7-year-old Stewartstown girl clinches role in NI-wide production of Cats

Purr-fect: Jean Coyle from Stewartstown and Peter Corry at the launch of SSE Airtricity Presents Perform Bootcamp's Cats
Purr-fect: Jean Coyle from Stewartstown and Peter Corry at the launch of SSE Airtricity Presents Perform Bootcamp's Cats

A 7-year-old theatre-enthusiast from Stewartstown is “over the moon” to have won a part in a NI-wide production of Cats, following extensive auditions.

Jean Coyle has become so engulfed in her role as a bobtail kitten in the Perform Boot Camp show, that her mum Nicola said “she’s studying our cats trying to copy all the cat moves”.

The St Mary’s Primary School pupil is among 150 young people from across Northern Ireland chosen for a special youth production, which will air at SSE Arena in Belfast on August 6 under the direction of Peter Corry.

“She’s so excited, she’s over the moon,” Jean’s mum, Nicola Coyle, said.

“She’s practicing being a cat every minute of the day.”

Asked how she came to win a part in the show, she added: “Jean was involved in Stewartstown Pantomime Society. Her daddy (Sean Óg) would have been in it over the years, and now our children are involved.

“They pointed out that it was coming up... and there was auditions, so Jean and Jean’s cousin (nine-year-old Katie Griffiths, from Lisburn) auditioned in the SSE Arena.”

Now the busy youngster will have to fit two weeks of summer rehearsals as well as two productions of the show around her piano lessons, choir practice and gymnastics.

Billed as the most ambitious youth production of the iconic West End musical yet, Nicola said her daughter “just loves getting involved in anything theatrical”.

And that even getting the chance to audition on the huge stage at the SSE Arena in Belfast was “a big deal” for the talented youngster.

“We are delighted for her,” said Nicola. “We never really expected her to get in because so many children turned up for the audition.

“But she did and it’s a great chance for her.”

The unique youth production is the brainchild of show director Peter Corry, who has a wealth of experience performing on the West End and throughout the world.

Leanne Sheill, marketing executive at SSE Airtricity, said they are “delighted to be supporting this exciting and inspiring production.

Tickets go on sale on May 17 at 9am from The SSE Arena Box Office and Ticketmaster outlets.