Becoming Skimbleshanks: CATS star Ross Hannaford’s amazing transformation

Working on a show like CATS is one of the most rewarding and interesting experiences a performer could ask for.

Ross Hannaford as Skimbleshanks. Photo by Hagen Hopkins
Ross Hannaford as Skimbleshanks. Photo by Hagen Hopkins

Aside from the fact that every night is a two and a half hour cardio workout, it’s a singer/actor/dancer’s triple-treat dream to have such an emphasis placed on all aspects of performance in one show.

Australia’s current production of CATS is now touring the country, featuring 30 cast members (each with individualised costume and makeup design) who make the transformation from human to cat 8 shows a week.

Ross Hannaford, who stars in the show as storyteller Skimbleshanks The Railway Cat has made an incredible time lapse video of his pre-show transformation. Watch this great 2 minute video to see his detailed makeup application, powder set and wig placement – an art in itself!

Sharon Case – head of the wig and makeup department – supervises the all of the makeup and wig design on the show.

CATS plays its final shows in Sydney this weekend before transferring to Hobart, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.

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Erin James

Erin James is's former Editor in Chief and a performer on both stage and screen. Credits include My Fair Lady, South Pacific and The King and I (Opera Australia), Love Never Dies and Cats (Really Useful Group), Blood Brothers (Enda Markey Presents), A Place To Call Home (Foxtel/Channel 7) and the feature film The Little Death (written and directed by Josh Lawson).

Erin James

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