- Lambeth, London, England, UK
Hattie Morahan was born in London in 1978. Her father, Christopher Morahan, is a television and stage director, who is perhaps best known for his television adaptation of The Jewel in the Crown (1984). Her mother, Anna Carteret, is an actress whose most high profile role was that of Inspector Kate Longton, whom she played in the BBC police drama series Juliet Bravo (1980) between 1983 and 1985. Hattie was educated at the Frensham Heights School. Whilst she was at school people would recognize her mother because they had seen Anna on TV in Juliet Bravo. Hattie has said in interviews that for a long time she thought that Manchester was in India because her father was working for Granada but he kept going away to India. In 1995, when she was sixteen years old, her father cast her as Una Gwithiam in a television adaptation of The Peacock Spring (1996), which was broadcast on British television on 1st January 1996. Hattie studied English Literature at New Hall, Cambridge between 1997 and 2000. This Cambridge University college has since been renamed Murray Edwards College. Whilst she was at Cambridge, she acted in several student drama productions. Hattie played Snowball, the pig based on Trotsky, in a stage adaptation of George Orwell's novel, 'Animal Farm', at the ADC Theatre in Cambridge from 18th to 22nd November 1997. She returned to the ADC Theatre in February 1998 as part of the cast of 'Ticklebang', a new comedy written by Dylan Ritson, and she was part of the cast when the play was put on at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August 1998. In November 1998 Hattie decided to switch for the time being from acting to direction, and directed 'The Suicide', a play by Nikolay Erdman, at the ADC in Cambridge, with Blake Ritson, the brother of Dylan, as her assistant director. Hattie played the part of Catherine in Phillip Breen's production of Arthur Miller's modern classic, 'A View from the Bridge', at the ADC from 9th to 13th February, 1999. This production was re-staged at the National Student Drama Festival at Scarborough in April 1999 and Hattie won the best actress award at the festival. In July 1999 she played Cecily Cardew in an outdoor production of Oscar Wilde's classic comedy of manners, 'The Importance of being Earnest', with Phillip Breen as director and Blake Ritson in the role of Jack Worthing. This played at a number of outdoor venues in and around Cambridge. It was later staged at the ADC in Cambridge from 11th to 13th October 1999. Towards the end of her time at Cambridge, Hattie played Isabel in Pedro Calderon De la Barca's play, 'The Mayor of Zalamea', at the Cambridge Arts Theatre in the summer of 2000, and in that summer she graduated with a degree in English from Cambridge University. At this point, she was clear that she wanted to pursue a career in acting. Her parents recommended that she enroll at drama school. However, Hattie was eager to get started on her professional acting career. She made a deal with her parents that if she did not get much work in the next twelve months, she would follow their advice and go to drama school. As it turned out within a few months Hattie had won a contract with the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), and whilst she was there she was able to take advantage of the technical classes and voice coaching to improve her acting technique. Her first professional engagement was as one of the players in a production of 'Hamlet' directed by Steven Pimlott. This was staged first at the Swan Theatre in Stratford upon Avon from 31st March to 13th October 2001 and then at the Barbican Theatre in London from 6th December 2001 to 2nd April 2002. As well as her part as one of the players, Hattie also understudied the role of Ophelia. She was with the RSC for over a year and her other roles for the company included the part of Lucy in 'Love in a Wood', a Restoration comedy by William Wycherley which was staged at the Swan Theatre in Stratford between 12th April and 12th October 2001; Emela in 'The Prisoner's Dilemma' by David Edgar, which was performed at the Other Place in Stratford from 11th July to 13th October 2001; and Tracy, the hotel receptionist, in 'Night of the Soul', a new play written and directed by David Farr, which ran at the Barbican Pit in London from 19th April to 11th May 2002. After she had completed her time with the RSC, Hattie played the part of Elizabeth in a revival of Somerset Maugham's play 'The Circle' directed by Mark Rosenblatt. This production went on a tour of English regional theaters in the autumn of 2002 starting at the Malvern Theatre, (27th to 31st August), and finishing at the Arts Theatre in Cambridge, (21st to 26th October). In 2003 she played Elaine Harper in 'Arsenic and Old Lace' for Katharine Dore Management at the Strand Theatre in London from 14th February to 31st May, and Louise De la Valliere in 'Power', a new play written by Nick Dear, at the National Theatre in London from 3rd July to 29th October. In 2004 she played Ruby in Peter Flannery's play 'Singer' at the Tricycle Theatre in Kilburn from 10th March to 10th April. She appeared as Totty Vogel Downing, an expert on art fraud seconded to the unsolved case squad in one episode of New Tricks (2003), the popular BBC1 crime drama series, and she took part in a presentation of Eve Ensler's play, 'Necessary Targets', directed by Anna Carteret at the Arts Theatre in London on Sunday 10th October 2004 . Also in 2004, Hattie took part in a rehearsed reading of 'Othello' at the Globe Theatre in London and she played the part of a receptionist in 'Out of Time', a short film written by Dylan Ritson and directed by his brother Blake. However, Hattie's breakthrough as a stage actress was probably her performance in the title role in a 2004 revival of Euripides' play, 'Iphigenia at Aulis'. This was staged at the National Theatre in London and ran from 12th June to 7th September 2004. The play's director, Katie Mitchell, is a controversial figure in contemporary British theatre, but Hattie is an admirer of her work, and as it turned out 'Iphigenia at Aulis' was the start of a long running collaboration between the two women. In 2005 she played Beth Lucas, a regular character in the second season of the BBC3 medical drama, Bodies (2004), and she made a guest appearance in the radio version of Trevor's World of Sport (2003). She played Carrie, a media studies graduate interested in a career in talent management, who goes on a work placement at TS Sports Stars. The episode was entitled 'Work Experience' and it was broadcast by BBC Radio 4 on 29th November 2005. In the autumn she played Viola in a well received production of William Shakespeare 's play 'Twelfth Night' at the West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds. This production ran from 17th September to 22nd October 2005. In 2006 she played Penelope Toop in 'See How They Run' for ACT Productions in a tour of regional theaters starting at the Theatre Royal, Plymouth, (15th to 18th February 2006) and finishing at the Malvern Theatre, (4th to 8th April 2006). 'See How They Run' was directed by Douglas Hodge, a good friend of Hattie's fiancé, Blake Ritson. Also in 2006 she played Alice in a BBC Radio 4 production of David Hare's play, 'Plenty', broadcast on 30th September 2006, and in the summer of 2006 Hattie was reunited with Katie Mitchell, who directed her in Anton Chekhov's play 'The Seagull' at the National Theatre. The play ran from 17th June to 23rd September and Hattie won an Ian Charleston award for her performance as Nina in this play. Hattie was part of the cast in 'Asylum Monologues', an event organized by Actors for Human Rights, at Cambridge University on 18th October 2007. She was also busy filming various television and film projects in 2007. She played the part of Sister Clara in New Line Cinema's film of The Golden Compass (2007), which went on general release in Great Britain on 5th December 2007, as well as playing Gale Benson, the daughter of a Conservative member of parliament who becomes involved with the black power movement, in Roger Donaldson's film, The Bank Job (2008). The Bank Job (2008) went on general release in Britain on 29th February 2008. On television she was in two comedies made by Hat Trick productions, namely Outnumbered (2007) and Bike Squad (2008). She won widespread acclaim for her performance as Elinor Dashwood in Andrew Davies' adaptation of Jane Austen's novel, Sense & Sensibility (2008). This was broadcast on BBC1 between 1st and 13th January 2008. This television adaptation was inevitably compared with the 1995 Columbia Tristar film of the same book in which Emma Thompson had played Elinor, although in her preparation for the role Hattie had deliberately avoided watching the film again and decided not to think about Emma Thompson. Hattie won the best actress award at the Shanghai Television Festival for her performance as Elinor Dashwood. She appeared in several radio dramas in the first quarter of 2008, including 'What I think of my Husband', a radio play by Stephen Wakelam about Thomas Hardy's relationship with his second wife, Florence Dugdale. This was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 between 31st March and 4th April 2008, and featured excellent performances from both Nigel Anthony as Hardy and Hattie as Florence. She also played the part of Constance in a radio adaptation of Alfred Hitchcock's 1945 film Spellbound (1945). This was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on Saturday 16th February 2008. Her co-star in this radio play was Benedict Cumberbatch, with whom she appeared in Martin Crimp's play, 'The City'. This play opened at the Royal Court Theatre in London on Thursday 24th April 2008 and ran until Saturday 7th June 2008. It was directed by Katie Mitchell, who also directed Hattie in 'Some Trace of Her', an experimental stage version of Fyodor Dostoevsky's novel, 'The Idiot'. This opened at the Cottesloe stage of the National Theatre in London on Wednesday 23rd July and ran until Tuesday 21st October 2008. She was also in the cast of Agatha Christie's Marple: A Pocket Full of Rye (2008), an Agatha Christie TV drama starring Julia McKenzie as Miss Marple, in which Hattie played Elaine Fortescue, the daughter of a murdered businessman. In the autumn of 2008 Hattie played the role of Jane again in the second series of the BBC1 situation comedy Outnumbered (2007). On Sunday 2nd November 2008 she returned to Cambridge University, where she gave a talk on her acting career at the Judith E. Wilson Drama Studio. She was one of the readers for 'Active Resistance to Propaganda' by Vivienne Westwood, the Royal Shakespeare Company's Alternative Christmas lecture, which was staged at Wilton's Music Hall in London on Sunday 16th December 2008. She also played the part of Mary in a revival of the T.S. Eliot play 'Family Reunion' at the Donmar Warehouse in London. This play opened on Thursday 20th November 2008 and ran until Saturday 10th January 2009. The play was in a very real sense a family reunion for Hattie since the cast included Hattie's mother Anna Carteret. In 2009 Hattie played Claire in 'Love Hate'. This was a short film about a charity worker who falls in love with a mysterious woman. It was written and directed by the Ritson brothers, and the cast also included Ben Whishaw, with whom Hattie had previously co-starred in stage productions of 'The Seagull' in 2006 and 'Some Trace of Her' in 2008. In the spring of 2009 Hattie returned to the National Theatre in London to play Kay Conway in 'Time and the Conways' by J.B.Priestley. The play opened on Tuesday 28th April 2009 and completed its run on Sunday 16th August 2009. Hattie played Elizabeth in Meredith Oakes' unusually entitled social comedy, 'Alex Tripped on my fairy', which was broadcast by BBC Radio 3 on Saturday 21st March 2009. She was one of the readers for an edition of the BBC Radio 3 show, 'Words and Music', which went out on Sunday 29th March 2009, and she also narrated a ten part dramatization of 'Lady Audley's Secret' by Mary Elizabeth Braddon. This was broadcast by BBC Radio 4 between Monday 20th April 2009 and Friday 1st May 2009.