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Matt Ward Entertainment has secured the rights to tell the story of child prodigy Billy Elliot in a limited season at the Star Gold Coast from July 1st 2023 –attracting over 15,000 visitors and creating more than 100 jobs for the local arts industry.
One of the most heart-warming, coming-of-age stories – yes, Billy Elliot – is being brought to life on a local  stage. Theatre production heavyweight Matt Ward Entertainment has chosen the Gold Coast for the Queensland premiere of the award-winning musical.
With a production value set to exceed $2m, producer Matt Ward will transcend his theatre credits to create more than 100 jobs across cast and crew including 23 on-stage roles for children, in his biggest musical to date.
Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate said: “Billy Elliot is one of those stories that never leaves a dry eye, and I have no doubt Matt Ward will again produce something very special with this musical.”
“Growing our arts and cultural events calendar is a priority for our city and we are thrilled to support the Queensland premiere of Billy Elliot through Major Events Gold Coast.”
“Matt Ward Entertainment has done an incredible job over the past decade to develop top-class theatre that draws visitors to the Gold Coast, and we are proud to invest in homegrown productions like this one.”
The much-loved stage show features a stunning musical score entirely written by the legendary Elton John, and is set during the 1984-85 coal miner’s strike in a Northern England town.
It tells the story of a working class kid Billy Elliot’s discovery of his love of dance and ballet and his battle to pursue his passion against the pressure to conform to his circumstances.
Mr Ward said: “Pursuing my passion to produce has not always been easy. Reflecting on recent years, there have been many moments I could have thrown in the towel. But nurturing talent, creating art and once in a lifetime memories for my audience will always motivate me to accelerate our musical repertoire.”
It underscores a powerful message that the producer says is also part of ‘Billy Elliot’: Namely, “accept yourself and never give up your dreams.”
The Gold Coast version will cast three actors aged between 12 and 13 years in the lead role of Billy Elliot during auditions across Australia. Mr Ward said exceptional ballet technique, outstanding tap and acrobatic abilities will be welcomed in national auditions this month.
“The role of Billy Elliot will be exhilarating but challenging. We need a ‘triple threat’ – a boy who sings, acts and dances – to connect with the audience.”
“Everybody remembers star Hugh Jackman’s incredible singing, dancing and acting performances. We are searching for a young Hugh Jackman to be our Billy.”
Mr Ward said: “Billy Elliot is a universal story that will resonate with everyone’s inner child. We all battle inner dialogue, self doubt and external pressures to live our best lives and achieve our wildest dreams”.
“Whether you want to be a musician, makeup artist, dancer – if you dare to dream it, you can do it. Don’t listen to what anyone else says, and that’s part of the message of this musical: You can do it”.