Billy Japan: Playing Now / by Rob Halliday

Billy Elliot opened in Japan on Tuesday 25th July, to a tremendous reception for what is a really fantastic production of the show.

Rob worked as the Associate Lighting Designer and Lighting Programmer on the show, carrying out all of the pre-production design and planning work, then working with Lighting Designer Rick Fisher in Tokyo to get the show up-and-running. This is the fifth version of Billy Rob has worked on, having also been involved with the last US tour, the London production, the Dutch production and the UK tour, which recently ended a hugely successful year with a short season in Hamburg.

The Japanese production used a rig evolved from that designed for the UK tour, which replaced all of the traditional Source Four-plus-scroller colour changers with ETC Source Four Series2 Lustr LED fixtures. The Japanese production took another step into the world of LED lighting, with Martin Mac Auras replacing the previous Vari-Lite VL2000 Wash fixtures.

Rob and Rick were supported in Japan by a fantastic lighting team (Oshima-sam, Yuta, Katsu, Miwa, Anarin, Mari, Eiji and Takayama-san), a wonderful stage manager (Toku-san), a great production manager (Kanai-san), the wonderful producing team at HoriPro, and a brilliant translator, the wonderful Sonoko.

Billy Elliot plays at the ACT Theatre in Akasaka, Tokyo, until October before transferring to Osaka for a short season there.