A Hartlepool youngster who has shone on stage in an international tour of Billy Elliot has been nominated for a Young Performer of the Year award.
At just 12-years-old Lilly Cadwallender has amazed audiences across the country and Europe after starring as Debbie in the hit show.
The dedicated musical theatre star was chosen from thousands of youngsters for the part which saw her tour the UK, Ireland and Germany for 20 months.
Now the High Tunstall pupil has been nominated for a Best of Hartlepool Award by her proud teacher Val Armstrong, who runs Val Armstrong School of Performing Arts.
Lilly’s proud mum Gill Cadwallender said she has travelled to see Lilly at every venue she performed at, with highlights including shows in Dublin, Hamburg and Manchester.
She said: “Lilly is over the moon to have been nominated, it has come as a nice surprise and is a nice way to end her tour. “For the last 20 months she has been on tour with Billy Elliott and it has been amazing. “She is only 12 so it has been a massive achievement.
“She has preformed across the UK, in Ireland and in Germany, after starting off in Plymouth in December 2015.
“So she has been away for nearly two years and just finished off in July.
“She played the part of Debbie, the dance teacher’s daughter in the show and she loved it.
“She didn’t want it to end.”
In the show, the talented youngster was an all-rounder performing ballet and tap routines as well as singing and acting.
Lilly was also used as a ballet dancer reserve to step in for other performers.
As one of three girls chosen to share the part, Lilly has spent nearly two years performing in four shows a week on top of rehearsals and school work.
The dedicated performer received private tuition while away and would travel back to her home in Hartlepool every few weeks to spend a week at her school.
Now back to reality, Lilly hasn’t stopped, and has even competed in the British Song and Dance Championships on coming home where she was chosen as a runner up in the competition held in Blackpool.
Her mum added: “I am so proud of her.
“She has just got on with it and worked her socks off.
“She even completed her dance exams and came away with distinctions, it is unbelievable.”
This year’s awards have been sponsored by Hartlepool and Stockton-on-Tees NHS Clinical Commissioning Group; Hartlepool Sixth Form College and Hart Biologicals, along with Stagecoach North East and Specsavers.
Cleveland College of Art and Design, Hartlepool United FC and Utility Alliance have also come on board as sponsors.
Now we are gearing up to hold the fantastic Young Performer of the Year evening next Monday, October 30, at Hartlepool Sixth Form College.
Those nominated in that category will get to compete in their own big event in front of a live audience.
The top three from the evening of great entertainment will go on to compete at the grand finale of the overall awards.
After the young performers’ night, the judges will meet to draw up a shortlist for all the categories in early November and then comes the grand final, which will be held at Hardwick Hall on Tuesday, November 21.