Ballet and Modern Dance Information Resource
JULIE WALTERS (Mrs. Wilkinson) has been described as a "living national treasure," justly rewarded when she received an OBE in September 1999. She is one of the few actors who is just as natural or funny off-screen as she is on. Whether it is her appearance as Mrs. Overall, the shambling old woman in Acorn Antiques on Victoria Wood: Seen on Television, or as Rita in Willy Russell's film Educating Rita, for which she won a BAFTA, a Golden Globe, a Variety Club Award and an Oscar® nomination, Walters' characters make us laugh; all are ultimately familiar, in one way or another.
Walters did not, however, begin her career as an actress. At age 19, to please her mother, she trained to be a nurse at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham When her desire to act became overwhelming, Walters left home to study drama at Manchester Poly. She later joined the Liverpool Everyman in 1974, where she first worked with writer Alan Bleasdale. Her career took off when she starred with Richard Beckinsale in the Everyman production of Mike Stott's Funny Peculiar, which transferred to the West End for 16 months.
Walters has starred in: Terry Jones' Personal Services, which earned her a BAFTA nomination; Stephen Frears' Prick Up Your Ears; Lewis Gilbert's Stepping Out with Liza Minnelli (BAFTA nomination, Best Supporting Actress); Nancy Meckler's Sister My Sister; Intimate Relations with Rupert Graves; and Roger Michell's Titanic Town.
West End theatre credits include Sam Shepard's Fool For Love (0livier nomination for Best Actress); Sharman McDonald's When I was a Girl I Used to Scream and Shout; Terrence McNally's Frankie and Johnny in the Claire de Lune; and Tennessee Williams' The Rose Tattoo directed by Peter Hall.
Television roles include: Alan Bleasdale's Boys from the Black Stuff (BAFTA nomination Best Television Actress); GBH; Jake's Progress; Alan Bennett's Intensive Care, Talking Heads and Say Something Funny (BAFTA nomination Best Actress); and Victoria Wood's Pat and Margaret and Julie Walters and Friends which included Victoria Wood, Alan Bleasdale, Alan Bennett and Willy Russell (BAFTA nomination Best Light Entertainment Program).
JAMIE BELL (Billy Elliot) makes his professional debut in the leading role of Billy. Bell is a hot young newcomer whose own story ironically parallels that of his character. He began his dancing career at the age of six and was discovered after a search of over 2,000 children. Now, at the age of 13, he has built a reputation as a talent to watch - but only outside his hometown of Billingham, because like his character Billy, he has successfully hidden his dancing talents from all his classmates.
JAMIE DRAVEN (Tony) has been touted as a talent to watch. Having started his career with two high-profile projects for ITV including Butterfly Collectors and The Bill. His first feature film was Everybody Loves Sunshine.
GARY LEWIS (Dad) won international recognition as Shanks in Ken Loach's My Name is Joe and he won the Best Actor Award at the Gijon Film Festival for his portrayal of Thomas in Orphans. Other film credits include The Match and Gregory's Two Girls. Aside from film, he has had an exciting theatre career, which has allowed him to perform at major venues all over the country.
JEAN HEYWOOD's (Grandmother) revered stage and television career will render her a familiar face to all through her many notable appearances in productions including A Very Peculiar Practice, the long-running favorite All Creatures Great and Small, Our Friends in the North and Boys From The Black Stuff.
STUART WELLS (Michael), just 17, makes his debut performance in Billy Elliot. After being discovered while rollerblading in Skate City, he was asked to audition for the role of Michael. His natural ability to perform and his professionalism whilst acting are only some of his talents; he is a gifted artist, a genius at drawing, and he has a love of outdoor activities.
Michael W. Phelan: email@example.com
Last modified: Wednesday, October 11, 2000 7:17 AM