Theatre News

Gillian Elisa takes over from Ann Emery as Grandma in Billy Elliot

Emery originated the role and worked with all 39 Billys

Gillian Elisa (Grandma) in Billy Elliot the Musical
Gillian Elisa (Grandma) in Billy Elliot
© Alastair Muir

Gillian Elisa has taken over as Grandma in Billy Elliot – The Musical from Ann Emery, who has played the role since the show opened.

Elisa, who previously understudied the role, said: "I first joined the cast in 2011 and have loved every moment working on this special show. It’s a real privilege to take this iconic role on full time. I am so proud to be part of this amazing company."

Emery, 84, originated the character at the Victoria Palace Theatre in 2005 and worked with all 39 London Billys. She told WhatsOnStage in 2011: "I would love to do it forever, quite honestly."

She took a break from the role to appear in Betty Blue Eyes in 2011.

Billy Elliot – The Musical has now been seen by over ten million people worldwide and is brought to life by the award-winning creative team behind the film including writer Lee Hall (book and lyrics), director Stephen Daldry, and choreographer Peter Darling, joined by Elton John who composed the show's score.

The current cast is led by Ruthie Henshall as Billy's dance teacher Mrs Wilkinson, Deka Walmsley as Dad, Chris Grahamson as Tony and Gillian Elisa as Grandma, joined by Claudia Bradley, Howard Crossley, Barnaby Meredith and David Muscat.