A Washington schoolboy starring in one of the country’s biggest theatre shows has scooped a prestigious award.
Elliot Stiff, ten, from Washington has spent the past year on the road with the first UK tour of Billy Elliot, which tells the tale of a boy who discovers his passion for ballet amidst the backdrop of the Miners’ Strike in East Durham.
The youngster, who shares the role of Billy’s best friend Michael with three other boys, impressed judges at the Manchester Theatre Awards so much that they awarded all four boys the award of Best Newcomer.
Though Elliot was too busy touring with the show to attend the ceremony, one of the biggest theatre awards outside of London, he says he’s delighted with the recognition.
He said: “This is my first award and I feel so proud. I think it’s amazing to be recognised in this way.”
Elliot began rehearsals for the tour in November 2015 before it opened in February last year and went on to play to packed houses at Sunderland Empire, the closest theatre to its setting in Easington.
The schoolboy, who spends three weeks on tour and at week at home attending lessons at Holley Park Academy, said it was extra special to play his home stage.
“I grew up watching pantos and musicals at the Empire, so it felt amazing for my family to be able to watch me there, really mind-blowing,” he said. “My mam, dad and sister have been so supportive of me throughout this and took me to all the Billy auditions.”
The musical, which ended its run in the West End last year, was brought to life by the same award-winning creative team behind the film, which was shot in and around Easington Colliery, including writer Lee Hall, director Stephen Daldry and choreographer Peter Darling.
Elliot said: “I watched the film to get a feel for the character and I went to see the show in the West End, which I loved. Michael is great fun to play because he’s so funny and he really supports Billy.”
Elliot is currently in Birmingham with the Billy tour, but once the run ends he hopes to continue stepping into the spotlight.
He said: “I love TV and film acting and I’d love to be the leading actor in a movie one day, that’s my dream.”