Sarah Kayte Foster
Singer / Writer / Visual Artist
Sarah originally trained as an actress and worked in TV, Film and Theatre throughout her twenties. She spent five years touring the world and recording three studio albums with the internationally acclaimed classical singing ensemble Mediaeval Baebes, which inspired her to create her own music and visual art project, Daisy and The Dark. She was recently invited to collaborate on an Arts Council funded scriptwriting project for TV.
What made you want to go into your career path?
I was an only child of a single parent family so was often left to my own devices, which meant imagination was a huge part of my life. I always loved music, film, dressing up, and creating characters - and I actually started a song-writing club when I was seven! I was pretty shy and found expression and escape through all things creative… creativity was my first love and has remained massively important to me.
Did you always think you’d go into this career? How does it compare to how you thought it would be?
I always thought I would do something in the performing arts, though it’s taken me a while to see how all the different things I love fit together. Initially I wanted to be a dancer - I was too shy to actually speak onstage, let alone sing! As my confidence grew I stretched into acting, and then singing. Writing has been a constant throughout and I love that now I get to write my own material, whether that’s songs, stories or scripts. My career in the arts has been a MUCH more wiggly line than I expected, life has continued to surprise me with many bends in the road - which has certainly given me lots to write about!
How was life at school?
I enjoyed the structure of school, as life at home was constantly changing. Having said that, I felt restless and frustrated doing subjects like science and maths that didn’t light me up or seem to apply to my life. I was much happier when I went to sixth form college and could focus on the subjects that inspired me. Birmingham City Council used to fund one big musical each year for people aged 11-25 and I started doing those when I was 14. We would rehearse evenings and weekends for six months and then perform the show at professional venues - this became a kind of second school for me - it was a huge turning point and really solidified what I wanted to do.
How did you get into your career?
I auditioned for eight drama schools when I left sixth form college and got into four. I was so lucky that one of them offered a degree course (rather than a diploma) which back then meant I could study for free and didn’t have to do a load of fund-raising to make it happen. I actually ended up finding drama school pretty difficult - looking back I’m not sure it was the right learning environment for me as all the confidence I’d spent years building up got knocked down again. But after graduating I worked hard to create opportunities for myself and put one foot in front of the other, gaining experience and experimenting with different opportunities that presented themselves. I’m a big believer that as an artist it’s my own responsibility to stay inspired - and I’ve got a lot out of studying the creative workbook ‘The Artist’s Way’ by Julia Cameron over and over again! The first time I worked through that book I discovered how much I missed singing - and three days later was invited to audition for the Mediaeval Baebes, which was the beginning of a whole new chapter of my career!
What do you enjoy most about it?
I love the variety, the adventures, the collaboration, and the emotional connection with other humans. I also think there is something so magical about having an idea and turning it into something that exists in the world - and has the potential to move people and maybe even inspire them to create something of their own. I once got an email from a woman in Australia saying my song ‘Waltzing’ had really helped her through a stretch of depression and I just thought it was amazing that a song I’d written had travelled across the world on an emotional journey I’d known nothing about.
What are your ambitions?
Ultimately I just want to bring as many of my creative ideas as possible to life while I’m here! I’m excited to be developing some scripts for film and television - going to the cinema is definitely my sanctuary so this is something I’ve wanted to experiment with for a long time. I’m also working on a music album and visual art/dance project which explores themes of chronic illness and trauma - two things I’ve been through myself. I love that as artists we get to take our difficult life experiences and spin them into gold - it can be really healing for both ourselves and others - and makes sense of this crazy and complicated world like nothing else I know.
Tell us a fun story about your work
My first professional acting job was being the voice of Scrooge’s mouse for the animated feature film ‘A Christmas Carol’. It meant I spent days squeaking for a living with one other ‘mouse’ in a little voiceover booth which was pretty surreal. A couple of years later I popped into Starbucks and saw the actor Simon Callow - who played Scrooge - sitting having a coffee, so was able to approach him and say ‘I’m sorry to disturb you but I have to introduce myself - I’m your mouse!’ (not often you get to use that sentence). He roared with laughter and commented that the film itself was pretty terrible - but the mice were obviously flawless!