascui
Post Billy Activities
After leaving BETM Josh continued his training in the performing arts, focusing on dance. Aged 18, Josh made it to the last eight competitors out of more than 170 entrants for the 2013 Sydney Eisteddfod’s McDonald’s Ballet Scholarship.
Also in 2013, Josh applied to eight performing arts schools across Europe and was offered a place at every single one of them. He chose to accept a three-year scholarship to the prestigious Laine Theatre Arts School in Epsom, Surrey just south of London, UK. “It’s exciting and daunting at the same time,” said Josh. “It’s sad to leave [friends and family] but I want to dance so it’s something I have to do.”
After three years of studying, Josh graduated from Laine Theatre Arts School in July 2016.
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