Speech & Drama and Musical Theatre: Kim Gilbert, Vivienne Redford, Rebecca Thompson, Jenny Thornton; Guitar: Helen Sanderson; Singing: Maria Jagusz; Piano: Ailsa Howarth; Instrumental: Richard Haslam; Dance: Jodie Clark
Vivienne is Head of Speech and Drama at a large independent girl’s school in Bedford and she is also the Principal of the Redford School of Speech and Drama. For the past eighteen years, she has organised and directed a widely-acclaimed summer school for students aged 7 to 21, which culminates in a commissioned play written for, and performed by, the students who attend. Vivienne is an examiner for the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, a member of the Society of Teachers of Speech and Drama and an Adjudicator member of the British and International Federation of Festivals travelling extensively throughout the UK, Ireland and the Channel Islands. She is Vice-President of the Bedfordshire Festival of Music, Speech and Drama. Vivienne is looking forward to adjudicating at the Festival and hopes that it will be a memorable and happy occasion for all those taking part.
Jenny trained at the Guildhall School of Music and has led the Performing Arts Teams in large Comprehensives, been an Assistant Principal for Edexcel, LAMDA examiner and now enjoys running her own Performance Centre with ages from 4 years to adults delivering drama, dance and musical theatre, and also writing. Her play called “Gone” gained a Commended when performed at The Orange Tree Theatre in Richmond as did her most recent play “Young Love”. She was delighted when LAMDA chose her pieces for their acting anthology. Jenny is looking forward to visiting the Royal Wootton Bassett Arts Festival and making it a very positive experience for all concerned. “Drama is a life skill…We can give our children no better opportunity.”
Rebecca has worked for BBC Radio Four’s Drama Department, reading and assessing new scripts and also researching Radio Four Documentaries. Rebecca studied for her Licentiate Teacher’s Diploma and has been teaching Speech and Drama privately and in schools for over 18 years. Rebecca now runs a thriving speech and drama practice in Bristol, teaching both children and adults. A voice and presentation skills coach in the region, Rebecca also teaches in private and state schools, colleges and businesses and is a facilitator for Speaking and Listening Courses in the South Gloucestershire region. 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. Rebecca is thrilled to be returning to the Royal Wootton Bassett Arts Festival this year.
Kim originally trained as a professional actress at GSA and studied for an LGSM at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama. After acting professionally for many years in a range of TV, voiceover and theatre work, Kim has dedicated the past 35 years to teaching and directing plays and musical productions. Kim also examined for LAMDA for a number of years and runs her own drama studio which specialises in developing excellence in all forms of performance and communication. Kim has recently compiled and written a range of acting books suited for festival and audition work. Kim believes in encouraging students to participate at Speech & Drama Festivals. She feels that performing at local Festivals provides a vital learning experience for young people.
Helen is a performer, educator, arranger, composer and creative entrepreneur in guitar studies at RWCMD. Helen’s international performing career has centred on chamber music with performances at the Southbank Centre, Kings Place and the Guitar Foundation of America. She has made CD recordings with the VIDA Guitar Quartet, James Bowman and Mark Wilde. She is founder of the music charity, Guitar Circus, and her work is regularly chosen for the Trinity College Exam Board for whom she was a consultant in 2019, and for the ABRSM. Helen was also a consultant for the London College of Music Exam Board in 2020. She has often appeared on competition juries including BBC Young Musician of the Year, Guitar Foundation of America, the Sky Arts televised series “Guitar Star” etc. She has toured extensively giving notable performances across the US and in Europe.
Maria trained as a dancer before taking up a place at the Royal Northern College of Music where she was awarded the Ricordi Prize for Opera. Further scholarships enabled her to continue her studies at the National Opera Studio. As a singer Maria has worked as soloist for most of the leading opera companies in the U.K. and Europe She has performed with many of the world’s leading singers including Domingo, Carreras, Freni and Dame Felicity Lott. As a teacher Maria runs her own private teaching practice, and she is vocal consultant for The International College of Music Theatre in London. She is founder of MJ-UK Music and Arts. For MJ-UK she has directed Carmen, Bastien and Bastienne, Dido and Aneas, Les Miserables, West Side Story etc. Maria also works for Longborough Festival Opera.
Ailsa was a multiple prize-winner at the Royal Academy of Music, where she studied the piano with Max Pirani. A Norwegian Government Scholarship enabled her to study Norwegian music at Oslo University, and she followed this with a degree in Music and Norwegian at the University of East Anglia. She has taught at Downe House School, Berkshire, Cheltenham College Junior School and Dean Close School Cheltenham. Currently Ailsa teaches piano at Cheltenham Ladies’ College, as well as in her highly regarded private practice. Her performance experience includes solo recital and accompaniment work in the UK and Europe. Fear of iPads (!) led to her recent retirement from examining Diplomas and Grades for the ABRSM after 35 years.
Richard studied at Sussex University for a degree in Education, specialising in Music and also at the Royal College of Music where he gained a Diploma in Pianoforte Teaching and a Distinction in Grade 8 singing. Richard was Director of Music at Burgess Hill School for Girls for nearly thirty years where he taught to A level as well as running extra-curricular activities including Chamber groups, Choirs and Orchestras. He has recently retired from full time teaching. Richard has taught piano and singing to Diploma standard and has also been a Moderator for GCSE Music and an examiner for A Level Music. Richard examines for the ABRSM and has completed a number of overseas tours. Richard ran his own “Cantemus” for over twenty years and raised over £300,000 for charity. He enjoys singing 1st Tenor in the Stratford-upon-Avon Chamber Choir.
Jodie has enjoyed a diverse performing career across many genres appearing in commissioned work for Dance Umbrella to open the new British Library and travelling worldwide on luxury cruise liners as well as many pantomime and summer seasons both in the UK and Europe. At The BRIT School she teaches a range of techniques and writes, choreographs and directs performance work. She is a guest lecturer at Lougborough University. Jodie’s freelance engagements include teaching and mentoring under the banner of the ISTD, examining for The Urdang Theatre and Dance Syllabus and creating for various corporate events, flash mobs and pantomimes. She is an Adjudicator member of The British and International Federation of Festivals and All England Dance. Jodie has been a keynote speaker for the FA Talent ID Conference and is passionate about potential, creativity and motivation.