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Award Winner

Adjudicators - 19th March 2023

Please find below details of our fantastic rock and pop adjudicators for this year's festival.  

Marie McNally


Marie McNally started her music career as a classical clarinettist, studying with major performers such as David Campbell (BBC clarinettist and the man behind the 1992 Rhapsody in Blue Galaxy advert) and working with orchestras including the English Symphony Orchestra, and the Midland Sinfonia. Marie has performed and recorded chamber music with various ensembles, including original work with Quartette Lunoire, and the jazz based Little Rumba (clarinet, saxophone and vocals). As a saxophonist and vocalist, she was a founder member of the successful UK Pink Floyd Experience, and more recently The George Michael Story. She also plays with the saxophone duo Saximised, freelances on clarinet and saxophone, performs solo from Ibiza style DJ Sax to Jazz, and is equally happy on a vast theatre stage or in a small intimate venue.  


As a music educator, Marie has been a successful instrumental teacher for 24 years. She has been an examiner for Trinity College London since 2003, and has run professional development sessions for Trinity and for music services since 2013. She has been course director for the Certificate of Music Educators course, first with the Elgar School of Music, and more recently as the Academic Director Music Educators Online. Marie obtained her PhD early this year. Her area of interest is how music affects motivation, and how this can be used to support holistic interventions and therapies. 

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We are also thrilled to be welcoming the team from Mello Festival to select two bands or groups to perform at Mello at the end of May! A fantastic opportunity for all of our entrants!

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Maryrose Swarbrick

Maryrose is a UK based actor and teacher. She has worked across radio,film and television, and has performed and directed everything from pantomime to Shakespeare in the theatre. She particularly enjoys working with new writers and in musical theatre. Her voice was opera-trained by former Covent Garden soloist Brian Geldard.

She founded Stage Door School of Performing Arts and Stage Door Theatre Company with her two daughters. For 16 years, she also held the position of Head of Drama at St. Mary’s Hall, Stonyhurst College.

As Maryrose continues to work in the industry, she is well placed to support and encourage the young (and not-so-young!) in all aspects of dance and drama, a mission enhanced in recent years by her role as adjudicator with The British and International Federation of Festivals. Her students have attended the most prestigious UK conservatoires including RADA, ARTS ED, LSMT and Mountview.

Maryrose is happy to adjudicate both in person and online.

Kevin Brookes

Kevin is adjudicating the Write and Perform a Short Story sections this year.

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Catherine Swire

Catherine lives on the Malvern Hills with her family and big dog. She read English at Oxford and went on to postgraduate study in Canada.  Her collection of poems, Soil, published by the Artel Press and illustrated by Russian artist, Marina Kolchanova, explores the way that trauma is translated by landscape.  Soil provides maps of walks around trauma-sites that explore local myths and history as well as the stupor of loss.  Now in their third edition, the poems were featured on Radio 4’s Ramblings and at Ledbury Poetry Festival. May this year will see an exhibition in Worcester Cathedral of drawings in response, by landscape artist Bridget Macdonald.  Catherine has led poetry workshops from Kent to the Highlands. She is a qualified teacher and teaches young adults.  Her prize winning book of prose and poetry Ash, Flame, Feather will be published by Black Spring Press in May.

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