Tuesday, December 1, 2020

    Meet Billy Elliot: Layton Williams

    Note: Layton’s Final known Performance as Billy in London was November 29, 2008

    Debut: February 26, 2007 (London)

    Total Performances as Billy: Unknown (Unreported data from the period he was Billy) (Recorded data: 162.5 — includes 1 partial show credited @ .5)

    SONY DSCLayton Williams was the 9th boy to play Billy in Billy Elliot the Musical (BETM) and the first mixed race actor to do so. He was born on 13-Sep-1994 in the town of Bury in Greater Manchester UK and got his academic schooling at St. Paul’s Primary School and at the Broad Oak High School, both in Bury.

    Layton Williams at the Stage DoorLayton’s early, pre-BETM training was received first at Carol Godby’s Theatre Workshop in Bury (street dance and acting), and then, after making it through several initial auditions for BETM, at Centre Pointe Dance Studio in Manchester (ballet).  He related in his BETMUK bio that beyond the basic street dance and acting training he had received at Carol Godby’s, he had never done any ballet or tap dancing. And so he says “…I was thrilled to get through the intensive training and attend the (BETM) Academy in Leeds. I struggled at first but now I have found that tap and street dance are my favourite types of dance.”  He also was awarded a scholarship to the Sylvia Young Theatre School

    After several open auditions in Manchester for the role of Billy, Layton was indeed selected to go to Leeds for more training. The road he traveled to prepare for the role was documented by The Paul O’Grady Show as aired on a May 2006 episode of that show.  Here’s a video clip:

    Credit: Video by Billy Elliot TV

    Several months after he was notified he got the role, his training done, 12-year-old Layton made his West End debut on the Victoria Palace Theatre stage on 26-Feb-2007. It would be the first of over 160 times he played the role, over an almost two year period — one of the longest stints of any boy who has played Billy worldwide. His final show was on 29-Nov-2008.

    The Curtain Call of Layton Williams's Final Show as Billy Elliot
    The Curtain Call of Layton Williams’s Final Show as Billy Elliot

    Post Billy Activities

    Here are some of the highlights of “life after Billy” for Layton:

    • Attended the Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts where he was “head boy” in his final year (2011-2014).
    • Played the role of Kylie in the TV Series Beautiful People (2008-2009).

    As Kylie in Beautiful People, Layton sings When the World Will See Me in the series finale.

    Credit: Video by David Utting

    • In 2009, performed as the young Michael Jackson in the West End show Thriller Live.
    • Appeared as a guest star on the CBBC reality TV Series School for Stars (2011 & 2013).
    • In 2011, Layton appeared in three episodes of the dramatic TV Series Postcode.
    • Played the role of Stephen in the TV Series Bad Education (2012-2014).
    • In 2014, Layton joined Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures dance company playing the role of Simon in the touring show Lord of the Flies.

     For more information about Layton, visit: 

    Billy Elliot The ForumIMDb, Layton on Facebook


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