Harry Sills takes to stage as Billy Elliot
For Harry Sills it all started with marshmallows.
The 11-year-old Remuera resident is set to play Billy in the upcoming Auckland Theatre Company performance of Billy Elliot the Musical. The performance will be the first production at the new ASB Waterfront Theatre in Wynyard Quarter - a 668-seat purpose built venue that will be the new home of the Auckland Theatre Company.
Harry says he was originally drawn to ballet as as a 3-year-old when his sisters’ dancing classes gave out marshmallows at the end. ’’So I started and really enjoyed it but then we stopped getting the marshmallows but I liked it so much that I just kept going.’’
One of the things he likes about ballet is the fact it’s not something typical boys are interested in. ’’They would mostly do rugby ... it’s just a really cool way to express yourself which is what it’s basically about in the story, Billy likes to do dancing because he expresses himself through dance.’’
Originally a film released in 2000, Billy Elliot the Musical follows the story of a boy in northern England who discovers ballet despite the harsh circumstances surrounding him. Playing the role with a northern English ‘‘Geordie’’ accent, Harry says a major challenge is simultaneously playing the character while dancing.
‘‘I have to get very emotional and he gets really angry in a few scenes and he dances and he’s screaming through his dancing … obviously I wouldn’t do that when I’m doing ballet. But in many ways Billy is not too dissimilar from himself, Harry says. ’’He kind of doesn’t want to tell too many people that he does ballet, that’s the same with me.’’
Performance director Colin work. And something with a huge cast so lots of people could be in the show and we could really activate the theatre.’’ Rehearsals have been ‘‘madness’’ due to multiple actors playing characters such as Billy, he says.
Visit asbbillyelliot.co.nz for more information.
Harry Sills plays Billy Elliot in the upcoming musical at the new ASB Theatre.