So close! Grantham boy’s West End dream almost came true

Jake McDonald-Pike.
Jake McDonald-Pike.
Have your say

An 11-year-old whose dream is to star as Billy Elliot in the West End beat thousands of other hopefuls to secure an audition for the role.

Jake McDonald-Pike who lives on Springfield Road, Grantham, first featured in the Journal five years ago demonstrating his dancing skills and revealing his ambition to play the part of the young ballet star.

Now Jake has followed that dream all the way to an audition in front of one of the show’s casting directors, as one of 19 boys selected to audition in Bristol last Saturday, April 26, out of thousands who applied for the part.

Although Jake did not progress past this audition stage, he made the most of the opportunity and is undeterred in his pursuit of the role.

Explaining the audition process, Jake said: “We were given a routine to learn and I found it pretty hard. We had to have a freestyle moment and some of the other people could do lots of flips. But it was a good experience.”

His mother Liz said: “I couldn’t be prouder of him. Words just fail me how proud I really am, because he has gone for the part he has always dreamed of and he was chosen from thousands. I am just proud that he went and didn’t give up.”

Jake’s dad Dave Pike who is theatre technician at the Guildhall accompanied him to the audition and said: “I think he did really well as the competition was hard. He is still looking at going into the theatre and he knows that it was a good experience.”

Ever since he started dancing and making up shows at home from the age of two, Jake has been preparing for a musical theatre career by learning modern, tap and ballet at Dance Pointe and having regular singing lessons with teacher Sonya Mahoney.

His fits all this in alongside his studies at Isaac Newton Primary School where he is head boy.

Meanwhile Jake is no stranger to the stage having starred in four of the local Polka Dot Pantomimes, and most recently he fittingly played the part of little Jake in the Harrowby Singers’ production of Annie Get Your Gun at the Guildhall.

Moreover the audition was not the first time he has taken on the role of Billy Elliot, having performed the musical’s title song ‘Electricity’ as part of the Harrowby Singers’ Westenders show last year.

Jake is now planning to continue with his dance and singing lessons in preparation for future auditions, as well as getting ready to start at King’s School where he has been offered a place for September.