Acting experts shine spotlight on Teesside to find next Billy Elliot

First published in News

THE SEARCH for the next Billy Elliot will be on when a local film actor and a major casting agent hold their first workshop on Teesside to find a new child star.

Daniel John Williams from Stockton who performed alongside footballer-turned Hollywood leading man, Vinnie Jones, in the movie Redirected, is joining forces with Carol Godby, who has almost 20 years in the television industry, to tap into a potential hotbed of fledgling talent.

After catapulting the careers of youngsters including Nikki Sanderson and Sam Aston on Coronation Street and Ralf Little and Natalie Casey who went on to star together on Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps, Ms Godby will be scouting in the Tees Valley on Sunday, September 14.

The workshops at a venue still to be decided will be for seven to 12-year-olds and 12 to 19-year-olds and open to hopefuls with or without previous acting experience.

Mr Williams said the aim was to hold regular workshops over six months with Ms Godby deciding at the end who she will sign to her Manchester and London-based talent agency’s Teesside books.

"At the moment, Teesside is not on the map where people would consider coming to scout for talent and we want to change that,” said Mr Williams who is a friend of Billingham-born, Jamie Bell, who

shot to fame as a 14-year-old after playing Billy Elliot in the hit film about a boy who struggles to become a dancer against a backdrop of the 1980’s miners’ strike.

Mr Williams scouted for children to play the iconic part in its touring musical version.

“We have all these theatres and drama groups here and that’s great but what about the next step? We need to bring these opportunities to Teesside,” he said.

“I want to inspire people to give it a go,” added Mr Williams who also stars alongside Middlesbrough-born actor, Bill Fellows in the short-film, Lost Girl, written and directed by Laura Degnan and filmed in Danby on the North York Moors.

“Some of the best actors have not been professionally trained. Some just have raw talent that you cannot teach. Someone will get snapped up from Teesside, I’m passionate about that.”

Anyone wanting to take part in the launch workshop should register by Wednesday, August 20, by emailing danieljohn.williams@yahoo.com or calling him on 07855-505551.

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