Harry Sills takes to stage as Billy El­liot

Central Leader - - MILESTONES - HUGH COLLINS

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.

SUPPLIED

Harry Sills plays Billy El­liot in the up­com­ing mu­si­cal at the new ASB The­atre.

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