Gillian Elisa to Succeed Ann Emery in West End's BILLY ELLIOT

Gillian Elisa has been confirmed to play Grandma in the internationally award-winning West End hit Billy Elliot the Musical, having previously alternated in the role. Gillian takes over from Ann Emery who originated the character in 2005 and who recently retired from the role at the age of 84, having worked with all 39 London Billy Elliots.

Gillian Elisa 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."

Gillian Elisa's theatre credits prior to Billy Elliot the Musical have included Fairy Blodwen at the Riverfront Theatre in Newport, The Snow Spider at The Sherman Theatre in Cardiff and Mrs O.T.T. with Jo's Heatwave at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Elisa's television work has included Teulu, Alys, Casualty, A Mind to Kill, Mortimer's Law, Y Pris, Taff Acre, The Magnificent Evans and the role of Sabrina Harries in S4C soap opera Pobol y Cwm. Amongst her film work is Sticky Wickets, Heyday in the Blood, Toili Parcmelyn and Coming Up Roses. Elisa has also released 3 solo music albums: Lawr y Lein, Rhywbeth yn y Glas and Haul ar Nos Hir.

Set in a northern mining town, against the background of the 1984/'85 miners' strike, Billy's journey takes him out of the boxing ring and into a ballet class where he discovers a passion for dance that inspires his family and whole community and changes his life forever.

The adult cast of Billy Elliot the Musical 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.

Brodie Donougher (12 years old from Blackpool), Elliott Hanna (11 years old from Liverpool), Ollie Jochim (12 years old from Chelmsford, Essex), Bradley Perret (12 years old from Juan les Pins, France) and Matteo Zecca (12 years old from Buckinghamshire) alternate the title role of Billy Elliot. Todd Bell (12 years old from Whitehaven, Cumbria), Tomi Fry (12 years old from Swindon) and Zach Atkinson (13 years old from Manchester) play the role of Billy's best friend Michael. Connie Fisher joins Kyria Cooper (11 years old from Hartlepool) and Demi Lee (11 years old from Middlesbrough) to alternate the role of Debbie.

Based on the Academy Award nominated film, Billy Elliot the Musical has been dazzling London's theatergoers at the Victoria Palace Theatre since 2005, and has gone on to captivate audiences around the world, winning over 80 theatre awards globally including 10 Tony Awards and 5 Olivier Awards.

Billy Elliot the Musical has now been seen by over 10 million people worldwide and is brought to life by the multiple 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 production features scenic design by Ian MacNeil, the associate director is Julian Webber, costume design is by Nicky Gillibrand, lighting design by Rick Fisher and sound design by Paul Arditti. Musical supervision and orchestrations are by Martin Koch.

The first Dutch production of Billy Elliot the Musical is currently playing at the AFAS Circustheater in The Hague. Productions have previously been staged on Broadway, in Sydney, Melbourne, Chicago, Toronto and Seoul, South Korea. The North American touring production, which began in 2010, finished its spectacular run in August 2013 with an engagement in São Paulo, Brazil, the first time Billy Elliot played in South America. Further international productions are currently planned.

September 2014 saw a record breaking twenty-five former and current Billy Elliots come together on stage in a specially choreographed mash-up finale for Billy Elliot the Musical Live, a unique performance that was broadcast live to the UK and around the world from the show's West End home becoming the widest ever cinema release of a live event and hitting number one at the UK box office. Billy Elliot the Musical Live is now available on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Download.

Billy Elliot the Musical is presented in London by Universal Stage Productions, Working Title Films and Old Vic Productions in association with Tiger Aspect and is based on the Universal Pictures/Studio Canal film. The show is produced by Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Jon Finn and Sally Greene. Angela Morrison and David Furnish are executive producers.

Photo by Alastair Muir




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