Billy Elliot star gives pupils a masterclass in stage skills

    Layton Williams

    Students and staff at Kent College Pembury welcomed talented dancer and star of TV and stage Layton Williams as a guest tutor during the school’s Enrichment Week earlier this month. He instructed the school’s most advanced dance students in a series of masterclasses then chatted to all year groups about his career, which has seen him go from playing Billy Elliot at the Victoria Palace Theatre and a young Michael Jackson in Thriller Live to starring in BBC dramas Beautiful People and Bad Education.

    He also starred in the Bad Education film alongside comedian Jack Whitehall in 2015. His next role will be in the hit West End musical Rent, which goes on tour later this year.

    Dance is important at Kent College, both as an academic subject and also as an integral element of the school’s Countess of Wessex productions.

    Kent College students regularly continue their dance studies beyond school, with a number of girls gaining scholarships at top dance colleges.

    Layton’s extensive experience in the world of dance was therefore of significant interest to the girls.

    In a Q&A session during the day one pupil asked how he combined studying with dancing, to which he answered:

    “During Billy Elliot we would have tutoring in the morning, then in the afternoon we would rehearse for the show – every single day. I was there for a year doing the show but I made sure that I put my head down and got the school grades.”

    Layton added: “The beauty of a musical is to try and appeal to a wide captive audience. You go to the theatre to be entertained but also end up learning as you watch.”

    The performer currently has four months off. “That’s why I have decided to teach classes in schools, offering something new each time, giving back, meeting amazing people and making a difference.”