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Digital Subscriptions > Attitude > 259 > LAYTON WILLIAMS

LAYTON WILLIAMS

WITH AN IMPRESSIVE REPERTOIRE ALREADY UNDER HIS BELT, WE SIT DOWN WITH WEST END STAR LAYTON WILLIAMS TO DISCUSS HAIRSPRAY THE MUSICAL, THE BAD EDUCATION MOVIE AND BOYS, NATURALLY.

NICEST KID IN TOWN

Photography: Leon Csernohlavek

An interview with Layton Williams is not like a normal interview. It’s so much more fun than that. The 20-year-old rising star might be casually reclined in a baggy jumper in Attitude HQ, but within two minutes it already feels like we could be having a catch up over drinks in Soho — which is actually where he’s heading next, to have an emergency meeting with his mates regarding a recent episode of boy drama. He’s only just got back to London after a day spent with anti-bullying charity Ditch the Label, and a the group summit is urgently required. By the time we’ve finished discussing an upcoming boys trip to Ibiza, what he made of the last episode of Channel 4’s Cucumber and the finer points of Freddie Fox, I remember I actually have some questions to ask.

And aren’t there plenty: Plucked from school in Manchester aged just 11 to train at the Billy Elliot Academy after responding to a newspaper advert on a whim, Layton went on to fulfil every aspiring theatre fan’s childhood dream as the West End musical’s longest-serving young lead. “Honestly, they said ‘if you can’t do anything just pretend’. So I pretended that I could do ballet, I pretended that I could do tap, and I just gave them… I don’t even know what!” he giggles. “But they must have seen something in me to want to train me up for it. It literally took them two years to get me on stage.” It’s clear that ‘something’ Layton has is the kind of playful charisma and self-assurance that treads that compelling line between cheekiness and cockiness, it was that magnetism that took him straight from Billy into his first TV role on BBC Two’s uplifting and comedy series Beautiful People in 2008, about two fey little boys growing up in 90s Reading who dream of a life with the ‘beautiful people’ of the big city. And just like his starry-eyed character Kylie, that’s exactly what Layton did — trading in school for the bright lights of the capital, where he’s divided his time since training at the famed Italia Conti Academy (where alumni include Naomi Campbell, Russell Brand, and err, Claire Sweeney) with stints on CBBC’s School for Stars and of course Jack Whitehall’s smash hit BBC Three comedy Bad Education, in his scene-stealing role as camp-as-tits student Stephen.

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About Attitude

This very special edition of Attitude is our biggest ever. It marks our first annual Pride Awards, which were created to champion the unsung heroes of the LGBT community; all of our 11 recipients grace the cover, and their extraordinary stories are told inside. They will all be honoured at an event in London, hosted by Alan Cumming, on 26 June. This issue also marks Attitude’s 21st birthday, and inside we feature 21 ordinary 21 year olds from the LGBT community who speak about what matters to them as they come of age in Britain in 2015. The issue also includes interviews with Roisin Murphy, Little Mix, Mary Lambert, Aston Merrygold, Kavana, Collabro, actor Layton Williams, and director Bill Condon; as well as features on the rebranding of Switchboard, and a look back at Queen’s iconic Live Aid performance 30 years on. All this, plus our regular fashion spreads, columnists, real life features, travel and fitness.
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