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    Today, 13 June 2011, Billy Elliot the Musical announces the 13 groups that will be given the opportunity to live their very own Billy Elliot dream having been selected to perform an adapted version of the musical at the second Billy Youth Theatre West End Gala which will take place at London’s Victoria Palace Theatre - the home of Billy Elliot - on Sunday 17 July 2011 at 7pm.

    The groups chosen to appear in the 2011 Billy Youth Theatre West End Gala are Act 1 Youth Productions from the Rhondda; Bristol Youth Musical Productions; Fearworks Media Productions from Newcastle; Golden Ratio from Reading; Jago Performers from Worcester; Liverpool Empire Youth Theatre; Northern Academy of Performing Arts from Hull; Shine Youth Music Theatre from Lanarkshire; Stagecoach Newcastle and Sunderland; Stage Productions Staffordshire; STP Musicals from Southampton; Upstagers from Ilkley and Yeovil Youth Theatre.

    The Gala will feature some of this year's most creative young participants who will come together to perform Billy Elliot the Musical, as adapted for Billy Youth Theatre, under the watchful eye of Billy Elliot’s resident creative team. The selected groups will be put through their paces by the team ahead of their debut performance at the Victoria Palace Theatre, a truly unique opportunity that will give the young performers an incredible insight into the workings of a West End theatre.    

    The Gala is the culmination of Billy Youth Theatre 2011 which celebrates the wealth of talent present in schools and youth groups across the country. Groups taking part in BYT have already performed their own productions of Billy Elliot locally and throughout May and June this year four regional theatres - the Poole Lighthouse Theatre, the Sunderland Empire Theatre, the Grand Opera House York and the Milton Keynes Theatre - played host to Billy Youth Theatre regional showcases where participating groups were invited to perform excerpts from their productions. In total, these four showcases featured over 1,000 young performers.

    Billy Youth Theatre is an initiative from the producers of Billy Elliot the Musical providing schools and youth groups around the country with the opportunity to perform their own productions of the internationally award-winning show. Billy Elliot the Musical writer Lee Hall together with Martin Koch, Musical Supervision and Orchestrations, adapted their original script and orchestrations to produce a shortened version of the show exclusively for groups staging local productions as part of Billy Youth Theatre. Since its launch in 2009 over 10,000 young people aged 10-19 have taken part country-wide. 

    Lee Hall, who originally conceived the idea behind Billy Youth Theatre, said: “I was completely overwhelmed by the response to our first Billy Youth Theatre and am thrilled that so many young people around the country have had the opportunity to bring the story of Billy Elliot to life in their local communities.  I am very much looking forward to our second West End Gala in July and pass on my congratulations to everyone who has taken part in this year’s Billy Youth Theatre.”

    As well as the current London production, Billy Elliot the Musical has performed in Sydney, Melbourne, Chicago and Seoul, South Korea, and is currently performing at the Imperial Theatre on Broadway, at the Canon Theatre, Toronto and on tour across North America. Productions are also in the works for Japan, Germany and Holland.

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