1 January 1986 |
Armagh, Northern Ireland, UK
|Education||Integrated College Dungannon
Belfast Institute for Further and Higher Education
Colin Morgan (born 1 January 1986) is a Northern Irish film, television and theatre actor best known for playing the title character in the BBC TV series Merlin. He made his West End theatre acting debut in 2007 as Vernon Little in DBC Pierre's Vernon God Little, followed by his role as Esteban in Pedro Almodóvar's Todo sobre mi madre (All About My Mother). Since then, he has been in the London theatre productions Thomas Babe's A Prayer for My Daughter (2008), Pedro Miguel Rozo's Our Private Life (2011), Step in Time at The Old Vic 24 Hour Musicals Celebrity Gala (2012), Shakespeare's The Tempest (2013), and Jez Butterworth's Mojo (2013–14). His first main part on television was as the title character in the BBC TV series Merlin (2008–12). He is a recent addition to the second season of award-winning Northern Ireland television crime drama The Fall (2014) as Tom Anderson. His film roles include Parked (2010) and Island (2011). His current film projects Testament of Youth and Legend are scheduled for release in 2015.
For his performance in Merlin, he has received the Outstanding Newcomer award from Variety Club Showbiz Awards (2008), nominations for Outstanding Actor (Drama) in the Monte Carlo TV Festival Awards (2009, 2010, 2011), the Best Actor award in Virgin Media TV Awards (2012), and the prestigious Best Actor in Drama Performance: Male award in National Television Award (2013). He also won Best Featured Actor in a New Production of a Play as Ariel in the Sheakespeare play, The Tempest, in Broadway World West End Awards (2013). On October 2013, he was in the number one spot in BuzzFeed's "The 17 Rising British Actors Most Likely To Do A Cumberbatch". And on April 2014, The Daily Edge included him in their list of "8 young Irish actors who could be on the brink of global stardom".
- 1 Early life and education
- 2 Career
- 3 Personal life
- 4 Charity and social action
- 5 Exhibitions
- 6 Works
- 7 Awards
- 8 References
- 9 External links
Early life and education
Morgan was born in Armagh, Northern Ireland, the son of a painter and a nurse. He is the youngest of two brothers and was raised as a Roman Catholic during "The Troubles", a period of political, ethnic, and sectarian violence where the threat of bombings and shootings had become a normal part of growing up. Despite limited opportunities due to the turmoil surrounding him, his natural acting ability and ambition was evident from an early age -- he was only five years old when he made his acting debut, appearing in the chorus in a production of Cinderella and then Peter Pan, then going on to participate in various local amateur stage productions during his childhood.
Morgan was inspired to become a professional actor. From the age of eleven, he studied in Integrated College Dungannon from 1997 until 2002, winning the 'Denis Rooney Associates Cup' for best overall student in Year 10. The school described him as a keen musician and budding actor, as he starred in several college productions including the renowned Surgical Sensations at St Senapods and Bad Day at Black Frog Creek. Morgan's drama teacher at the college, James McCoy, said this about him, "His potential to become a successful actor was evident from a young age here at ICD. He participated wholeheartedly in every Drama class, concert and production that the college was showcasing. He loved Drama and he was a pleasure to teach." On 27 October 2002, at the age of 16, Morgan (among 100 other young contestants) auditioned at Belfast's Waterfront Hall for the You're A Star RTÉ One programme which was in search for star quality performers. The winner was to receive a record contract and also to represent Ireland at the Eurovision Song Contest. He didn't make it but was quoted as saying, "I was turned down but it's not the end of the world. I'm going to try and make it on stage one day." Determined, he went on to study in Belfast, and for two years, he commuted to and from his house for an hour and twenty minutes each way every day because it was the closest place that had a college that offered drama as a subject. There, he was awarded a National Diploma in Performing Arts from the Belfast Institute of Further and Higher Education in 2004. After leaving Northern Ireland, he attended the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow, where he graduated in 2007. In the final year of his under-graduate course, he was discovered by theatre director Rufus Norris and had to leave three-quarters of the way through to make his professional London West End theatre debut as the title character of Vernon God Little, a role that was assessed for his final grade.
On stage in 2007, while still in drama school, Morgan made a sensational professional stage debut in the West End as Vernon Little, the title role of the Young Vic's adaptation of DBC Pierre's Vernon God Little. As Vernon, a troubled Texan teenager on the run from cops, The Telegraph said that he "captures all the vulnerability, confusion and gallows humour of the adolescent hero who finds himself in no end of trouble... By the end you feel like cheering him on to a happy ending," while The Stage said this about his perfomance, "Full of restless energy and youthful charisma from start to finish, Morgan is an absolute delight and carries the weight of the production on his shoulders with ease and a certain swagger, in what is his major stage debut." In the same year, he played the role of Esteban, an aspiring teenage writer, in the Old Vic stage adaptation of Pedro Almodóvar's Todo sobre mi madre (All About My Mother) opposite Dame Diana Rigg, Lesley Manville, and Mark Gatiss.
Morgan appeared in the 2008 Young Vic production of Thomas Babe's A Prayer for My Daughter as Jimmy Rosario, a young Latino junkie being interrogated in a New York Police station. For this role, in which he had a nude scene during a tense part of the interrogation, The Independent said that his portrayal of "the waif-like and wasted Jimmy, whose twisting, twitching mood-swings and mix of half-druggy cackling punk and half-angelic visionary [was] brought to life," while Variety also gave him excellent reviews for his "remarkable level of twitchy intensity".
In 2011, he performed in the Royal Court Theatre production of Colombian dramaturg Pedro Miguel Rozo's play Our Private Life as Carlos, a gay, unhappy "bipolar compulsive fantasist," who thinks he may have been molested by his father as a child. On 9 December 2012, Morgan performed in Step in Time at The Old Vic 24 Hour Musicals Celebrity Gala in aid of The Old Vic Trust as Gary, a flamboyant dance instructor trying to win the heart of one of his students.
He played the nimble and fey spirit Ariel opposite Roger Allam's Prospero in the 2013 Globe Theatre production of Shakespeare's The Tempest, which was later broadcast to cinemas as a part of Globe On Screen in May 2014, getting good reviews, and with a subsequent DVD release in July 2014. For this role, he gave his portrayal of Ariel a unique and memorable take, as he combined the pale, ethereal stillness with acrobatic precision that he learned from parkour trainer, Chris Rowat. In the same year, he took on the role of Skinny with an ensemble cast including Brendan Coyle, Ben Whishaw, Rupert Grint and Daniel Mays in Jez Butterworth's dark comedy Mojo, set during the fledgling rock 'n' roll scene of 50s Soho, and performed in the Harold Pinter Theatre. Mojo received good reviews and the London production was extended for two weeks, finishing on 8 February 2014. Radio Times described his performance as "an accomplished study in human weakness as Skinny, his eventual fate played with precision and pathos" and in his final scene, Morgan impressed viewers and critics alike. The Daily Express's Simon Edge said that Morgan "does one of the best death scenes [he's] ever seen," possibly setting a new precedent in on-stage death scenes.
In television, Morgan is best known for playing the title role in BBC TV series Merlin from 2008 to 2012 with a support cast including Bradley James, Katie McGrath, Angel Coulby, Richard Wilson, John Hurt, Anthony Head, and Nathaniel Parker. Merlin, a young warlock who was Arthur's servant and Gaius' ward, must secretly develop his magical gifts under the gaze of kings Uther and Arthur, both of whom despise the art. The show was loosely based on the Arthurian legends of the young wizard Merlin and his relationship with King Arthur but differs from traditional versions. It was broadcast on BBC One from 20 September 2008 to 24 December 2012 with 65 episodes. The series was also popular worldwide, broadcast in 183 countries. For this role, Morgan won multiple awards and nominations, including a Best Actor in Drama Performance: Male award in National Television Award in 2013 at the conclusion of the series.
Morgan also featured in three minor TV roles: as embarrassed gay son John Leary in sketches on The Catherine Tate Show (2007), as conflicted emo space boy Jethro Cane in the Doctor Who episode "Midnight" (2008), and as ambitious journalist Jimmy Minor in 1950s Irish Crime Drama Quirke episode "Elegy for April" (2014), based on the books by John Banville (written under the pseudonym Benjamin Black).
He, and co-star Bradley James, travelled on an exploration of Arthurian legends for BBC Wales, The Real Merlin & Arthur, in 2009. In the same year, he and the rest of the cast also did a behind the scenes special for Merlin called Merlin: Secrets and Magic on BBC.
On April 2014, it was announced that he will take on the role of Tom Anderson, a Detective Sergeant, joining Gillian Anderson and Jamie Dornan as one of the lead characters in the second series of award-winning BBC Two and RTÉ One drama serial The Fall.
In film, Morgan portrayed the role of the homeless, drug-addict Cathal O'Regan opposite Colm Meaney in the 2010 independent Irish film Parked, where he employed method acting as he spent a good few weeks in Dublin in various locations to research about drug addiction and homelessness before starting the film, took up smoking for a month, and used a local Dublin accent. The film has received multiple awards in various Film Festivals around the world, and his performance has been well-praised. In 2011, Morgan appeared in the film Island, an independent film adaptation of Jane Rogers' novel Island, as the slow, almost childlike (but with violent tendencies) Calum, using a Scottish accent for the role.
Morgan's current film projects include a portrayal of Victor Richardson, a school friend of Vera Brittain's brother Edward, in a BBC Films and Heyday Films feature adaptation of her first World War I memoir Testament of Youth. Victor was a member of the Officers' Training Corps at Uppingham School and was intending to study medicine at Emmanuel College Cambridge when the Great War broke out. Instead he volunteered for service, joining the 4th Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment as a Lieutenant before getting attached to the 9th King's Royal Rifle Corps where he fought at the Battle of Arras in France on 9th April 1917. Additionally, Morgan will feature as Frankie Shea, the brother-in-law of Tom Hardy's Reggie Kray, in the 1960s London gangster film Legend based on the book "The Profession of Violence: The Rise and Fall of the Kray Twins" by John Pearson. Both films are scheduled for release in 2015 although there’s some talk of Testament of Youth having a special gala at the BFI London Film Festival in October 2014.
For the 100th anniversary of the Titanic's sinking in the North Atlantic on 14 April 2012, Morgan performed readings from survivor's accounts and testimonials during Titanic: A Commemoration in Music and Film, broadcast live on BBC2 from Belfast's Waterfront Hall.
Morgan prefers not to discuss his personal life, saying:
If I could change anything about the entertainment industry it would be the 'celebrity culture.' Something has been lost somewhere along the way with the craft of story-telling and I agree with Paul Newman when he said something along the lines of "people don't shoot movies now, they shoot schedules, they shoot budgets." There are of course exceptions but when the creativity is overshadowed by 'the business', I often feel disappointed by that. We have some amazing film makers who are keeping the spirit of the craft alive and that's a hub of excitement I want to be in.
The few definite things that is known about him is that, being a vegetarian because of his allergies and lactose intolerance, he can cook. He loves farmers' markets as well as Thai food. And he said, "I’m very interested in where food comes from. I think a lot of the health problems people face now are as a result of what they are eating. And I don’t just mean junk food. I’m talking about eating food where you don’t know where it has come from." His other great passion is the natural world, and he is always hungry for new experiences. He considers Sir David Attenborough, who is the face and voice of natural history programmes, as his hero. The conservation and protection of the natural world is very important to him, especially seeing animals in their natural habitats. He is into yoga, and says, "Yoga is phenomenal. I like the breathing, and the focus that it brings. But I can be quite energetic if I’m doing a play. You will often find me running along the corridors to let off steam." He is also into Anime, escapism, and rollercoasters. His favourite animated film is Hayao Miyazaki's Howl's Moving Castle. Additionally, he is an avid reader, known to research a lot about his acting roles by reading as much as possible. His favourite books are those by Terry Pratchett, Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Yann Martel's Life Of Pi and the Bone comic book series. He is also a big fan of directors Tim Burton and Sam Mendes, as well as the band Death Cab for Cutie.
Morgan is an accomplished Bodhrán (Irish drum) player, a strong swimmer, and has a BAF 1 Star Stage Combat Certificate. He also has a great ear for accents. Apart from his native Northern Irish one, he can do RP English, Scottish, Dublin Irish, London Cockney, and American English. The biggest telltale sign of this talent is when he used RP English for five years in Merlin, and during his acceptance speech for Best Drama Performance: Actor in the 2013 National Television Awards, he caused bewildered spectators who had no idea he was from Northern Ireland to trend "Merlin is Irish" on Twitter.
Since October 2009, Morgan has been an official ambassador for the A Night Less Ordinary scheme by which Arts Council England, in association with Metro, offers free theatre tickets to anyone under 26 years old. In 2010, he contributed several signed pictures to the 2010 Wamcare (Worldwide Association for ME/CFS Awareness and Research) charity auction, whose profits are destined for top quality biomedical research, including a large share to the Whittemore Peterson Institute and ME Research UK. He also donated his signature to StarCards (both individually and together with Bradley James) to support the 2010 Christmas auction, the funds to be donated to the Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity. Additionally, he contributed a painting from the Merlin: Colin and Bradley Quest series to the 2010 BBC Children in Need official auction. It was sold for £620.00.
In 9 April 2011, Morgan collected funds for the Great Ormond Street Hospital during the autograph signing session at the Kapow Comic Con Merlin panel, in London. In 2012, he contributed a doodled and signed cotton handkerchief for the Celebrity Hanky Doodle Auction for the Silent Auction charity which benefit Godolphin and Latymer School. He was also a part of The 24 Hour Musicals at the Old Vic Theatre, a glamorous, adrenaline-fuelled event that brought together more than 30 celebrated actors, directors, writers and composers to create four short musicals in just 24 hours. Everyone gathered the evening prior to prepare for an exhilarating, collaborative process, culminating in four world premieres presented to an audience of more than 1000. The evening raised a remarkable £182,000.00 towards the work that they do with emerging talent, schools and the community.
"Merlin: The Dragon Tower" at Warwick Castle
In 2011, Morgan was immortalised as the wax sculpture of his iconic character Merlin. At Warwick Castle, an attraction has been created entitled Merlin: The Dragon Tower, in which visitors are, "transported to the heart of Camelot to discover the secrets that are hidden deep inside the Tower before your ultimate encounter with the Great Dragon himself." People can meet Merlin (from the BBC TV Series Merlin) himself – or at least a true-to-life wax model, which was created with over 300 measurements and a catalogue of reference shots of Colin Morgan himself.
Upon seeing his wax work, Morgan said: "Little did I think that when I visited Madame Tussauds as a kid that I would have the honour of having the same fantastic team making a wax figure of myself. It’s truly amazing and I can’t praise their hard work enough in creating such a brilliant life-like me."
|2007||Vernon God Little||Vernon Little||Young Vic Theatre|
|2007||All About My Mother||Esteban||Old Vic Theatre|
|2008||Prayer for My Daughter, AA Prayer for My Daughter||Jimmy Rosario||Young Vic Theatre|
|2011||Our Private Life||Carlos||Royal Court Theatre|
|2012||The Twenty Four Musicals Celebrity Gala||Gary||Old Vic Theatre|
|2013||The Tempest||Ariel||Shakespeare's Globe|
|2013–14||Mojo||Skinny||Harold Pinter Theatre|
|2007||Catherine Tate Show, TheThe Catherine Tate Show||John Leary||Episode: "Christmas Special"|
|2008||Doctor Who||Jethro Cane||Series 4, Episode 10: "Midnight"|
|2008–12||Merlin||Merlin||Series 1-5: 65 Episodes (Main Role)|
|2009||Merlin: Secrets and Magic||Himself||TV Documentary: 14 Episodes|
|2009||The Real Merlin and Arthur||Himself||TV Documentary co-starring Bradley James|
|2014||Quirke||Jimmy Minor||Episode 3: "Elegy for April"|
|2014||The Fall||Tom Anderson||Post Production|
|2015||Testament of Youth||Victor Richardson||Post Production|
|2009||Cry Babies||Roger||BBC Radio 4|
|2012||Titanic: A Commemoration in Music and Film||Documentary|
|2012||Merlin: The Game||Merlin||Voice|
|Jack and the Beanstalk||Archie||RSAMD|
|Caucasian Chalk Circle, TheThe Caucasian Chalk Circle||Singer||RSAMD|
|Tempest, TheThe Tempest||Ferdinand||RSAMD|
|Last Supper||Young Man/Chorus||RSAMD|
|God the Game Show||Stewart||RSAMD|
|Bite of the Night||First Youth/Chorus||RSAMD|
|2008||Whatsonstage.com Theatregoers' Choice Awards||The DEWYNTERS London Newcomer of the Year||Vernon Little in Vernon God Little, Esteban in All About My Mother||Nominated|
|2008||Variety Club Showbiz Awards||Outstanding Newcomer||Merlin in Merlin||Won|
|2009||Seoul International Drama Awards||Best Actor||Nominated|
|2009||Monte Carlo TV Festival awards||Outstanding Actor (Drama)||Nominated|
|2010||Monte Carlo TV Festival awards||Outstanding Actor (Drama)||Nominated|
|2011||Monte Carlo TV Festival awards||Outstanding Actor (Drama)||Nominated|
|2011||TV Quick Awards||Best Actor||Nominated|
|2012||TV Quick Awards||Best Actor||Nominated|
|2012||Virgin Media TV Awards||Best Actor||Won|
|2013||SFX Awards||Best Actor||Won|
|2013||National Television Award||Drama Performance: Male||Won|
|2013||Broadway World West End Awards||Best Featured Actor in a New Production of a Play||Ariel in The Tempest||Won|
- BuzzFeed. "The 17 Rising British Actors Most Likely To Do A Cumberbatch". Retrieved 3 October 2013.
- DailyEdge.ie. "8 young Irish actors who could be on the brink of global stardom". Retrieved 5 April 2014.
- BBC. "Merlin: a new 13-part drama series on BBC One". Retrieved 1 September 2008.
- Alison Jane Reid. "Merlin's Colin Morgan – The Year of The Thoughtful, Intelligent Geek". Retrieved 9 March 2012.
- Integrated College Dungannon. "Integrated College Dungannon - Latest News". Retrieved 29 January 2013.
- Northern Ireland Council for Integrated Education. "Integrated Education: Spring 2013". Retrieved 30 January 2013.
- TV.com. "TV.com: Colin Morgan". Retrieved 16 July 2014.
- whatsonstage.com. "20 Questions With … Colin Morgan". Retrieved 2 January 2009.
- BMC. "Students make it at 'The Met'". Retrieved 28 November 2010.
- The Telegraph. "Black comedy is top of the class". Retrieved 9 May 2007.
- The Stage. "Reviews: Vernon God Little". Retrieved 9 May 2007.
- The Independent. "A Prayer for my daughter, Young Vic, London". Retrieved 11 February 2008.
- Variety. "Review: ‘A Prayer for My Daughter’". Retrieved 20 February 2008.
- Royal Court Theatre. "Our Private Life". Retrieved 15 March 2011.
- "Old Vic 24-hour-musicals". Retrieved 9 December 2012.
- "Players-Shakespeare.com". Retrieved 1 Jul 2014.
- "Broadway World". Retrieved 15 May 2014.
- "Shakespeare's Globe". Retrieved 1 July 2014.
- London Evening Standard. "The Tempest Review". Retrieved 3 May 2013.
- "Mojo at Harold Pinter Theatre". Retrieved 9 September 2013.
- Harold Pinter Theatre. "Mojo the Play". Retrieved 13 November 2013.
- Official London Theatre. "Star laden Mojo extends". Retrieved 30 November 2013.
- Radio Times. "Harry Potter star Rupert Grint makes his stage debut in crime drama Mojo". Retrieved 14 November 2013.
- The Daily Express. "Mojo at the Harold Pinter Theatre Review". Retrieved 14 November 2013.
- BBC (bbc.co.uk). "Merlin series 5 is the last". Retrieved 26 November 2012.
- National Television Awards. "Winners". Retrieved 23 January 2013.
- "Digital Spy News". Retrieved 19 September 2009.
- "IMDB: Colin Morgan Filmography". Retrieved 18 July 2014.
- "Mirror Online". Retrieved 10 April 2014.
- Culture NorthernIreland.org. "Colin Morgan Parks Up In Belfast". Retrieved 15 November 2011.
- Ripple World. "Parked". Retrieved 11 March 2010.
- IFFMH. "Main Award at Mannheim-Heidelberg Film Festival". Retrieved 25 November 2011.
- Alison Jane Reid. "Parked A Freewheeling Review". Retrieved 16 July 2012.
- Finite Films. "Island". Retrieved 16 April 2011.
- Tailormade Productions. "Island". Retrieved 28 December 2009.
- "Daily Mail Online TV & Showbiz". Retrieved 14 February 2014.
- "Up&Comers". Retrieved 14 February 2014.
- Michael Shankland. "My Brighton and Hove". Retrieved 17 July 2014.
- upandcomers.net. "First Look at Emily Browning and Colin Morgan on London set of ‘Legend’". Retrieved 19 June 2014.
- BAZ BAMIGBOYE. "BAZ BAMIGBOYE: A hundred years on, Brittain's got talent". Retrieved 10 July 2014.
- "The Kim Newman Web Site". Retrieved 23 January 2009.
- "Titanic Stories". Retrieved 14 April 2010.
- "Colin Morgan talks lending voice to 'Merlin' Facebook game in new interview". Retrieved 15 March 2013.
- "Hypable". Retrieved 27 December 2012.
- "Hackett: Colin Morgan". Retrieved 24 March 2014.
- "The Lady: Spellbound". Retrieved 2 March 2012.
- "United Agents: Colin Morgan". Retrieved 18 July 2014.
- "Colin Morgan #ColinMorgan and #Merlin is Irish are trending!". Retrieved 24 January 2013.
- "Arts Council England". Retrieved 20 November 2009.
- "Gealach Ros". Retrieved 18 July 2014.
- "WAMCARE Charity Auction". Retrieved 26 May 2010.
- "Starcards". Retrieved 3 November 2010.
- "The Godolphin and Latymer School Foundation". Retrieved 18 July 2014.
- "The Old Vic Annual 2012/13". Retrieved 18 July 2014.
- "Merlin: The Dragon Tower". warwick-castle.com. Retrieved 17 July 2014.
- "The Warwick Courier". Retrieved 16 August 2011.
- What's On Stage Theatregoers' Choice Nominees
- 56th annual Variety Club Showbiz Awards – Awards Ceremony – Colin Morgan
- 2009 Seoul Drama Awards Festival
- "49th Monte-Carlo TV Festival Drama TV Series – Outstanding Actor". Retrieved 22 April 2010.
- "Festival de Télévision de Monte-Carlo – 50 – Nominees for Outstanding Actor – Drama TV Series". Retrieved 22 April 2010.
- "Festival de Télévision de Monte-Carlo – 51 – Nominees for Outstanding Actor – Drama TV Series". Retrieved 13 January 2012.
- "IMDB: Colin Morgan Awards". Retrieved 18 July 2014.
- "Virgin Media TV Awards". Retrieved 20 January 2012.
- "National TV Awards". Retrieved 18 January 2013.
- "Broadway World West End Awards". Retrieved 25 November 2013.
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