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)
Layton 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’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 in a May 2006 episode of that show. Here’s a video clip:
Credit: Video by preposterous11
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.
Life After Billy
2008 – After BETM (from October 2008 to December 2009) Layton stared as “Kylie Parkinson” in Beautiful People, a British comedy drama TV series.
As Kylie in Beautiful People, Layton sings When the World Will See Me in the series finale.
Credit: Video by David Utting
2009 – From January to June, Layton performed as the young Michael Jackson in the West End show Thriller Live.
2011 – Layton attended the Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts beginning in 2011, continuing his education there until 2014. He was “head boy” in his final year. During 2011, he also appeared in three episodes of the dramatic TV series Postcode and guest starred on the CBBC reality TV series School for Stars.
2012 – Beginning in August of 2012, Layton played “Stephen Carmichael” in the TV series Bad Education. He would go on to play the role until October 2014.
2014 & 2015 In 2014, Layton joined Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures Dance Company. That first year he danced the role of “Simon” in the touring show Lord of the Flies. In 2015, Layton performed in the ensemble of the touring show of Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures Dance Company called The Car Man.
Credit: Video by New Adventures
- 2015-2016 Released in August of 2015, Bad Education the Movie, a British full length comedy directed by Elliot Hegarty saw Layton again playing the role of “Stephen Carmichael” as he had in the TV series. Then, in September, he performed as “Duane & Seaweed J. Stubbs” in Hairspray the Musical, roles he would continue playing through May of 2016.
- 2016-2017 In October of 2016, Layton starred as “Angel” in the UK touring company for Rent, a role he would continue in until June of 2017.
- 2017-2018 From October 2017 to May of 2018, Layton was again “Seaweed J Stubbs” in the resumption of the Hairspray the Musical UK tour.
Opening in December, 2018 and into early January of 2019, Layton played “Paul” in a short production of Kiss Me Kate at Crucible Theatre in Sheffield.
- 2019 On January 28 of 2019, Layton stepped into the title role of Everybody’s Talking About Jamie in the West End succeeding John McCrea, who created the role of Jamie when the show previewed in February 2017, and who had played the part since its opening in the West End in November 2017. Layton continued to star in the role in the West End until January 4, 2020.
- 2020 & beyond – Layton took the starring role of Jamie into 2020 with a new, UK Tour of Everybody’s Talking About Jamie which continued until March 2020 when it was shut down because of the Covid-19 pandemic. As of this writing, the tour is tentatively scheduled to resume at the end of January of 2021 and run through July 2021.
Layton played himself in The Magic of Movie Musicals in September of 2020. He is the director of Pros From The Shows workshops across the UK. Classes involve dance, singing and acting. Pros From The Shows also released a clothing line.
For more information about Layton, visit: