The success story
A success story
Following the premiere of BILLY ELLIOT at the 2000 Cannes Film Festival, Elton John approached director Stephen Daldry about the possibility of adapting BILLY ELLIOT for the musical stage.
30th November 2000
Movie release „BILLY ELLIOT – I will dance“ in Germany.
11th May 2005
The first ever performance of BILLY ELLIOT the Musical took place at the Victoria Palace Theatre, London.
26th February 2006
The musical won the Laurence Olivier Award for the Best New Musical, Best Actor in a Musical, Best Theatre Choreographer and the Best Sound Design.
13th November 2007
The first performance of BILLY ELLIOT the Musical outside of the UK took place on 13 November 2007 at the Capitol Theatre, Sydney.
13th November 2008
The first North American performance of BILLY ELLIOT the Musical had its first performance at Broadway’s Imperial Theatre.
BILLY ELLIOT the Musical won 30 of 38 nominations on Broadway, including best musical, best direction of a musical, Hall for book of a musical, and Darling for choreography.
14th August 2010
The first foreign language production of BILLY ELLIOT the Musical was staged in Seoul.
1st February 2011
Debut in Toronto: BILLY ELLIOT is Canadian.
8th January 2012
The Broadway production ended its incredibly successful run after 1,344 performances, and started the North American tour.
28th April 2013
A new Laurence Olivier Award for BILLY ELLIOT: the musical won the Audience Award
18th September 2014
Debut of BILLY ELLIOT the Musical in Oslo.
28th September 2014
Filmed at the Victoria Palace Theatre in London's West End, BILLY ELLIOT was broadcast live to cinemas in several European countries, followed by further worldwide screenings.
30th November 2014
Pia Douwes is playing Mrs. Wilkinson in the Dutch production of BILLY ELLIOT the Musical.
22nd January 2015
BILLY ELLIOT premiered in Denmark at Det Ny Teater in Copenhagen.
28th March 2015
…followed by the Nordea Concert Hall in Tallinn, Estonia,…
5th May 2015
…since BILLY ELLIOT also premiered at Il Sistina in Rome, Italy.
13th February 2016
BILLY ELLIOT premiered in Malmö, Sweden at Malmö opera.
24th February 2016
The first BILLY ELLIOT the Musical UK & Ireland Tour played its first performance at the Theatre Royal Plymouth.
9th April 2016
BILLY ELLIOT celebrates its eleventh year at the London theatre and ends its run. The London show has been seen by over 5.25 million people.
1. Juni 2016
1st June 2016
BILLY ELLIOT premiered in Israel at "City Hall" theater in Tel Aviv.
28th June 2017
First time in Germany! The original English production from London’s West End can be seen exclusively in Hamburg at the Mehr! Theater am Großmarkt.
The historical background
Billy Elliot the Musical plays out amid the turmoil of the 1984 coal miners’ strike in Northern England, one of the darkest times in modern British history. As young Billy studies ballet, the mining town where he lives experiences relentless hardship and despair.
Although one doesn’t need to be familiar with this part of British history to be thoroughly moved, uplifted and inspired by Billy Elliot the Musical, knowledge of the conflict adds an even greater appreciation for the accomplishment of the creative team – the same artists, minus John, responsible for the 2000 film – and why they are so passionate about telling the miners’ story.
More about the historical background:
The NUM had gone on strike, and the British people, for the most part, were on their side. At that time, Britain got most of its energy from coal, and Prime Minister Edward Heath hoped that the public would blame the union for the blackouts and massive disruptions they were regularly experiencing. “Instead, distaste for the government grew,” Hall said.
A general election was held: Heath and his Conservative (or Tory) party were voted out, and the Labour Party was voted in. The NUM flourished. In the aftermath of the Conservatives’ defeat, Nicholas Ridley, a right-wing member of parliament, drew up a plan advising the Tories how to conquer and dismantle the coal industry the next time their party took power. The Ridley Report included a suggestion that the country “train and equip a large, mobile squad of police, ready to employ riot tactics in order to uphold the law against violent picketing.
His ideas were supported by Margaret Thatcher, who became prime minister in 1979. “She wanted to reduce the political influence of trade unions,” says Hall. “Her ideology and economic outlook was based on letting big business look after public needs.”
After winning re-election, Thatcher implemented Ridley’s plan. Coal from abroad was stockpiled, and many power stations were switched over to oil. The National Coal Board announced that 20 mines would be closed.
The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), with 250.000 members, was among the most powerful unions in Britain.
A national strike was declared. “It became confrontational very quickly,” Hall said. “Thatcher sent a lot of London police up north. From the start they were far too aggressive. When things got violent, it became a common occurrence for the police to arrest ‘troublemakers’ in their houses. The streets would be flooded with policemen who would break down doors, and bring out ringleaders of the union who had supposedly committed violence on the picket line. Sure there was violence by the pickets. But there was also violence by the police. It escalated, and there were pit battles, including a very famous one called Orgreave. The police, on horses, with their riot shields, attacked and beat up many miners.” The local policemen were put in a very ambiguous situation, because their livelihoods were dependent on the continued existence of the industry. Unlike in the previous decade, the miners did not have widespread public support. Many members of the media abetted Thatcher by presenting just one side of the story.
About six months in, it became clear that the miners had been hung out to dry by politicians who were supposedly in their camp.” “Because they stockpiled coal, the strike did not have much effect,” Hall said. “After a year, the resources of the state were infinite, and the miners were broke. Very gradually, people started to drift back to work. It became quite clear that the strike was going to be broken, and Thatcher had won.” The government immediately started closing the pits. Thatcher was followed as prime minister by another Conservative, John Major, and by the time he left office in 1997, 80 percent of the coal mining industry had been shut down. Other pits were sold off and privatized. The number of miners had dwindled to about 5000. “A third of our energy still comes from coal, but that coal is imported from Ukraine,” Hall said. “We lost the industry.
”At the end of Billy Elliot, it’s clear that the mining community is on a path to nowhere. But Billy is poised to go in a different direction. His talent and passion lift the spirits, as he heads down a road filled with infinite possibilities.