The wonder of Billy

Kevin Wathen
Kevin Wathen

He developed his theatrical skills in front of audiences in north Northumberland, having been part of the local amateur dramatics scene.

Now, former Alnwick lad Kevin Wathen has landed a part in an award-winning show in London’s West End.

The 33-year-old has signed a year’s contract to perform in Billy Elliot the Musical at Victoria Palace Theatre.

Former Duchess’s Community High School pupil Kevin is playing the role of Billy’s brother, Tony.

And his stint in the long-running musical, which has been seen in London by more than four million people since opening in the capital in 2005, began earlier this week.

“It is great to be part of this. I’m looking forward to it,” said Kevin, who lives in London.

“Theatre-wise, this is the biggest show that I have been involved in.

“Billy’s brother is a good, meaty part too. The show is quite a physical one.”

Billy Elliot marks a return to the stage for Kevin, following a period away from acting, having turned his attention to music and his band The Franks.

Last year, the group released its first online single, Lies, having been discovered in 2009 by a music manager at a rehearsal studio in Kings Cross.

Kevin admits ‘things are going in the right direction’ for The Franks – a gritty pop soul trio – but he says he is pleased to be gracing the stage once more.

“It is really nice to be back in the theatre, performing in front of a live audience again.”

Billy Elliot is the latest addition to Kevin’s CV.

His London theatre credits include Breakfast with Johnny Wilkinson at the Menier Chocolate Factory, Hamlet for the Old Vic and Skellig at the Young Vic.

He has also done a spot of television work, including parts on The Bill and Judge John Deed.

But it all started from humble beginnings.

As a youngster, he was part of the north Northumberland amateur dramatics scene and performed on the Alnwick Playhouse stage many times.

While he has gone on to develop his performing career, he hasn’t forgotten the early days.

“Performing in north Northumberland developed my early passion. It was quite instrumental actually and Alnwick Playhouse is a wonderful little venue,” he said.