SIR Elton John has launched plans to find young boys to star in his musical adaptation of hit movie Billy Elliot.

The ARE YOU READY FOR LOVE star will hold open auditions to find young hopefuls to play the lead role in his new West End, London stage version of the story of a boy from the North East of England, who fights prejudice to become a ballet dancer.

He says, "We're looking for about three or four boys to play Billy. Because of child labour laws you can't have children working on stage every night.

"The difficulty is finding boys who can sing, dance, and speak with a North Eastern accent. They need to be between about 11 and 14. We thought an open audition would be the best way.

"I'm sure we'll find what we're looking for and I've no doubt the show will be amazing. I found the music really easy to write. There is so much inspiration from the era which it is set (mid-eighties), during the miners' strike.

"I related to Billy's character because he struggles against a strong father and I had a similar problem."

Billy was originally played by Jamie Bell, and the film's director STEPHEN DALDRY is returning to direct the musical.

08/01/2004 02:25