Adjudicators: Speech, Drama & Mime Section
Ann has spent her working life in education teaching in secondary and primary schools, theatres, university and therapy teams, as well as examining drama and theatre studies. Ann ran her own drama school for many years, and has now returned to mainstream education and research.
Ann trained to teach under John Hodgson at Bretton Hall, his major influence was the importance of improvisation. Ann continues to be an enthusiastic teacher of improvisation for developing all performance skills.
She believes strongly in the inclusive power of drama, that it offers confidence building, team work, and the discipline of controlling body, voice – and nerves. Combining that with her love of the written word, her first degree was English; she counts herself lucky to spend her life talking about what she loves.
Currently Ann combines her teaching with doctoral research into teaching maths to young people with complex special needs. Ann is also a specialist teacher for these needs in mainstream schools as well as an adjudicator for The British and International Federation of Festivals. Drama skills are never far away in her teaching strategies.
In her spare time Ann still attends ballet and tap classes, a lifelong passion, and enjoys theatre going and precious time with her family.
Kenneth Roberts MA. BA. ATCL. PGCE.
Kenneth works as Musical Director for numerous companies at home and abroad. He has played and conducted at many prestigious venues including The Royal Albert Hall, The Festival Hall, etc. His second opera, ‘Mister Butterfly,’ which he wrote in 1 994 was premiered in Hong Kong and featured in a BBCWorld Service documentary. He also enjoys giving lecture recitals on subjects ranging from Mozart to ‘Jelly Roll’ Morton. He has worked extensively in New Hampshire, USA, on educational music projects and in 2002 fulfilled a commission from the Purcell School, with the Vaughan-Williams Trust, as part of their centenary celebrations for Sir William Walton.
Wesley Stace was born in Hastings in 1965. Music took him to America, where he released 17 albums under the name John Wesley Harding before reverting to his real name for the most recent, Self-Titled. His career has included duets with Bruce Springsteen, Lou Reed and Joan Baez among others. The New Yorker called the Cabinet of Wonders, his regular show from NYC’s City Winery, “one of the finest nights of entertainment this city has to offer.” He has also published four novels, including the international bestseller Misfortune. He lives in Philadelphia.
Ben Thompson is a music journalist and ghostwriter, who began working for the national rock press at the tender age of 18 and hasn't stopped since. He is currently co-writing a book with Steve Jones of The Sex Pistols.
Adjudicator: Jazz Fest
Adjudicators: Instrumental Section
Gillian Oswell LRAM. LGSM. GRSM (Hons)
Gillian Oswell gained her LRAM whilst still at school, and then went on to study Piano and ‘Cello at the Royal Academy of Music, where she was further awarded the LGSM diploma and GRSM(Hons)degree.
She is a fully qualified teacher and has enjoyed a long and varied career in both private and public sectors, including the Junior Department of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
Gillian has performed all over the UK as a soloist, accompanist and orchestral musician including concerts at main London venues. She has also travelled extensively teaching, adjudicating and performing in many countries around the globe. Gillian is an examiner for ABRSM.
Adjudicators: Dancing Section
Adjudicators: Singing Section
Valerie Hoppe M.B.E., G.G.S.M., L.G.S.M., A.R.C.M.
Valerie trained at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, specialising in Choral Conducting, Singing and Piano. She is widely known as a Choral Director, teacher and adjudicator, and is particularly in demand for her work with the developemnet of young voices, both in solo and choral work.
She has been responsible for the organisation, training and direction of many community performances of major choral works, including Handel's 'Messiah', Mendelssohn's 'Elijah', Haydn's 'Creation', and the Requiems of Mozart and Faure.
On many occasions he has organised and directed massed children's choirs in performances of various cantatas.
Valerie has performed with many well-known artists including the opera singer Benjamin Luxon, the percussionaist Evelyn Glennie and the cellist Julian Lloyd-Webber, as well as the major Military bands in Britain, such as the band of the Welsh Guards and the Band of the Irish Guards.
Valerie is currently director of five choirs. In addition to her work with choirs, she has a large number of singing students, ranging from beginners and many young singers to highly experienced performers. In 2003 she was awarded the M.B.E for her services to music.
Yvonne Patrick studied at the Royal Northern College of Music and began her professional career with D'Oyly Carte Opera Company performing numberous roles including Elsie (Yeomen of the Guard) and Josephine (HMS Pinafore). She joined Glyndebourne Festival Opera in 1994 and made her Festival debut in 1998. SHe made her Glyndebourne Touring Opera debut in the role of Despina (Cosi fan tutte) and in their production of The Bartered Bride she sang the role of Esmeralda which included training to be a trapeze artist! For Opera North, she sang Musetta (La Boheme). She has also worked for Welsh National Opera, Garsington Opera, Kentish Opera, Carl Rosa Opera Company, Swansea City Opera, Garden Opera, Opera Box and Opera Brava. Roles performed include Violetta (La Traviata), Fiordiligi (Cosi fan tutte), Micaela (Carmen), Pamina and First Lady (The Magic Flute), Donna Elvira (Don Giovanni), Clorinda (La Cenerentola), Cio Cio San (Madame Butterfly), Mimi (La Boheme) and Rosalinda and Adele (Die Fledermaus). On a tour of Kenya, she was the soprano soloist in a performance of Mozart's Requiem in Nairobi Cathedral. As a well-known performer of Gilbert and Sullivan, she was invited to appear as soprano soloist in the Centenary Gala Concert of the Philadelphia Savoy Company, the oldest Gilbert and Sullivan society in America. Yvonne is a regular guest performer on cruises and has also appeared on BBC Radio 2's Friday Night is Music Night. In 2010 , she performed in Bizet's Carmen, the first opera to be staged at the O2 arena.
Yvonne has worked extensively for the education departments of the major opera companies in the UK. Alongside her busy performing career, she is an adjudicator with the British Music Festival Federation and teaches privately, is an Associate Lecturer at Chichester University and Lancing College in West Sussex. Yvonne is also a keen runner completing three Brighton Marathons and has two rescue cats - Bonnie and Clyde!
Bryan studies at the Royal College of Music, London, and the Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff. He now divides his time between London and Worcester, having spent some years performing incontinental opera houses.
He teaches at Trinity Laban, runs a private teaching practice, gives workshops and masterclasses ('belting' to audition techniques), performs, adjudicates, examines for a music board, and also works as a ski instructor! Performances include tv and radio boardcasts, opera, oratorio and recital.
In 2005, Bryan was selected as a BIFF Adjudicator. Adjudication has taken him all over the world, including Hong Kong, Gibraltar and Trinidad and Tobago, and all aroun dthe UK - in 2017 so far to Worthing, Wadebridge, Taunton; later to Torbay and the Isle of Man. In 2012, Bryan was invited to become a music examiner: his most recent examining work was in New Zealand, and around the UK. His hobbies include all theatre, gardening, skiing and walking. Bryan is delighted to be at the Hastings Festival again.