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Search is on for stage Billy Elliots

Story by Jack Foley

PROSPECTIVE Billy Elliots are being sought to appear in the West End version of the critically-acclaimed film.

Stephen Daldry, the director of the movie, who is also set to adapt a musical version for the stage, is searching for three boys to follow in the footsteps of film star, Jamie Bell.

In an interview with BBC Breakfast, he announced that he was seeking ‘exceptional children’ to appear in the show, which is due to open in the Autumn, and feature a musical score from Sir Elton John.

Auditions have already been held, in January, but further have been planned at venues in London, Glasgow and Nottingham, as Daldry bids to get the casting absolutely right.

Hence, the ideal candidate will need to demonstrate excellent tap, ballet and contemporary dance skills, as well as exceptional singing ability, and a talent for gymnastics.

Daldry maintained that the demands of the stage version are even more acute than they were for the film.

Three actors are needed at the same time, because one child could not be made to perform in eight shows a week, he added.

And successful applicants will be replaced after six months, anyway, which means that the audition process will go on and on.

The show, which marks the latest movie to stage transition (following in the footsteps of When Harry Met Sally, in February, and the upcoming The Producers), has been made possible, thanks to the enthusiastic support of Sir Elton , who fell in love with the film after seeing an early screening.

According to Daldry: "He came to see one of the early showings of the film and his response was so strong, he really came up with the suggestion 'is there anything we can do on stage?'"

The film version has become one of the most successful British flicks of recent years, since its release in 2000, and won three Baftas, as well as being nominated for three Oscars. It has also made the career of its child star, Bell, who has since appeared in Nicholas Nickleby and Deathwatch on the big screen.

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