Richmond siblings Martha Kate and Ned Morgan might be young, but they’re also determined.
Unassuming to meet, the fresh-faced duo don school uniforms during the day, but a casting call for an acting gig can see them transform into hard-working professionals at the drop of a hat - sometimes with only 24 hours notice.
“The first role I did was nerve-wracking, but the more I work, the more comfortable I feel,” said Ned (15), a student at Nepean Creative and Performing Arts High School in Emu Plains who is also about to begin filming for a new ABC TV series.
“It’s exciting getting to be in someone else’s shoes when you’re acting. And once you get into costume that helps you get further into the character.”
He has acted in two films, including the lead role in Sleepwalking opposite Jeremy Lindsay Taylor.
He has also been in an episode of American TV series Wrecked (airing on Foxtel), which took him and his mum Jodie to Fiji for three days to shoot, and for which he had to take dialect classes to learn to speak with an American accent.
Where does he see himself in five years? “Acting on an American TV show, and studying at WAAPA or NIDA [acting universities],” he said.
Ned’s little sister Martha (11) has just been nominated for Best Supporting Actress in a Short Film at this year’s International Filmmaker Festival of World Cinema, London.
Martha, who takes opportunity classes for academically-gifted students at Richmond Public School, will find out on February 23 if she’s won the award for her role of Emily in the short film Grace - a production by Causeway Films (who did The Babadook) filmed in the Blue Mountains.
While Ned wanted to be an actor for as long as he can remember, Martha fell into it by chance after Jodie worked out that by dropping both children off at Ned’s weekly drama classes at the Joan Sutherland Centre in Penrith, she could spend that time doing university work.
Martha, who was only five at the time, started acting before she started school.
“The first thing I shot I messed up a bit; I couldn’t see the crew because there was a light in my face which made it a bit difficult, but I love being able to play different characters,” Martha said.
People might recognise her from her television commercial work, including one for the Australian Federal Government’s ‘Respect’ domestic violence campaign, in which she played a little girl whose brother closed a door in her face and she fell over.
It took all day to shoot that scene, and Martha had to make herself fall over more than 30 times.
Regardless, Martha - like her brother Ned - is more than happy to put in the hard yards, and wants to make a career out of acting when she grows up. She’s also appeared in ads for Mission Australia, McDonald's, Hyundai and Panadol, and has shot four short films.
But playing Young Greta in Girl Asleep on stage at Sydney’s Belvoir St Theatre was the most fun she’s had with her acting, she said.
Mum Jodie said both children have had to make some sacrifices to do what they do, but no more than any other child determined to excel at a sport or hobby: “They both understand that that is just the way it is. They wait for the opportunity to audition for the perfect role and when it comes along they have to grab it with both hands.”
Is there ever any sibling rivalry? Ned admitted there was when Martha landed her first audition before he did, but the duo are thick as thieves now.