📷 : Daisy and Dukes Agency
Lewis and Amber Fernée are twins who both have a career in acting, with Lewis most recently appearing in the workshop of Papadopoulos and Sons, and Amber being cast as Melissa in the drama documentary Lake Eerie. Earlier this year, Lewis finished his time touring with The King and I as Louis Leonowens, which saw him perform at The London Palladium and spend a month in Japan with the production. Amber filmed for the 2020 release of The Good Traitor as Tilda on location in Budapest, and has previously worked on popular TV series Penny Dreadful and also has stage experience with shows such as X at Royal Court and Ballyturk at the National Theatre alongside Cillian Murphy. Chatting with the twins, they tell us about working in the industry, how they got into acting and performing in Ballyturk and The King and I.
How did you both get into acting?
￼Lewis – I had a leaflet dropped in my school book bag for auditions for a Weekend Stage School. They were offering a few scholarships so I thought I would give it a go. I had a really fun afternoon and luckily I won one of the scholarships. The stage school also had a talent agency which I joined. My twin sister, Amber, also joined the stage school and then the agency. After a couple of weeks we both started to get jobs.
Amber – The first time we both got jobs, we were so happy we just wanted to scream. My first job was an advert for Gumtree and it was an amazing experience, especially at such a young age. I had to disappear into a wardrobe!
Lewis – My first job was the role of Small Boy in Billy Elliot The Musical and this is where my passion for dance really started, especially ballet. I started Billy at the age of six and I thought it was great that I was allowed to be very naughty on stage and I didn’t even get told off for it! Small Boy starts the show walking down the centre aisle of the theatre and then climbs on the stage and sits there all alone for the first couple of minutes of the show. For some reason, I never got stage fright, just excitement!!
Have you had a chance to work together, if not, are you hoping to in the future?
Amber – We haven’t managed to work together up till now. There was one job that we both managed to get as young friends who were playing Cowboys and Indians. Unfortunately, it got cancelled at the last minute! It would be fantastic for us to both work together in the future.
Lewis – There was one time though when we both had West End jobs at the same time and my mum had to run from one theatre across London to the other to drop us off and pick us up. Amber was in 1984 at Southwark Playhouse, and I was at the Victoria Palace Theatre. The schedules worked out not too bad though so that was very lucky￼.
📷 : Daisy and Dukes Agency
Do you help each other when learning scripts and preparing for auditions, and how do you encourage each other when going for a role?￼
Amber – Yes, we often help each other when learning scripts and also making some suggestions on how to play the character. It’s really helpful having someone to bounce off of whom you are close to and can say anything to.
Lewis – Yes, but sometimes we don’t agree and argue!!
Amber – We also help each other by reading the other characters’ lines off camera often when we are recording self-tapes.
How is it being twins both working in the industry?
Lewis – It’s such fun and not really competitive as we both like different things. Amber likes plays and TV, and I like musicals and dance, although I would really love to get a TV/film role. I did do a short film called Safiyah Flies Across the Ocean, which I loved.
Amber – We really encourage each other and hold our fingers crossed when waiting to hear if either of us have got a part. We are very happy for each other when the other one gets a job.
📷 : Daisy and Dukes Agency
How would you describe each other and are you similar in any way?
Amber – Although we are very close and great friends, we don’t really look much alike. I’m dark hair, green eyes and pale skin, whereas Lewis is lighter hair, brown eyes and olive skin. Lewis is very lively and I’m more sensible.
Lewis – Sometimes you are an annoying sister though.
Amber – You are more annoying!
What plans do you both have for the next few months?￼
Lewis – I’m doing a workshop for a potential West End show at the moment. It’s called Papadopoulos and Sons and it’s about a man called Harry – my dad – who was a multimillionaire but then he lost everything. He and my uncle open up a chip shop together. It’s really fun and Antony Costa (from the band Blue) plays my crazy uncle in it. Everyone there has made me feel very welcome and included. I hope it gets funding and turned into a musical!
Amber – I’m going to be in a drama documentary about the Lake Eerie murders in America. I get abducted and murdered, so very exciting!! I had to have death makeup applied for the “morgue photos”! I tend to get a lot of dark shows!
You’ve recently toured with The King and I, what was the experience like?
It was an amazing experience as I went to Japan for one month without my family, which was a weird experience but one I will never forget. All the fun things that we did there kept me occupied. We went to Disneyland, ancient temples, Mount Fuji, the Bullet Train, and the food was amazing. We also visited the most bonkers robot café in Tokyo, performed at the Theatre Orb, which is a very unusual theatre as it is situated at the very top of a skyscraper. The cast, crew and costume department were also nice and the Japanese people made us feel so welcome. The Japanese are such polite people and the show was amazing.
📷 : The King and I
How did you find playing the role of Louis Leonowens?
We have to speak very posh and wear frilly shirts and shiny boots. I made lots of good friends with the Royal Children. Playing alongside Kelli O’Hara, the Broadway Queen, was a pleasure. She is such an amazing singer and a kind and caring personality who made me feel at ease.
Ken Watanabe was also a very talented actor, and one day I aspire to be as talented as him. When I was performing in The London Palladium, I was a bit nervous as he is a massive filmstar and performed in The Last Samurai with Tom Cruise and the Godzilla movies which I love!
📷 : Papadopoulos and Sons
Can you tell us about playing Michael Banks in the UK and International tour of Mary Poppins?
This was an extremely fun experience that I will remember for a long time to come. I visited lots of places all over England, as well as Ireland, Scotland and Wales. I also performed in Switzerland which is a beautiful country. The icing on the cake was that I got to go to Dubai for a whole month. This was an out of this world trip that I will never forget and the people really made the experience extra special. We also had some really great school cultural trips, where I learnt so much.
The cast were so lovely and the experience wouldn’t have been the same without them. I have met and made such great friends.
I learnt magic tricks from the stage manager and the part in the show going up on the roof was one of my favourite bits, along with the number Step In Time where I could use my dancing skills. I loved learning the song and movements to Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious too. That was so much fun.
📷 : Oliver Twist
Had you seen Oliver Twist before booking the role at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre and what did you enjoy most about being cast in the production?
I’d seen the film years ago but that was about it. This production was a totally different experience to any other as it was in the Open Air Theatre and took a different twist to the story in the original traditional Oliver Twist film. They had people going by on Segways and rollerskates and I was allowed to run around the stage, climb up ladders and stand on top of the shipping containers. The opening sequence was very unusual too. We had to do a contemporary movement piece/dance where we were working in the workhouse. After that, I was enclosed inside a coffin, I was then dragged out by the scruff of my neck! It was really great fun actually.
What was it like filming for The Good Traitor?
It was wonderful filming The Good Traitor as I got to work with an amazing cast and crew including Denise Gough and Ulrich Thomsen who are both very well-known actors. Plus, I got to go to Budapest which is a beautiful city, and on my days off filming, we visited some thermal spas which were fab.
📷 : 1984
What do you remember about being involved with Penny Dreadful?
￼I was a lot younger then and very excited as this was my first job outside of England and as a little girl, I was very exited to go on a plane to Dublin. All of the cast and crew were very nice, especially Eva Green and Josh Hartnett. I remember getting my costume fitted as a lady was flown over especially from Italy to make my costume. They even handmade my shoes. Josh was very friendly and made me feel at ease especially when I was sitting on his lap.
📷 : Penny Dreadful
Can you tell us about performing in Ballyturk which starred Cillian Murphy?
It was a great experience to work with Cillian. The National Theatre is an iconic theatre and I feel very ￼privileged to have worked in it. On my opening night, I was sitting in my dressing room and it is a National Theatre tradition that when you get your call to stage over the speakers, everyone bangs on the windows before opening night with every show they do there.
📷 : X
We understand you have appeared in documentaries what can you say about these?
I played a young girl called Jennet Device about a story of the Pendle Witches. She was the first child to have her testimony in Court accepted and managed to get some of her family hung for being witches. The drama documentary is called Witch Hunt, A Century of Murder, and I found it very interesting and learned a lot of the history of witchcraft – funny how I always seem to get the dark projects.
Lewis Fernée and Amber Fernée are represented by Daisy and Dukes https://daisyanddukes.com