Billy is 13 years old, lives in Warwickshire, England, and this boy is talented! Last year, he was selected to represent the entire UK in the World Championships of Performing Arts in California (where he won 4 silver medals!), he was a guest soloist with the Alcester Male Voice Choir (singing in front of 800 people) and he has been accepted at the prestigious Birmingham Ormiston Academy. You can check out his skills yourself by watching videos of selected performances.
Not only does he have talent, but Billy is one busy teenager. A typical weekend includes multiple rehearsals for multiple shows, studying for his final assessments for his BTEC Dance exam, and maybe even a trip to Cardiff (Wales) to see a football match with his dad. Despite his busy schedule, Billy still makes time to give back; he fundraises for the Birmingham Children's Hospital in honor of his brother.
Billy has been acting since he was cast as the "Mock Turtle" in Alice in Wonderland when he was only 7 years old, and I had the pleasure to catch up with him about his experience branching out his talent in the recent MonologueSlam.
Tell me about your experience in acting so far.
BILLY: I have mainly acted in Musical Theatre productions in the Midlands - I have been cast as 'Poor Baby' in Whistle Down The Wind, 'Mr. Mushnik' in Little Shop of Horrors, 'Nathan' in The Full Monty, 'Pugsley' in The Addams Family, 'The Artful Dodger' in Oliver and have also been in Les Miserables. I am also going to be 'Evan Goldman' in 13 soon. I can honestly say that I have enjoyed all of these, but my favourite is Les Miserables.
Given you hadn't performed any monologues before, what made you decide to enter the monologue contest?
BILLY: A couple of my acting friends and my acting teacher told me about it so I did a little bit of research, thought it looked good fun and decided to have a go.
How did you choose the monologue you entered with ("IPad Fury")?
BILLY: I was particularly looking for a funny monologue as I like to make people laugh so me and my Mum searched the internet for quite a long time until we found one which we think would suit me. iPad Fury by Tara was a very funny scenario with a good punch line at the end and it also suited my age and character. It was also very relevant to the age of children being hooked on electronic devices. I thought that an audience would enjoy it.
How did you feel going into the first round?
BILLY: I didn't really know what to expect as I had never performed a monologue before. I didn't even expect to get through the audition as I consider that my main strength is singing and acting in musicals. However, I think that any performing experience is valuable and you can learn lots from many situations.
How did you feel when you found out you made it to the final round?
BILLY: When I heard I had got through to the finals I was really excited about it as it was different to anything else I had done before.
What was the hardest thing about the contest, and how did you get through the challenge?
BILLY: After the surprise of being selected as one of only four under 16s to get through to the finals, I wasn't worried about remembering the words, but when I found out that I was first on stage in the whole competition, I was a bit scared especially when walking on to the stage after being introduced.
What was your favorite part about the MonologueSlam?
BILLY: Obviously I was astounded that I had won as the other contestants were brilliant too, so that was enjoyable, but I really loved listening to the adults doing their monologues, as I said I hadn't really ever heard any. Some were absolutely hilarious!
What was the monologue slam experience like? How did you get on with meeting the other contestants?
BILLY: The whole experience was amazing. It was very well organized from the auditions to the finals show. Everyone was very friendly and supportive of each other. I made new friends and was pleased to talk to someone who is already at the Performing Arts School that I am starting in Birmingham in September. It was very interesting chatting to the adult contestants and asking them about the other work they had been involved in. Some had been in television series that I had watched.
What advice do you have for other kids entering competitions and contests?
BILLY: My advice would to be always try to make sure that you are enjoying your experiences. It is good to take things seriously, be a bit nervous and aim to be the best you can be, but, at the end of the day if you don't enjoy what you are doing then there's no point in doing it. Also, my Mum always tells me that even if the experience turns out to be not as good as you had hoped then it is still valuable, so you need to learn from it and take that with you into your next venture.
I always like to end interviews with a question any of us could answer. So...what's your favorite tv show right now?
Even though I live in England, my favourite TV show at the moment is 'Chicago Fire'. My Dad is a fire-fighter and we watch it together as a family.
Thanks a ton to Billy for his time in answering these questions. I can't wait to hear more about his career in the future! Oh--and be sure to check out Billy's performance of "Ipad Fury" below!