Note: Liam’s final performance as Billy in London was November 22, 2006.
Debut: March 31, 2005 (London)
Total Performances as Billy: Unknown (Unreported data from the period he was Billy ) (Recorded data: 122– includes 6 partial shows credited @ .5)
Liam Mower was just 11 years old (D.O.B. = 30-May-1992) when he was literally discovered by Jessica Ronane, the children’s casting director of Billy Elliot the Musical. One of four brothers from Kingston upon Hull in Yorkshire, Liam was at his school in Hull the day Jessica came looking for boys who might be able to play the lead role in this new musical in London. She’d been at it awhile, and would be for quite some time, as she and her colleagues eventually auditioned a staggering 3900 boys between the ages of 10-14 to fill three spots in the cast of the yet to open show — the alternating lead role.
As Jessica tells the story: “I was in this mad little school in Hull with lots of very lovely but mediocre boys but then this extraordinary, incredible kid started doing some amazing dancing. I very emphatically said to his parents that Liam had to come to the auditions,” says Jessica. She went on “His parents were very sceptical but he was a real-life Billy, really. He was this anomaly in his family where his three other brothers loved rugby and he loved dancing. And at the same time as we saw him, the Royal Ballet were hotly pursuing him.”
Liam had been taking classes at The Northern Academy of Performing Arts (NAPA) and he had auditioned for the Royal Ballet School. He was accepted at the RBS and was a boarding student there while the lengthy audition process for BETM continued. Eventually, after winning the role of Billy, he’d go to class at the RBS during the day and rehearse and train for Billy in the late afternoon and evenings.
This routine culminated in his being the first ever Billy to perform the role on stage in front of a paying audience at the first preview of the show on March 31, 2005.
To get an idea of Liam’s talent, in this video clip, he performs the show’s signature song Electricity. Also appearing in the clip are Tim Healy, who plays his dad in the show, and director Stephen Daldry.
Credit: Video by david200110
On February 26, 2006 Liam and the other two boys who shared the distinction of originating the role of Billy — James Lomas and George Maguire — shared the honor of being jointly awarded the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical and, in winning it, they also shared history as it was the first time the Olivier had been awarded jointly. Liam was also the youngest ever to receive an Olivier Award.
Seven months later, on the day of Liam’s last “official” show as Billy, Nigel Reynolds began his story in London’s Daily Telegraph about Liam leaving the show with this sentence: “In the end, the dream proved to be too tough to live.” The story went on to explain how Liam, from a very close knit family, felt the tremendous pressures on him of trying to do well at the Royal Ballet School and, at the same time excel at the Victoria Palace Theatre 2-3 times per week. Eventually, those pressures and the homesickness he felt led him to give up his £28,000-a-year scholarship to the RBS. Liam’s mum, Joanne describes it: “The school did everything it could for him but he wasn’t happy. We got a phone call from him and he was sobbing. He was begging, ‘Come and take me home’.” She went on “They were giving him a much better education than he would get in Hull but it was the right decision because he was so unhappy and so tired. Happiness is the most important thing.”
Credit: Video by LittlEAciD
And now, Liam would also be ending his 19 months of “Being Billy” to return home to Hull to study for his GCSEs. He said ” I am very sad to go, but my voice is changing and I don’t want to go through the experience of struggling to be a 12-year-old boy when I am not any more. I know I’ll be crying again at my goodbye party.” That party came after his official last show on September 30, 2006. He would come back to fill in for a couple of shows over a weekend in November.
Here’s a SkyNews report about Liam leaving the show:
Credit: Video by AccordBETM’s Billy Elliot Channel
During his time as Billy, he got to perform before the Queen, met the Prince of Wales twice, jetted off with the cast for a beach party in the south of France held by Sir Elton and flew to New York to play Billy at a charity gala before the likes of Jennifer Lopez, Kate Moss and Donatella Versace.
Life After Billy
- After BETM, Liam returned home to Archbishop Thurstan School (now Archbishop Sentamu Academy) in Hull and finished his GCSEs.
- In October of 2006, Liam appeared in a minor role in Thoroughly Modern Millie at Hull New Theatre.
- Liam made a brief return to Billy Elliot on 22-Nov-2006, performing in a charity gala for the children’s charity Place2Be. During the show he was joined by both Elton John and the X Factor judging panel who made cameo appearances as the RBS panel.
- In July of 2007, he appeared in an episode of the popular ITV crime series Wire in the Blood as Mikey Adams.
- Liam played the title role character in Pinocchio in Christmas 2007 at The Priestley Theatre in Bradford, Yorkshire and was also on the soundtrack Pinocchio on iTunes.
Liam returned to London in 2008 to study at the Rambert School, graduating with a first-class honors degree in July 2011, at the age of 19. While at Rambert he danced in several productions, among them A Linha Curva by Itzik Galili in 2010.
Upon graduation from Rambert, in 2011 Liam joined Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures as a professional dancer. One of his first appearances with the New Adventure‘s dance company was in November of that year, when he performed as “Cupid” in The Nutcracker.
- Other memorable roles danced by Liam during his career with New Adventures have been: The “Fairy” in Sleeping Beauty: A Gothic Romance (2013); The “Prince” in Swan Lake (2014); the title role in Edward Scissorhands (2015); “Angelo” in The Car Man (2015); “Count Lilac” and “Carabosse/Caradoc” in Sleeping Beauty (2015/16); “Ivan Boleslawsky” in The Red Shoes (2016/17); “The Angel” in Cinderella (2017/18).
Performing in Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake further added to the notion of Liam being a real life Billy Elliot, as the closing scene in the original Billy Elliot film is of Billy as an adult performing in this production. Here’s a brief glimpse of Liam’s appearance as the Prince in Swan Lake:
A few other highlights regarding Liam since his days as Billy Elliot:
- In 2012, he discussed his time working as Billy in as part of a documentary called The Story of Musicals on BBC.
- Also in 2012, Liam was named Dancer of the Month in Dancing Times magazine.
- In September of 2014, Liam returned to the show that started it all for him, filming the role of “Older Billy” at the Victoria Palace Theatre in Billy Elliot The Musical Live! which was screened live to cinemas on 28-Sep-2014.
- In addition to his “live” dance performances, Liam has appeared on camera in films, videos and TV including:
- Matthew Bourne’s Christmas (More4/Leopard Films)
- Imagine — A Beauty is Born, Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty (BBC2 & DVD)
- British Style by Drew McOnie for the Queen’s Coronation Concert at Buckingham Palace (BBC)
- The Deloitte Ignite Festival at the Royal Opera House, dancing the Swan Duet with the Royal Ballet’s Edward Watson
- Sunday Night at the Palladium (ITV)
For more information about Liam, visit:
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