Back to Insights

Experiences that made me Sarah Yates

17 August 2021

In this series, we ask Imagination talent all about the experiences that have made them who they are. First up is Sarah Yates, our Senior Project Manager based in Dubai.

To sum me up...

Camping, beach volleyball, hiking, diving and paddleboarding, pretty much anything outdoors and a bit of an adventure – I’m in! I hate bananas and baked beans but love wine, dark chocolate and my new rescue dog sunny!

The experience that has influenced me most is...

The immersive theatre work by Dreamthinkspeak and Punchdrunk is definitely a big inspiration of mine. Before I sleep and Faust are both amazing shows!


The work I'm most proud of is...

Being part of the London Olympics Opening and Closing Ceremony production team was definitely one of my proudest moments. Going from running my own art festivals to being part of an international team at this scale was incredible! It was a whirlwind of celebrities, 10,000’s of daily meal prep for cast and workforce, working across three venues simultaneously, crazy long days and endless bizarre requests. Loved every moment of it! Standing from the vom of the stadium watching the show in the dress rehearsal brought a tear (or two!) to my eye, an insane but incredible event to work on!


The experience I wish I had created is...

Glastonbury would be epic of course! However, to be honest I have been super lucky to be involved in some incredible projects from running my own festivals on a shoestring budget to huge international events – London 2012, Sochi 2014, Glasgow 2014, Baku 2015, Rugby WorldCup 2015, Special Olympics 2019, F1 Abu Dhabi 2015 and multiple festivals, NYE’s and mass sporting / cultural events across Australia, UAE and UK. In the future, I’d love to be involved in more large scale projects that are not only amazing one-off events but also create genuine long term societal change.

The piece of work that makes me cringe is...

A night race that required more security and police support than expected due to a crazy large young crowd that decided to jump the fence line and take part for free! Took a while to control and although not particularly cringe-worthy, but it wasn’t an enjoyable experience!

What’s next?

Currently, I am working on a major sporting event happening in the Middle East next year, and lucky to be working with such an incredible team both at Imagination and within the wider consortium to strategically design a range of visitor experiences. I love major events and always looking to learn more! This consulting role has enabled me to utilise and develop my skill sets from operations/production to project management and strategic thinking.

I would advise my 18-year-old self to...

Keep adventurous and be excited about growth. Find a mentor and learn the ropes to get to where you want to be. Understand where you are and be excited about all the twists and turns that are about to come.

Written by

Imagination logo on black background


Experience Company