Claremont Fan Court School
Longcross, Class of 2014
Interviewed for the 2023 annual Alumni Review, Lewis tells us about his journey from treading the floorboards of Claremont’s JGC stage to performing in London’s West End and offers valuable advice for any budding Claremont actors:
Claremont Fan Court alumnus, Lewis Cornay (Longcross, Class of 2014) graduated with a First Class honours degree from The Guildford School of Acting in 2017. Lewis’ esteemed career to date includes roles as Elder Davis/Cross in The Book of Mormon at the Prince of Wales Theatre, Kurt Von-Trapp in The Sound of Music at the London Palladium and Michael Banks in Mary Poppins at Prince Edward Theatre. Lewis most recently played, SpongeBob Squarepants in The SpongeBob Musical at the Southbank Centre and on tour around the UK. Lewis was awarded an Offie for Best Leading Performance in a Musical for his role as John alongside Wicked star Rachel Tucker in John and Jen at 54 Below in New York.
What led you to become an actor?
I’ve always been an attention-seeker! And as an only child I always had a very active imagination and loved putting on little shows for my parents and anyone who I could force to watch. I was never into sports so mum and dad decided to send me to drama classes on the weekend. I loved being able to create little worlds with the other children and felt like I found my community. At Claremont a lot of my reports would say phrases along the lines of “Lewis loves being the class clown”. When acting I could be the clown and not get in trouble for it! Whilst at school I was also performing in the West End in shows such as The Sound of Music. The brilliant drama and music teachers at Claremont were ridiculously supportive and would encourage me to stretch myself and delve deeper into the world of performance. It never really felt like an option to be doing anything else. Big thanks goes to the brilliant Mr Kimber, Mrs Horley and Mr Affonso for their commitment and support.
What are you appearing in at the moment?
Well, talking of being the class clown I’m currently playing Spongebob Squarepants in The Spongebob Musical. The show’s currently touring the UK and playing the Southbank Centre this summer. It’s a big Broadway musical with a fantastic cast and we’ve had some lovely reviews. Feeling very grateful to be able to be my truly silly self on stage eight shows a week!
What advice would you give your sixteen year old self? (Acting wise)
I’d say that the things you might perceive as weaknesses will end up being strengths. Your quirks and individuality will open doors you never thought possible. Don’t be scared of listening to your instinct and following your gut! Sounds cliche but would have saved a lot of time.
What have been your career highlights?
I’ve been really fortunate to play such a diverse range of roles. Before Spongebob I played a womanising, angry teen in an actor- musician production of Whistle down the Wind. Before that I played a clean cut Mormon in The Book of Mormon (West End). I love the opportunity to have a window into different characters lives.
Another highlight was winning an Offie award for my role in John and Jen. Myself and Rachel Tucker then went out to New York this year to perform the show and was probably the biggest highlight of my career to date!