A Life in the Arts

Sarah Conducting smallerI grew up in Bristol and Cornwall surrounded always by music and the arts. My Cornish father, David Jewell, was the headmaster of a Bristol Cathedral school and my Czech mother, Katherine, an adult education lecturer. Our evenings were often spent around a piano entertaining ourselves, visiting musicians and poets, and from an early age making music and theatre was more natural than climbing trees or playing with dolls. I took my Drama and English degree at Bristol University and gained a 2:1 with a published dissertation on Strindberg and Nietzsche and the birth of Dramatic Psychotherapy. I didn’t study music or ever learn to read it properly though I played several instruments and busked from the age of eleven. I was a member of The National Youth Theatre, performed at Pendley Shakespeare Festival ages 14-17 and worked for BBC Bristol as an actor/presenter for pilot series. 1988-1993 I joined Kneehigh Theatre in Cornwall, a company renowned for their innovative style and exceptional original music. Then joined Private Parts in Bristol and did tours for the British Council whilst moonlighting as a co-ordinator for the International Workshop Festival, travelling with the Polish Company Gardienize and recording in Amsterdam with various Jazz bands. I co-created the now recognised Circus Arts NVC qualification when I was made head of music and voice at Fooltime, Britains first accredited Circus School in Bristol. I moved to Ireland and created Cry Havoc, a musical theatre company along the lines of Welfare State International and set up small community choirs dedicated to the exploration of local and international folk music in Trinidad, Skye , Tenerife and Portugal funded in part by The Commonwealth Institute and The Gulbenkian Foundation. I had a particular interest in how music could be used to create new bonds within divided communities and that interest has never waned. Sarah at The Nave - Feb 16th Vocal Rumbles rehearsal 1998- present. Tiring of the gypsy life on the road and of projects that were always finite I decided to move to London and create an on-going world music choir at Highbury’s celebrated Union Chapel. SONGLINES CHOIR was born in 1996. It has around 100 members who make up three separate choirs, a women’s chamber choir and an Improvisation group. At the same time I became the voice tutor for Hackney Community college and worked for Hackney Music Services as The World Music Consultant in schools and colleges and taught music and drama on several B’TECH performing Arts in Newham and Hackney. I was commissioned to write and direct several vocal pieces; Urban Voices (an exploration of the folk music of London’s exile communities) Sirens Of Lomeia for Kent County Council. I also took my adult Ed qualification at CONEL. For Songlines, I’ve written and Directed three Cantatas; we’ve been Time Out Pick of the week several times and were recently included in their list of ten great choirs to join in London ( May 2008). We’ve sold out The Union Chapel and LSO St Lukes.