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 Ranone, the children’s casting director of Billy Elliot the Musical. One of four brothers from Kingston upon Hull in Yorkshire England, 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 flown to New York to play Billy at a charity gala before the likes of Jennifer Lopez, Kate Moss and Donatella Versace.
Post Billy Experiences
Liam would later finish his GCSEs and enter the Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance to complete his dance studies before being hired by Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures dance company where he’s danced in several major roles. In a highlight of his still young dance career, Liam danced the role of the Prince in Bourne’s Swan Lake, the dance at the end of the movie Billy Elliot, the film from which BETM is adapted.
In July of 2014, it was announced that Liam would return to Billy Elliot The Musical for one performance when the show was to be screened live to cinemas on 28-Sep-2014, to play the role of Older Billy.
For more information about Liam, visit: