Billy Joe brings Sheffield school together for a top show

Billy Joe Rowan
Billy Joe Rowan
Have your say

MANY young performers would be thrilled with the starring role in their school’s summer play.

But 17-year-old Billy Joe Rowan, a student at Sheffield Park Academy, might find even lead roles don’t keep him busy enough.

The multi-talented teen directed, produced and choreographed an entire variety show to fund his place in a prestigious national theatre group.

Billy Joe, from Manor Park, pulled all the strings to blend songs, dance, drama and comedy in a production starring many of his schoolmates.

Ticket sales from the one-off show, which starred many of his fellow students, raised £1,100 to pay for Billy Joe to take up his place for a National Youth Music Theatre production in Aberdeen .

Students rehearsed for the eclectic production, which ranged from ballet and pop music to scenes from the Wizard of Oz and Little Britain, after school for two months prior to the big night.

“It was very stressful organising it,” said Billy Joe. “The older kids were fine but some of the younger ones just wanted to mess about at first. But it all settled down after a couple of weeks and it all came together really well.”

“I was like a teacher during the rehearsals, bossing everyone about and organising them all! So if this doesn’t work our for me that’s another career for me to consider!”

Billy Joe came up with the idea for the show after earning a place in the National Youth Music Theatre’s production of Nikki and the Gang.

He will travel to Aberdeen to begin rehearsals tomorrow, and will spend two weeks in Scotland, which meant he needed £1,200.

His stage experience includes a two-week stint in Dick Whittington at Sheffield City Hall with the Manor Operatic Society as well as a role as Jitterbug in The Wizard of Oz.

And he hopes to kick-start his promising stage career by studying at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts when he finishes at Sheffield Park in a year’s time.

He said: “I specialise in ballet, tap and drama but I just want to be on stage really. I love it.

“When I played Jitterbug I was alone on stage for a bit and it just felt right.”

Louise Pleasance, performing arts teacher, said: “Billy is a dedicated young man. We are exceptionally proud.”