West End premiere for major new British musical BILLIE THE KID
by Best of Theatre Staff on Thursday 31 August 2023, 12:34 pm
Seventeen-year-old Billie Belle is a girl used to having the odds stacked against her. Born in a Bible Belt town to a delinquent mother, Billie spent her childhood saving discount-store coupons and working night shifts to keep the lights on in her grandma’s tiny trailer. Through it all, Billie has had one person by her side: her childhood sweetheart, Brody Benson. Brody’s a redneck with a heart of gold and they have spent years planning their future together, all pinned on Billie’s hopes for a full-ride scholarship to Charleston City College. But their plans are thrown into chaos when Billie discovers Brody has been trading dirty DMs with David Francis – the school queer punk rocker.
Torn between the pain of this betrayal and her love for her boyfriend, Billie reaches out to David and his gang of misfits. While Billie has put all her energy into thriving within the system, they’ve gone the other way, determined to be wild and joyful outsiders with no fear of offending! Inspired by and united with her new friends, Billie finds herself at the heart of a new kind of love story, one where her happily ever after is with herself in her fight for justice and equality; and the chance to ride out into the sunset on her terms.
This new British musical with music and lyrics by Gez Mercer, book by Conway McDermott and Gez Mercer, directed by Kerry Kyriacos Michael, is being semi-staged in front of a live audience for the first time.
For two nights only, come and experience the birth of a new British musical unlike anything else you may have seen or heard.Cast and additional creative team to be announced.
Music and Lyrics by Gez Mercer
Book by Conway McDermott and Gez Mercer
Directed by Kerry Kyriacos Michael
Writer and Composer Gez Mercer
Writer and Composer Gez Mercer is a self-taught musician, dancer and natural-born punk. Born in Liverpool, Gez studied Theatre & Performance at the University of Leeds, before joining award winning dance collective Fat Blokes Dance Company, led by performance artist Scottee and choreographer Lea Anderson MBE, touring in their national sell out show, Fat Blokes.
Billie the Kid is his third full length musical, and his songwriting ability has netted him the Cameron Macintosh Award for Musical Theatre in 2014, West End producer’s Twitter Composer Award in 2013. Gez was a finalist in the Stiles and Drew Prize 2018, as well as being a shortlisted candidate for the Mercury Musical’s Cameron Mackintosh resident composer.
Writer Conway McDermott
Writer Conway McDermott is a trans non-binary writer from Liverpool, with a passion for juicy, accessible stories which ask big questions through the lens of a broke-ass queerdo. ‘Billie the Kid’ was the first project they worked on for stage, and their career as a writer has grown alongside it. They’re currently writing for BBC’s ‘EastEnders’, and are Playwright in Residence at Box of Tricks Theatre. They are a winner of the Sky Studios 2021 Screen/Play Award, and have had work commissioned by The Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse, Popelei Theatre Company, and the Liverpool Light Night Festival, as well as working as an artist and performer with FACT, the Liverpool Biennale, Creative Europe, and a handful of other organizations across the UK and Europe.
Director Kerry Kyriacos Michael
Director Kerry Kyriacos Michael was Artistic Director & Chief Executive of Theatre Royal Stratford East from September 2004 to September 2017. For 13 years, he forged the Theatre’s commitment to develop new work & provide a platform for voices under-represented. He won two Olivier awards, seven nominations, two What’s on Stage Awards, and the UK Best Touring Theatre Award. In March 2018, Kerry won Artistic Director of The Year at the OFF WEST END Awards; and awarded the Freedom of the City of London. In the 2018 Queen’s Birthday Honours List, he was made an MBE for services to the Arts. Kerry’s theatre directing credits include new plays, musicals, and operas, including John Adam’s I Was Looking At The Ceiling & Then I Saw The Sky (co-production with Barbican Centre, London), The Harder They Come (transferred to the West End & tours of Canada and USA), Ray Davies’ Come Dancing (Winner What’s On Stage Best New Musical) and a new production of The Who’s Tommy - embedding creative BSL, Captioning and Audio Description, produced by Ramps On The Moon. (Winner UK Theatre Awards Best Touring Production 16/17). In June 2022 he became the creative director Theatro Technis @ 26 Crowndale, the home of Theatro Technis.