A truly touching film, Billy Elliot is about overcoming obstacles and chasing dreams. The 2000 movie takes place during the Coal Miner’s strike in 1984-85. The film inspired Billy Elliot The Musical, a huge hit with productions around the world, including London and Broadway.
I had the chance to visit a few filming locations from Billy Elliot. This was during a trip to England a couple years ago. This included a really interesting and personal visit to Easington Colliery, where much of the filming took place.
To accurately portray a coal miner’s village in the 1980s, the production went to Northern England and the village of Easington Colliery. It was this small village that would host the films cast and crew, as they turned back to clocks to one of the most challenging times in the area’s history.
The movie starts with Billy’s house, which was located at number 5 Alnwick Street. The houses along Alnwick street were demolished in 2003. Because of this, it is unfortunately not possible to see Billy’s house. The house and street stood in what is now a green field directly west of Avon Street.
Even though Alnwick Street no longer exists, but you can get a good idea of what the street looked like. The houses that back onto Argent Street are almost identical.
Crawlaw Street is at the top of where Andrew Street once stood. This street featured a number of scenes, including Mrs. Wilkinson dropping Billy off, and Billy dancing down the street.
Leech Court was a field back when filming occurred, and some of the police riot scenes were filmed here. Billy visited the mobile library in this area as well. The houses seen from the library are along Ashton street.
Tees Transporter Bridge
One of the more poignant scenes took place at the Tees Transporter Bridge, which is south of Durham County in Middlesborough. This is where Mrs. Wilkinson describes the plot of Swan Lake to Billy. The bridge, opened in 1911, is essentially a ferry or gondola, suspended from a large frame.
The Miner’s Welfare Hall was actually not filmed in Easington Colliery. These scenes were filmed at the Hanwell Community Centre in London. The Centre’s gym housed the boxing and ballet schools. Except for a change of paint, the gym has changed very little from when filming occurred.
The story concludes several years in the future, and Mr. Elliot and Tony travel to London. They go to see adult Billy perform the lead in Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake. These scenes were filmed at The Theatre Royal Haymarket. It is located in central London.
I had the chance to meet an actor from the film. Matthew James Thomas played Simon, one of the boys at the Royal Ballet School auditions.
Are you a fan of Billy Elliot The Musical? If so, please check out my page about the hit musical here.
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