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Award Winner

Adjudicators - 18th March 2023

Please find below details of our fantastic poetry, prose and drama adjudicators for this year's festival.  

Rebecca Thompson

On graduating from Bristol University with a degree in Drama and English, Rebecca worked for BBC Radio Four’s Drama Department. After further journalism and corporate work, Rebecca studied for her Licentiate Teacher’s Diploma and has been teaching Speech and Drama privately and in schools for over 25 years.

Additionally a voice and presentation skills coach in the region, she teaches in private and state schools, colleges and businesses and is a facilitator for Speaking and Listening Courses in the South Gloucestershire region; in addition she facilitates communication training in schools across the country.

Rebecca has been actively involved in theatre in the South West and is an Adjudicator for the Rose Bowl Awards for Amateur Drama and Music; she also continues to direct plays with young people.

Rebecca is passionate about developing communication skills amongst people of all ages and abilities; she sees the Festival movement as an excellent way of achieving this goal. Rebecca has adapted her teaching methods during recent months and is very happy to adjudicate in person or online.

Rebecca Vines

Rebecca read journalism at Cardiff University, during which time she wrote a weekly column for The Guardian newspaper. She continues to work for a range of publications as a features writer, ghost writer, and theatre critic.

Rebecca then studied as an actor at the London Centre for Theatre Studies; and her theatre credits include off-West End, Fringe, tour, educational theate and voiceover. Favourite roles include Maggie (Dancing at Lughnasa); Elizabeth (The Crucible); Beverley (Abigail’s Party); Madame Arcati (Blithe Spirit); Martha (Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?)

Rebecca trained as a specialist drama teacher at The Guildhall. She has taught in a range of primary, secondary and tertiary educational institutions for the last twenty years; and is the Principal of her own drama school, which operates internationally. Rebecca’s pupils have been awarded places at major conservatoires and bodies such as RADA, LAMDA, Central, Royal Academy of Music, Royal College of Music, Guildhall, Bristol Old Vic, Mountview, East 15, Guildford, AADA, Royal Birmingham, the Oxford School of Drama, National Youth Theatre, and the National Youth Music Theatre. Their work can be seen on the BBC, ITV, Sky, C4, E4, Netflix, Working Title, National Theatre, RSC, and with countless touring theatre companies in the UK and abroad.

Rebecca sits on the Adjudicator’s Council for the British and International Federation of Festivals; on the Awards Panel for the UKPA; and is a LAMDA, GCSE and A level examiner.

In 2014, Rebecca was awarded the prestigious Fellowship of the Royal Society of Arts in recognition of her work in the youth theatre sector. Rebecca is passionate about helping performers take their first professional steps, and helps emerging talents to form and manage their own theatre companies. As such, Close Up Theatre, No Prophet Theatre, and Eleventh Hour Theatre have all played to critical and commercial acclaim at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival: kickstarting careers and forging critical industry networking opportunities.

Rebecca’s productions have played to critical acclaim and commercial success at the Edinburgh Fringe since 2023. In addition to directing and producing over thirty thirty sell-out shows at the Fringe; Rebecca has adapted classics such as 1984, Jane Eyre, Emma, and Pride and Prejudice for the stage; and has written the original works More Myself Than I Am, Torn, Coward Conscience, and OTMA.

Rebecca is currently working on a PhD based around Shakespeare’s history plays; and she is passionate about inclusivity and diversity in the Arts, spending her free time ‘making things happen’ for people who would otherwise have no agency within the creative sector.

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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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