Note: Scott’s Final Performance as Billy in London was on September 3, 2011
Debut: September 6, 2010 (London)
Total Performances as Billy: Unknown (Unreported data from the period he was Billy) (Recorded data: 92.5 – includes 5 partial shows credited @.5 ea)
Scott McKenzie, who only began dancing at the age of eight, debuted as Billy on Monday, September 6, 2010. The former student of the Knoxland Primary School in Dumbarton, Dunbartonshire, Scotland became the 24th boy to play the role on the Victoria Palace Theatre stage in London’s West End. He was also just the second Scottish Billy (Sam Angell having been the first).
Scott’s audition process began when he impressed judges at a tryout in Newcastle in February of 2009. At that tryout, he was selected from over 400 boys for an individual dance lesson with the show’s London choreographer. A film of that lesson was sent to the Resident Director of Billy Elliot in the UK. Scott was then invited to London at the beginning of May, 2009 for a further audition. From there he took part in a seven-week summer school in London to further hone his dancing and acting skills. Before that, Scott had never even been to London. After learning that he got the part in March of 2010, he moved into the Billy House in London for the duration of his year as Billy.
Mum Jane said: “When he realised he had got through the audition, he was jumping up and down with excitement. It’s a big thing for him. He loves dancing and his dream has always been to dance in the West End.”
That dream began early in Scott’s life. At the age of five, Scott joined UK Theatre School in Glasgow’s West Regent Street. He later began his dance training by taking ballet, modern and tap classes at the Jan Sutherland School of Dance in Alexandria. He also worked with acclaimed dancer David Hughes from Edinburgh’s Traverse Theatre every Sunday, and for a period of time had classes three nights a week with two dancers from the Scottish Ballet.
When he began performing as Billy, Scott was no stranger to the stage having appeared as Oliver in the Apollo Players’ production at the Pavilion Theatre in Glasgow in November of 2008. He has also appeared on TV on The Karen Dunbar Show and got down to the final 300 from over 7000 boys for BBC1’s Oliver search I’d Do Anything.
On March 31, 2010, Scott helped BETM celebrate five years on the Victoria Palace stage, dancing in a special Finale to the show that evening that also featured 18 other past, present and Scott and Aaron Watson who were “Billys-to-be”. Aaron subsequently debuted on June 10, 2010 as the 23rd Billy in London, and Scott later joined him as the 24th boy to play the role.
At the time, his mum said about Scott finally realizing his dreams and portraying Billy a couple of times a week at the Victoria Palace Theatre, “We have had mixed emotions – we’re delighted for him as it’s what he wants to do – but we really miss him when he’s there.” She went on to say, “We always knew he’d be away from home – but I never thought it would be at 13.” But Scott was loving every minute of the experience. He only got to visit home a couple of times a month, but when asked if he got homesick he said, “You’ve got too much to think about to be homesick.”
On May 6, 2011, Scott led the BETMUK cast in an appearance on Britain’s popular ITV Alan Titchmarsh Show in a specially choreographed rendition of the Finale:
Credit: Video by tomchitling
Fast forward to September 3, 2011, as Scott played Billy for the 92.5th (includes 5 partial shows @.5 each) and final time. At this point in his life, Scott’s ambition had been much like the boy he played in the show — Billy Elliot. Like Billy, Scott aspired to go to the Royal Ballet School. And like Billy, he had the talent and the perseverance to make it. But fat that time, he was just very happy that he had had the unique opportunity to be Billy Elliot as he went home and to a new school. There’s no doubt that the dance world hadn’t heard the last of this wee lad from Scotland.
Credit: Photo by Alastair Muir
There’s an old Scottish saying, “Byde weill, betyde weill” which, translated, means “Everything comes to him who waits.” Scott’s long journey to first become Billy and then play the role for a year is now over and, as another Scottish saying goes “He’s weill warth sorrow that coffs it wi his ain siller” Translation: “He deserves all that is coming to him”. May what’s “now coming to him” be a long and very successful career in dance or whatever he chooses to do with the rest of his life.
Life After Billy
- 2012 – Immediately after leaving Billy in September of 2011, Scott joined The Dance School of Scotland for one year. In the summer of 2012, Scott attended the Royal Ballet School (RBS) Summer School Program for two weeks. He was asked to stay full time after the first week’s performance in September 2012. Scott attended the Royal Ballet School for four years beginning in 2012 until 2016.
- 2013 – Scott spent the year at White Lodge (Lower School) of the RBS.
- 2014 to 2016 – Scott spent three years in the Upper School of the RBS in Covent Garden. While at school he performed with the Royal Ballet in their production of Giselle. He also danced at the graduate performance of the Royal Opera House every year, at the Linbury Theatre, and Opera Holland Park while at school.
- 2016 – After Scott graduated in 2016, he was offered professional contracts with Semperoper Dresden, Dutch National Ballet Junior Company, Royal New Zealand Ballet and the Vienna State Opera Ballet (Wiener Staatsballett). He accepted the contract with the Vienna State Opera Ballet and joined the company in September 2016.
- 2017 – Scott was named The Scottish Dance Teachers’ Alliance (SDTA) Ballet Ambassador for 2017/2018.
- 2018/2019 – In 2018, a season filled with solo roles and opportunities at Wiener Staatsballett, Scott was promoted to demi soloist.
- 2020 – Scott’s current contract at Wiener Staatsballett lasts until the end of June. In early April, Scott announced that he would be joining the National Ballet of Canada for the 2020-2021 season.
The video below was produced by Wiener Staatsballett, and Scott is one of the dancers featured. He talks about what dance means to him:
Credit: Video by Wiener Staatsoper
For more information about Scott McKenzie, visit: