For Westport teenager Stanley Reedy, performing in the Auckland Theatre Company's production of Billy Elliot was just the start of his acting career.

The 14-year-old is back at home after spending the past three months in Auckland rehearsing and performing the role of Michael - Billy's flamboyant friend.

Since landing the role, Stanley has hired an agent, and completed done a couple of movie auditions.

"It's definitely something that I want to do as a career," he said.


His mother, Debbie Coleman, who travelled with him to Auckland for Billy Elliot, said the agent was constantly on the lookout for parts Stanley might be interested in.

Casting directors chose actors to audition based on what they looked like, so it was often a matter of waiting until the right part came along, she said.

"We're in no hurry, because he's only 14, but if something did come along and he wanted to do it, that'd be fantastic."

Stanley agreed. "Being in this business, it's actually quite hard to get into things, it's almost like a waiting game."

During that time all he could do was fine-tune his performance skills and be ready, he said.

"It's like preparing for a sports game before you play in the final match."

Coleman said auditions for movie parts often involved doing self takes with a video camera, then sending that through to the casting director.

"They give you the script and then you have to actually produce the character."

One of the movies Stanley auditioned for recently was for a London-based production company and the other was based in Detroit in the United States.

Stanley said self takes were quite challenging to get right, but were also a fun new experience, as was performing in Billy Elliot.

Playing the role of Michael (the all-important comic relief) was incredible, and still seemed unreal, he said.

"It almost takes you a while to look back and go, 'oh my gosh that really happened'."

Although he was technically at work, the whole experience was "just a lot of fun".

"I feel like the show went very well, the reporters [critics] that came, they liked it."

It was hard to pick a favourite moment of the performances, he said. However, the feeling he got when he made the audience laugh was right up there.

"When you hear people laughing it encourages you and you just know that you've done your job."

Coleman said Stanley landed the much-desired opening night performance in early October. It was a red carpet affair that attracted lots of celebrities. "Most of the family came up for it."

They all had an amazing time soaking up the red-carpet atmosphere and to top it off, got some of the best seats in the house to watch the show from, she said.

After the final show on December 10, there were lots of teary goodbyes. The cast and crew had become like one big family, she said. She and Stanley had made friends for life.

- Westport News