The Themes of BILLY ELLIOT
The theme of BILLY ELLIOT is unique in that it is about so many things to so many people. I guarantee that no matter who you are or where your current walk of life is, you will connect to at least one theme on a personal level. The story has many relatable circumstances that might even leave you a bit nostalgic. What do I mean by that? Well, first there’s the fact that Billy is being raised in a single parent home. There’s also the challenges Billy endures (combating stereotypes, lack of support, fear) as he holds on to his belief that his dream will come true. Even though I only gave two examples, many people will be able to relate to Billy early on. This story is not about shame or feeling sorry for Billy- but the opposite. It’s a story about hope, community and about finding inspiration in any circumstance you’re in.
The other day I listened to a speaker give a TED talk presentation. He said something that was very interesting to me which was, “Normally when people tell you something is “unbelievable”, they are talking about their own lack of imagination and not the likelihood that an event can occur.” I remembered this as I’ve been thinking more about Billy and how he is able to stay passionate about his dream- but also how he encourages a new mindset in others. BILLY ELLIOT challenges audiences to analyze how they live their lives in terms of whether or not they allow themselves to be hindered by what others believe they can achieve.
To sum it up best, Lee Hall states “If BILLY ELLIOT is about one thing, it is that we are all capable of making lives for ourselves which are full of joy and self-expression. Whilst we might not all become ballet dancers, we are capable of finding moments of real profundity and creativity whatever our circumstances.”
In addition to the theme of perseverance, the backdrop of the coal miner’s strike gives a hand to one other very important message within the piece: the betterment of the next generation. In the musical, it is evident that a way of life is dying, despite the efforts to preserve it. For Billy, we see a community come together to instill new possibilities for the future.
After the show, you should ask someone you know (or hey, someone you don’t know) what they felt was the most prominent theme of the show. I bet you won’t have the same answer- but you will take away some interesting views.
Hall,Lee.Adaptation-BillyElliotTheMusical. BillyElliotTheMusicalOfficialLondonSite.BillyLondonLimited,2011. Web. 20 July 2015.
Cronin, A. J. The Stars Look Down. New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1935. Print.
Material in this blog gathered by BILLY ELLIOT dramaturg Colby Frederick.