2020 Festival Cancellation

RWB Arts Festival

Dear All,

The Royal Wootton Bassett Arts Festival Committee regrets to announce that it will not be possible to go ahead this year due to concerns presented by Covid19. We are proud that over the years the Festival has grown to become a fun and thriving event with an estimated 1,400 people attending over the two weekends. But we are very aware that we owe a duty of care to everyone involved in the making and running of the event including: the performers and their families, the professional adjudicators, local businesses and other organisations that support us too, and of course, our committee and other volunteers. With the safety of all of these people in mind, and having paid close attention to government guidelines, we have decided that the 2020 Festival will be cancelled.

This is a great disappointment to us and undoubtedly will be to the many people who were planning to join us in November to share their performances within our friendly atmosphere. It was going to be an exciting year for RWB Arts Festival, too. It would have been just the second year that Musical Theatre would have featured and this year we planned to launch a brand NEW DANCE Section. Undeterred we will back in 2021 and the DANCE Section will be unveiled then!

The dates for the Festival in 2021 are 20th & 21st November for Musical Theatre and Speech and Drama, and 27th & 28th November for Music and Dance. We are looking forward to welcoming everyone back to the RWBAF in 2021.

Wishing you all well,

The RWB Arts Festival Team.

Top 10s for our 10th Year of Speech and Drama!

As part of our 10 year celebrations for Speech and Drama Festival this year, we are exploring Top Tens!

Both on-line and at the Festival, we will be suggesting our favourite Top Tens for Classical Novels, Poets, and Teen Reads, and others! Have a look when you visit our Festival next weekend (16th and 17th November).

Perhaps you have your own top ten favourites?

Meet Craig Ogden: Our 2019 Classical Guitarist Adjudicator

Australian born guitarist Craig Ogden is one of the most exciting artists of his generation. He studied guitar from the age of seven and percussion from the age of thirteen. He is the youngest instrumentalist to have received a Fellowship Award from the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester.

One of the UK’s most recorded guitarists, his recordings for Virgin/EMI, Chandos, Nimbus, Hyperion, Sony and Classic FM have received wide acclaim. Craig’s five Classic FM albums all shot straight to No.1 in the UK classical chart and he is one of Classic FM’s most played artists.
Craig Ogden has performed concertos with all the main UK orchestras plus many abroad. He regularly appears as soloist and chamber musician at major venues and collaborates with the UK’s top artists and ensembles. Craig enjoys performing new works for guitar and gives the world premiere of a concerto written for him by Andy Scott with the Northern Chamber Orchestra in Manchester in November 2017. Composers David Knotts and Geoffrey Gordon are also writing concertos for Craig. He has presented programmes on BBC Radio 3, BBC Northern Ireland and ABC Classic FM (Australia).

Craig Ogden is Head of Guitar at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, Visiting Lecturer at London’s Royal College of Music, Adjunct Fellow of the University of Western Australia, Associate Artist of The Bridgewater Hall in Manchester, Curator of Craig Ogden’s Big Guitar Weekend at The Bridgewater Hall and Director of the Dean & Chadlington Summer Music Festival.

Meet Andrew Hansford: Our 2019 Piano Adjudicator

Andrew, born in Berkshire, UK, holds UK music degrees from Surrey ((UniS), Guildford), Bristol and Cambridge (St Catharine’s College) universities, and with the Open University (OU) (both a BA (Hons) in Humanities with Music with First-Class Honours and a Postgraduate Certificate in Humanities with Music (PGCert (OU)) with Distinction) in addition to an MMus(Perf) from Bath Spa University (BSU), UK with Distinction in which Andrew specialised in Performance as a piano accompanist, as well as the ARCM, ARCO, LRSM, LGSM, LTCL, FLCM music-diplomas (awarded mostly in piano accompaniment/performance) and the FRSA.

A performing classical pianist, specialising in piano accompaniment* relatively early on whilst at school, he is also an organist, a harpsichordist (focusing mainly in accompaniment in both these instruments as well) and a choral singer (tenor).

Andrew is an active international ABRSM Examiner (classical/grades/ARSM performance-diploma), a former CT ABRSM Mentor (piano) and a former ABRSM Jazz Examiner, an active international BIFF Music Adjudicator and has been accepted as a panel-member (in reserve) to examine GCSE Music (appraising/listening (written) paper) with WJEC (CBAC) Eduqas. A committed and experienced piano/jazz piano tutor (at all ages/levels and in a wide variety of different learning-environments since 1990), Andrew is a permanent Visiting Piano/Jazz Piano Tutor with a part-time post at two UK independent schools in both Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire, a permanent part-time Visiting Music Tutor position (in various capacities) at a Music Academy in Oxfordshire, UK and also gives piano tuition privately on a consultative/occasional basis.

In preparation for a UK university Music full-time lecturing-post, Andrew is presently researching for a PhD (in Music) at St John’s College, University of Durham, UK with a doctoral-dissertation on the musicological subject entitled: ‘A Study of the Carol’ and also continues to enjoy occasional (advanced) piano accompaniment studies at the Royal College of Music (RCM), London, UK (externally) with Gordon Fergus-Thompson, international concert-pianist as part of Andrew’s own ongoing professional development.

Andrew has always had a real affinity for both choral and vocal music, nurtured since beginning his musical upbringing as a UK Cathedral Choir School nine-year-old boy-chorister, and he continually takes special pleasure in accompanying choirs, choral-ensembles and singers, and is also one of the resident organists at a local church in Dorchester-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, UK near to where he lives.

Particularly adept in the art of improvisation and also having periodically explored composition (which has led to a number of non-published (and personal) compositions to date), Andrew’s preferred choice of instrument for his performance as a piano accompanist is a Steinway Model D.

*and collaborative piano

Meet Elizabeth Emberson: Our 2019 Singing Adjudicator

Soprano soloist, choral conductor and voice teacher, Elizabeth began singing lessons with Betty Middleton when she was eleven years old, and quickly established herself on the Festivals circuit in the North of England, winning many prizes in the process. At eighteen she went to the Guildhall School of Music, where she studied with Joyce Newton and Anna Berenska, spending a year on the Opera Course there.

Whilst at the Guildhall she won the English Song Prize, was a semi- finalist in the Susan Longfield Award and gained several scholarships for further study.

On leaving the Guildhall, she studied with Erich Vertheer and John Kitchener. Using her maiden name (Watson), Elizabeth’s singing career took her all over England, France and Eire, before she decided to concentrate on her teaching career.

She now teaches at a highly respected girls’ school in Oxford.

Meet Carol Schroder: our 2019 Speech and Drama Adjudicator

Working in the professional theatre, television and cabaret, Carol produced her one woman show. She teaches presentation skills in commerce and industry and has taught ESL, SEN and drama at schools and colleges including Guildford School of Acting, Grandison College and, for 22 years, at Italia Conti Academy of Performing Arts and, until 2007, Croham Hurst School, Croydon.

Carol is an adjudicator for The British and International Federation of Festivals and examines for LAMDA throughout the UK, Ireland and worldwide. Writing “The Discussion” 1&2 for LAMDA, she contributed to its Musical Theatre syllabus and “Musical Theatre – Exploring The World Through Song”. She was a trustee of Voice Care Network UK.

Meet Ann Newson: our 2019 Speech and Drama Adjudicator

Drama and performance have been Ann’s life’s passion. She made her first stage appearance at the age of five and has since performed in many leading roles. She studied Speech and Drama at the Royal Academy of Music for three years. She then pursued a career in teaching and lecturing in Drama Colleges and schools in London and Southern England. Her forte is directing plays and musicals for adults and children.

Ann is a member of the LAMDA Board of examiners. She has examined all the disciplines in the syllabus throughout the United Kingdom and in Australia, America, Dubai, France, Hong Kong, Japan, Kenya, Kuwait, Singapore, South Africa, Spain and Sri Lanka. She has been on several LAMDA syllabus committees and edited some of their publications. She runs her own training company specialising in Public Speaking and Presentation Skills for business people.

She strongly believes that it is so important to encourage young people to communicate verbally and confidently. This is a life skill for their future. Festivals give them such a valuable opportunity to develop this skill

As a member of the British and International Federation of Festivals for Music, Dance and Speech she has adjudicated throughout England, Northern Ireland, Eire, Guernsey and Hong Kong.