Note: Sam’s Final known Performance as Billy in London was March 29, 2008
Debut: September 3, 2007 (London)
Total Performances as Billy: Unknown (Unreported data from the period he was Billy) (Recorded data: 54 — includes 2 partial shows credited @ .5)
When he auditioned for BETM in October of 2005, Sam had little dance training. He’d been going once a week to Lynne Millar’s Academy of Theatre Arts in Glasgow, taking mainly singing and drama there. He’d also starred in the title role of the Apollo Players production of Oliver Twist at Glasgow’s Theatre Royal, but he didn’t do any dancing in that show. So when it came time to try out for BETM, a show about a boy who dances, Sam had to go up against hundreds of boys at the audition, many of whom undoubtedly had much more dance experience than he did. In fact, he had to borrow his sister Molly’s ballet shoes for the Billy audition.
Here is a video clip which illustrates Sam’s abilities in his pre-BETM days. The format is a talent show in which he performs various skits/musical numbers:
Credit: Video by beatdacy
Luckily for him, the creative team running the BETM audition in Leeds that October day was looking for boys with energy, singing ability, raw talent and a toughness too. Says Sam “”There were hundreds of boys. Most of them had trained in ballet for years so I thought I had no chance. There I was, standing in the queue in my tracksuit without my own ballet shoes. I couldn’t believe it when they invited me back for the second day of auditions.”
A few days later Sam got a phone call telling him he’d been chosen as a potential Billy. If he wanted the role, he needed to become an expert at singing, tap, ballet, jazz, gymnastics and street dance. He went from that once a week class, to spending 15-20 hours per week at the school, covering what most performers take a life time to learn. In late May of 2006, Sam was off to London for an intensive six-week summer school where potential Billy recruits were put through their paces. In October, he was part of a group of five boys who were invited to audition for Director Stephen Daldry, who would make the decision as to which boys would be offered a six month contract to perform in the show at the Victoria Palace Theatre. Sam was chosen and shortly thereafter moved into the Billy House in London where he began his final training leading up to his debut.
His stint as Billy lasted seven months, ending when his voice broke just days before his 14th birthday. During that time, he performed as Billy over 50 times.
Post Billy Activities
Here are some of the highlights of “life after Billy” for Sam:
- Attended Motherwell College studying Acting and Performance.
- In 2011, played the role of Michael in The Magical Adventures of Peter Pan at Glasgow’s Pavilion Theatre.
- On March 6, 2011, Sam demonstrated that he had clearly become a formidable dancer since his pre-Billy days as he performed two numbers at the Variety Club of Scotland’s ‘Young Variety’ show at the King’s Theatre, Glasgow. The first is a tap number danced to Wiseguys’ Ooh La La and the second was Electricity from BETM, which he had performed so many times in the West End.
Credit: Video by Angus Simpson
- Has taught boys dance classes at the G12 Studios in Glasgow.
- On March 14, 2014, helped open a new dance facility at Creative Stage Performing Arts School in Selkirk, Scotland.
For more information about Sam, visit: