Kate Steel

Last Wednesday my friend Kate Steel and I spent the early afternoon at Hampstead Heath – There was tree climbing, prom dresses, and oodles of colourful flowers and balloons. Please see below for photographs and interview.
Kate is a versatile professional actress who trained at East 15 Acting School, gaining a distinction on the Masters course. She has played a variety of roles in theatre, films and commercials and has worked with directors such as Andrew Davies. She has trained in Los Angeles, where she also performed in theatre and television.

What inspired you to start acting?
I was a primary school teacher for five years before daring to ‘dream the dream’. I started treading the boards up in my hometown of Hull, whilst still teaching, which was pretty full-on!…

…As I got bigger roles, the smell of the greasepaint lured me towards entertaining the idea of auditioning for drama school. I didn’t think I’d get in to be honest, as it’s so competitive, so when I was offered one of twelve places at East 15 and some funding, I was wheel-spinning out of the staff car park down to The Big Smoke!

First time on stage?
I danced from the age of three and did shows in big theatres and a few dance festivals, but I had little confidence (and a rather mean teacher for years) and I was one of those gangly kids who was always shoved at the back. I did pretty well in all my exams though – which really annoyed my teacher!…

..My first proper big role on stage was playing Tzeitel in ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ up north, and my sisters were cast as my sisters, so it was a real family affair! I loved that musical and as the eldest of four, I am a ‘Tzietel’ through and through. I even got to star in my own wedding every night!

Current acting projects?
I am just doing the rounds of auditions for a mixture of things and I’ve got a few ‘irons in the fire’, so watch this space!

Current influences?
Just life really. I love meeting people and am blessed with an eclectic mix of friends upon whom some of my characters have been loosely based – no names will be given! And I am an incorrigible people watcher…

… From a young age I visited the theatre and even aged four I would listen as intently as all the adults in the auditorium. I particularly love Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals, but more modern composers such as Maury Heston (Titanic – The Musical) are also fantastic…

…I am drawn to “family affair” films too – perhaps because of my own experience – one of my favourites is “In America”, starring two sisters, telling the semi-autobiographical story of the Sheridan family as they move from Ireland to New York.

What inspires your acting?
I am definitely an eight-year-old (or maybe a ten-year-old on a good day) at heart, and kids spend their whole lives engaging in the world of make believe, dressing up, doing role play etc. Acting is just that really – there’s a reason why a play is called a play! In my spare time I tutor children and this continues to fan the flames of youth within me…

… It is a real privilege to be given the chance to play a character who perhaps lives in another place, or is from a different era, and I love the process of researching the role, finding the voice, movement and rhythm of someone who might be quite dissimilar to yourself. My last theatre role was playing an Eastern European murderess, so that was quite a leap!

Future acting plans?
Erm, world domination?! Well, one can dream…

Other creative pursuits?
I still dance and have added street dance, Palestinian dabke and Irish to my repertoire since moving to London!…

… I also play the French horn, though I am so busy it seems to be mainly at Christmas when brass playing actresses prove quite popular at carol services! I play the piano – not especially well, but would love to play the harp … Just a little one that I can transport around to folk evenings in country pubs…

…I love doing voiceovers and would like to do more cartoon characters – A trip to Disney to record at the studios in Hollywood would be nice. I used to run past them when I was in LA but never plucked up the courage to call in… 

… I was one of three finalists for World Book Day Storytelling Superstar this year, and I was pleased to be commended by the royal attendee, Camilla Parker Bowles, for my ability to captivate hundreds of primary school children. It was easy really, I just played myself in a past life – ‘Miss Steel’ on that day.

Please take a look at Kate’s website: http://www.katesteel.com/
Thanks for visiting my blog
Samantha x

Beside the See Side

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