Note: Ryan’s Final Performance as Billy in London was on September 1, 2012
Debut: April 13, 2011 (London)
Total Performances as Billy: 135.5 (includes 3 partial shows credited @.5 ea)
Ryan Dean Collinson (D.O.B. 20-Aug-1998), became the 26th boy to play Billy Elliot in London and the 55th Billy over all worldwide when he made his debut on the stage of the Victoria Palace Theatre in the West End on April 13, 2011. He’s from the Woodvale section of Southport, England, a city which is north of Liverpool on the country’s northwest coast bordering the Irish Sea.
Ryan, whose home school was Christ the King in Southport before his days as Billy, comes from a free-style dance background. His talent was first recognized when, in June of 2009, he won the Junior section of the Search for a Star competition at Southport Fun Fest. After winning a regional contest in the Pontin’s Freestyle Dance competition in 2010, Ryan competed in Pontin’s National championships. Over 130 contestants were judged on choreography, style, presentation and performance in four age groups and Ryan placed first in the 11-14 age group.
The amazing thing is that unlike some of the boys who have become Billy, before he auditioned for BETM, he had no formal singing or acting training, but had taken two years of gymnastics classes and had taught himself how to street dance.
In an interview in Ryan’s hometown newspaper, The Southport Visiter, Ryan’s mum, Kayla Collinson-Wilson, said Ryan’s interest in dance all started when her son received Billy Elliot on DVD one Christmas. As has been mentioned, Ryan had done very little classical dance training before auditioning for the role. But once he saw that video, he wanted to be just like Billy, so he started dance classes. He auditioned for the West End cast after just eight lessons. After several call backs, he was awarded the part.
Says his mum: “I’m really, really proud him – absolutely made up, he just loves dancing. While acknowledging that Ryan has taken a little ribbing from his mates about his interest in dance, Kayla says ““He’s definitely growing in confidence and his good friends are all really supportive. “
And Ryan adds, referring to the day he was told he would be Billy, “It was the best day of my life and now I am living my dream!”
The Cast Board on Ryan’s Opening Night: April 13, 2011
At the end of August, 2011, Ryan appeared on Britain’s QVC television program. On the show, he performed Electricity, was interviewed about the role of Billy, and then capped it off with a rousing performance, along with the Ballet Girls, of the Finale from BETM. Here’s a video clip from that show:
Credit: Video by DDEB12
Credit: Photo by Paul Fryer
On April 15, 2012, a pre-Olivier Awards event was held in Covent Garden in London to showcase West End shows. At that event, Ryan represented BETM when he danced his street version of Electricity:
Credit: Video by Samar Nasseri
Ryan performed his final show as Billy on September 1, 2012. It was his 135.5th performance in the role (includes 3 partial shows @ .5 each).
Life After Billy
- Upon leaving BETM London in 2012 at the age of 14, Ryan received a full scholarship at Tring Park School from the Performing Arts in Hertfordshire. During his time at Tring Park, he had the opportunity to perform in The Nutcracker with the English National Ballet.
- At 16 years old, Ryan left Tring Park and was awarded a three year scholarship to Urdang Performing Arts Academy in London. While there he participated in many performances involving dance, acting and singing. He graduated at the age of 18 with a three year National Diploma in Performing Arts.
- Between the ages of 18-21, dropping his surname for the stage name of Ryan Dean, he acted in the role of ‘Sasha’ in the Disney series Penny on M.A.R.S filmed in Milan, Italy.
- In between filming episodes of Penny on M.A.R.S., Ryan has appeared in two All Saints music videos.
- More recently, he had a small role in the Warner Brother’s film The Gentleman (directed by Guy Ritchie – to be released in January of 2020).
- In fulfilling a dream he’s had since his teen years, Ryan is presently working to finance his own music production company Dream View Production +, which he has proudly launched.
- Ryan attributes his success to Billy Elliot London and considers it to have been a ‘Privilege’ to have been a Billy.
For More Information on Ryan Collinson, visit: