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Naoimh Morgan is an Irish actress and dancer. She played Rumpleteazer in both the 2018 International Tour and the 2019 Cats movie.

Cats Credits[]

UK/Intl Tour - 01/2018 - 05/2018 - Rumpleteazer (cover Demeter)

UK/Intl Tour - 08/2018 - 10/2018 - Rumpleteazer (cover Demeter)

Cats Movie 2019 - Rumpleteazer

Biography (2019)[]

Naoimh graduated from Laine Theatre Arts and was a member of the ensemble in Mary Poppins, West Side Story, and Cinderella. She was also a featured singer/dancer in Broadway to the Bay, P&O Australia Cruises, Sleeping Beauty, Flying at 40, and Miranda Sings! Naoimh played Rumpleteazer in the 2018 leg of the UK/International Tour and reprised the role in the 2019 Cats movie.

Interviews[]

December 2019

Interview with Irishnews.com:[1]

Newry dancer Naoimh Morgan on starring as Rumpleteazer in new Cats movie

NEWRY-born Naoimh Morgan is dancing like the cat that got the cream after landing her "dream role" – and first film part – as Rumpleteazer in the big-screen version of the musical, Cats, which opened in a flurry of excitement at the weekend.

The Laine Theatre Arts-trained performer had been approached to audition for the chorus when she caught the eye of a casting director and was quickly promoted to one of the main roles in Tom Hooper's highly anticipated screen adaptation of what, for a long time, was considered an "unfilmable" musical.

She joins an all-star cast including film heavyweights Dame Judi Dench, Sir Ian McKellen, Ray Winstone, Rebel Wilson, James Corden and Taylor Swift – with whom the star-struck 26-year-old spent a day filming a scene alongside co-actor Danny Collins, who plays her all-dancing cat burglar-in-crime, Mungojerry.

And while early reviews suggest Cats the movie may not have quite reached the dizzying heights of Hooper's successful celluloid interpretation of Les Miserables – innovative use of CGI (Computer Generated Imagery) and 'digital fur technology' have been criticised in some quarters – the film offers a completely "new cinematic experience" according to the local dancer.

"In the theatre, with costumes and make-up, it's still very evident that the cats are humans underneath, so the movie takes this same principle and just modernises it," says Naoimh. "I think Tom Hooper has created something genuinely artistic; it's a movie unlike anything anyone has ever seen before. I think if people just appreciate it for what it is – the artistry of it – it will be really well received. Cats is a brand new world and I think that's what makes it so beautiful."

Rumpleteazer is certainly a cat whose personality traits are familiar to the talented Co Down performer, who played the cheeky feline on stage in China for a year.

But, while still exuding boundless energy and mischief, movie bosses wanted Naoimh to go "darker" with her sprightly stage kitten which, along with Mungojerry, sets out to execute chaos in the whimiscal story based on TS Eliot's Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats – the inspiration for the original Andrew Lloyd Webber musical.

"From playing Rumpleteazer on stage, I had a good idea of who she was," Naoimh says, "but then they said, 'We're going to try a different approach; we're going to make it a little darker'. It was a challenge for me to change the character that I knew so well, but I think it gives another juicy layer and offers more depth as an actor. I love the new Rumpleteazer who has become more masculine and has a stronger approach than her stage counterpart."

Taught to dance from the age of three by her mum, Newry dancer, teacher and award-winning choreographer Ann Marie Morgan, Naoimh cut her teeth performing and winning awards in numerous local and national shows and competitions, before training at the famous Laines performing arts college in Surrey, England.

Among her first professional jobs was a West Side Story performance at Kilworth House Theatre in Leicestershire and working as a singer and dancer with P&O ferries. The next step up was landing a 'swing' role with a touring Mary Poppins show – a massive undertaking which necessitated learning the roles of 10 different characters and perfecting them all in the event of a cast member suddenly becoming ill and being unable to perform.

Such levels of discipline and hard work, though, helped prepare her for life on the Cats movie set where the days were long and the work schedule often unrelenting.

"I think we spent six months in entirety on the whole film, including rehearsals, and it was the most exhausting but rewarding experience of my life," she says. "At times, we were up at 4am and didn't get to bed until midnight. Sometimes, I felt I was actually turning into Rumpleteazer, especially after playing her for a year in China.

"She has definitely been my favourite stage musical job, but 'Rumple' is so hard to play – physically, it is such a strenuous part and your stamina level has to be so high, so to get through an entire show, eight times a week, is quite a big achievement! Then, coming home from China and landing this movie – well, I don't think it gets much better, really."

The exacting work of the dancers did not go unnoticed or unappreciated by the big stars, either, with Sir Ian McKellen (Gus, the Theatre Cat) commenting that he and Dame Judi (Old Deuteronomy) enjoyed just sitting down on many long days of filming and watching the young dancers perform.

"They worked very long hours and never complained and were always good, whether they were tap dancing or doing classical or hip hop," he said in a recent interview with other cast members.

Although Naoimh and co-worker Danny (Mungojerry) didn't always have the opportunity to mix with stars such as McKellen and Dame Judi, they did spend an entire day shooting a scene with Taylor Swift (Bombalurina) which Naoimh describes as "out of this world".

"I did get chatting to the big stars, but we – Mungojerry and me – kind of have our own separate world in the film," she explains. "We are on our own sort of journey. We mingle sometimes with the main cast, but I'd say, we're kept quite separate, so it felt that way on set as well.

"On the days we did mingle with the stars, it was such an honour. On one occasion, Danny and I spent the day filming with Taylor Swift and I found her to be the most humble, down-to-earth girl you could ever meet. You anticipate what these big stars could be like, but they all surpassed my expectations and were all so supportive of and complimentary towards the dancers. You are maybe star-struck for the first 10 minutes or so and then you just realise that they're just real people there to do a job like you."

It has been a whirlwind few weeks for the rising star, who after walking the red carpet at the New York premiere last week, attended a gala evening at the Curzon Theatre in London's Mayfair with the rest of the Cats cast last Thursday, before flying home to Newry at the weekend for another, home-coming 'premiere', this time organised by proud family and friends.

"The celebrations have been absolutely incredible," she says. "We worked so hard and then there were nine months of nothing before, finally, all the celebrations caught up with us at once. It has been pretty overwhelming and feels like a bit of blur. I really have been blown away by Cats the movie and I really hope it opens doors for more work in films.

"I love the theatre, it's where I come from, but I loved working for the camera too; it felt right for me. It was always my ambition to break into the film world, but I never, ever expected it to happen so quickly and with such a big movie too. I'm excited to see where it can go."


April 2019

Interview with The Stage:[2]

Naoimh Morgan: 'Acting in the Cats movie is a dream come true

Musical theatre actor Naoimh Morgan has landed her first film role in a screen adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats. Morgan tells Giverny Masso how she initially auditioned for the chorus before being offered one of the lead parts…

How did you get into the Cats movie?
The last musical theatre show I did was the international tour of Cats (with David Ian Productions), which was the same role I’m playing now. After that, I said to my agent: “I’m going to take a couple of weeks off.” Then I got a message saying: “We have an audition for Cats the movie.” It was a dream come true and I auditioned for the chorus. The casting directors said: “We have our eyes on you, we think you’d be suitable for one of the named roles.” I tried to keep calm and said: “That’s fine.” I did another workshop and in a matter of days I was cast as Rumpleteazer, after being initially asked to audition for the chorus.

How did it feel to get the role?
I was so emotional, it felt like everything escalated, there wasn’t time to think. My heart was beating so fast and I couldn’t wait to tell all my family members. It’s my first film role – it’s always been my dream. This has been my biggest achievement yet.

Did you play the role differently in the film compared to on stage?
From playing Rumpleteazer on stage, I had a good idea of who she was. In the audition room I sang it one way and they said: “We’re going to try a different approach and make it a little darker.” They didn’t want that youthful, spritely kitten. The role is to corrupt the other cat Victoria into our ways. It’s not like in theatre where you get away with being chirpy. So she’s a lot darker but still lovely and cheeky. It was a challenge for me to change her character.

What do you like about the film adaptation?
There are so many different elements to it, what Tom (Hooper, director) has done is so clever. A story has been developed where there wasn’t much of one before, centred around Victoria the White Cat. Andy Blankenbuehler, the choreographer, has done something new. Gillian Lynne’s choreography is fantastic and iconic, but Andy has put a new spin on it. We’re so blessed to have a talented cast from many different backgrounds, from (dance duo) Les Twins to people from Poldark and contemporary dance. All of those elements are brought to life in this movie, it will blow people’s minds.

How did you get into theatre?
My mum was a dancer and she taught me everything. She was my dance teacher and she got me into it aged three. I studied at Laine Theatre Arts and my first job was West Side Story at Kilworth House Theatre, it was such a huge dance role and it was a dream show.

What do you want to do next?
I will push for more screen roles. This movie will open doors for me. I could never fully leave musical theatre though, because that’s where I come from. I’m inspired by actors such as Rachel McAdams and Kate Winslet, they can do so many different styles. I’d love to be a leading actress who has loads of different qualities.

CV Naoimh Morgan

Training: BA in musical theatre at Laine Theatre Arts in Epsom (2011-14)
First professional role: Singer and dancer with P&O Cruises (2014)
Agent: John Rogerson at Soundcheck Agency

Gallery[]

UK/International Tour 2018[]

Rumpleteazer
Promotional

Performance

Backstage

Demeter (cover)

Rehearsal

CATS Movie 2019[]

Onstage

Backstage

Video[]

References[]

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