The very popular musical Billy Elliot, which has been in the West-End for many years and is now touring the UK, was met with lots of enthusiasm in February as students of Ringwood School performed the musical and pirouetted into their roles.
Billy Elliot is set in Easington Collery, a North England mining town and the background for the story is the turbulent 1984-1985 mining strike. The performance focuses on a young boy, Billy Elliot whose life is changed forever when he stumbles into a ballet class instead of his weekly boxing lesson.
The sadness that the story portrays with miners on strike, a community in poverty and the lack of compassion between a parent and a child was outstandingly performed by Ringwood School students.
“Having been brought up in the valleys of South Wales, I found the play bitter/sweet, full of humour but tinged with tragedy wonderfully evoked by the pupils in their performance.” Audience member
120 students were involved in the production, with the lead role of Billy Elliot double cast and played by both Ben Hoole and Tom Selby. One of the many highlights in the show was when Billy Elliot flew six feet into the air and across the stage using a professional pulley system.
“To have four year seven boys walk through the school gates in September, and accept leading production roles a week later is not something that has ever happened before. Asking year sevens who were only just acclimatising to a secondary school, to act, dance, sing and fly! was one of our biggest challenges so far.” Ian Hawkins
The six February performances sold out within days of going on sale and were met with five star reviews from audience members.
“It was a stunning production, full of talent, commitment and joie de vivre. Above and beyond a usual school production.” Audience member
“I’d heard from friends whose children have been involved in past shows that it would be good, but nothing prepared me for how good it was.” Audience member
Rehearsals are underway for Ringwood School’s second production of the year, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Scheduled for July 12th – 13th 2017, it will be performed by students from years 7, 8 and 9.