New Billy Elliot leaving the garage

Richmond and Twickenham Times: Tom Holland's potential was spotted while he performed at the Richmond Dance Festival Tom Holland's potential was spotted while he performed at the Richmond Dance Festival

The story of a working class boy who preferred ballet to boxing has endeared itself to thousands of theatregoers since Jamie Bell made the role of Billy Elliot famous in the 2000 film.

Now, a 12-year-old Wimbledon schoolboy has been chosen to take up the mantle in the West End after two years of hard work which started with him taking ballet lessons in his garage.

Tom Holland will join Billy Elliot the Musical from September 8 and attends Lynne Paige’s Nifty Feet Dance School in Wimbledon, where he takes hip hop classes on Saturdays.

Tom, a pupil at Donhead Wimbledon College Preparatory School, will rotate performances with four other Billy’s and said he was thrilled at landing the role.

“I was so excited to be cast as Billy,” he said. “My mum and dad joke about who I take after. I’ve seen them both dance and I have to say, there must have been a mix up at the hospital!”

Tom’s potential was spotted when he performed with his dance school as part of the Richmond Dance Festival. As a result, Ms Paige, who also trained Jamie Bell for the film, decided to put him forward for the West End auditions.

She said: “At his audition, Stephen Daldry, director of Billy Elliot the Musical and the film, thought Tom had great potential and was a very natural actor.

“After two years of training and a lot of hard work, I am delighted that Tom will make his debut at the Victoria Palace Theatre.”

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