The Gala will feature some of this year's most creative young participants who will come together to perform the show, adapted for Billy Youth Theatre, under the watchful eye of the hit show's resident creative team. The selected groups will be put through their paces by the team ahead of their debut performance at the Victoria Palace Theatre, a truly unique opportunity that will give the young performers an incredible insight into the workings of a West End theatre.
The Gala is the culmination of Billy Youth Theatre 2011 which celebrates the wealth of talent present in schools and youth groups across the country. Groups taking part in BYT have already performed their own productions of Billy Elliot locally and throughout May and June this year four regional theatres - the Poole Lighthouse Theatre, the Sunderland Empire Theatre, the Grand Opera House York and the Milton Keynes Theatre - played host to Billy Youth Theatre regional showcases where participating groups were invited to perform excerpts from their productions. In total, these four showcases featured over 1,000 young performers.
Liverpool’s Billy Youth Theatre was very different to youth theatre projects the young people had participated in before, as it was organised very much in the style of a professional touring company, with call sheets and rigid rehearsal schedules. The Company only gained access to the Empire stage in the few days ahead of the performance, just as a touring cast would.
The young people involved gained invaluable experience from the project, their delighted posts on the Billy Youth Theatre Facebook page after their final performance are testament to this, as are the great reviews published and letters written to the local press. Their initial Liverpool Empire performance led to them being selected to perform at a regional showcase at the Grand Opera House, York, in May and now after an impressive performance there, the West End beckons!
Natalie Flynn, Head of Education and Community at the Liverpool Empire said: “Some of the strongest themes in Billy Elliott are the sense of community, pulling together through hardships and spirited people striving for the best whatever their background – qualities which could all be used to describe Liverpool people. I think the young people taking part in the show were able to relate to many of the issues Billy Elliott the Musical explores, which helped them enjoy the experience even more.”
Billy Youth Theatre is an initiative from the producers of Billy Elliot the Musical providing schools and youth groups around the country with the opportunity to perform their own productions of the internationally award-winning show. The writer of the show - Lee Hall together with Martin Koch, Musical Supervision and Orchestrations, adapted their original script and orchestrations to produce a shortened version of the show exclusively for groups staging local productions as part of Billy Youth Theatre. Since its launch in 2009 over 10,000 young people aged 10-19 have taken part country-wide.