The Festival appoints Adjudicators for each class. These are generally nationally renowned and appointed via the British and International Federation of Festivals for Music, Drama & Speech.  We ask our adjudicators to give praise, encouragement and constructive criticism in appropriate balance.  We hope that all performers will be encouraged and motivated by the adjudicators’ comments to further develop and advance their skills.

Our Adjudicators for 2018 

Speech & Drama Section                       

Stephen Owen


Stephen trained as a teacher of drama, speech and movement at Trinity and All Saints’ College, University of Leeds. After qualifying, he studied with Eliner Rutherford. As well as being responsible for drama at the schools in which he worked, he also taught pupils of all ages and abilities privately, from complete beginners to Licentiate (RAM) and Fellowship (LCM) level. Since retiring from headship in July 2007, he has been appointed as an examiner for the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA) and is an adjudicator for The British and International Federation of Festivals.

Music Section  

 Helen Deakin    - Piano

Helen gained a 1st class degree from the Royal Academy of Music (piano and clarinet, joint first study) and a PGCE from Durham University. She also has considerable experience of solo and choral singing, of both instrumental and choral directing, and of the string repertoire (her now grown up sons were NYO violin & cello principals). As an ABRSM examiner, Helen has worked extensively throughout the UK and around the world, including Europe, Hong Kong, Singapore, Korea, New Zealand and the USA. As well as examining, she is a regular presenter at the ABRSM Annual Conferences and she has presented many workshop days across the UK. As a member of the ABRSM Professional Development Panel, she has worked with instrumental teachers in the UK and overseas. Helen is also an adjudicator member of The British and International Federation of Festivals, something she really enjoys. As a founder member of Clavis Music, Helen is much in demand, giving presentations and workshop days on all aspects of performing and teaching. She directs a series of chamber music courses and runs workshops for both pianists and piano teachers, which have proved very popular. A very experienced teacher, Helen’s specialism is chamber music. She performs as a soloist and as an accompanist and with many chamber groups and orchestras.




- Vocal and Community Choirs


 Luan Shaw    -  Woodwind

Luan has been an adjudicator member of the British and International Federation of Festivals since 2001 (woodwind and generalist). An alumna of Birmingham Conservatoire (1990-1994) Luan was awarded honorary membership (HonBC) in 2001, soon after completing an MA in Psychology for Musicians at the University of Sheffield. Luan’s portfolio career has included regular engagements with CBSO and Longborough Festival Opera, chamber music broadcasts on BBC radio, concerto appearances, over 25 years teaching experience at Birmingham Conservatoire Junior School, music services and independent schools (including a Head of Music position), delivering hundreds of interactive workshops for Live Music Now, Music in Hospitals, Lost Chord (dementia), early years settings, primary and special schools, training children’s choirs and moderating for AQA. Alongside adjudicating, Luan is a Diploma examiner for ABRSM and co-principal clarinet with Orchestra of the Swan.  Luan is also Senior Lecturer at Birmingham Conservatoire where her roles are Head of Pedagogy and Community Engagement, APD Professional Performance Course Director and Assistant Director of Postgraduate Studies. She was awarded Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy in 2015.

- Percussion


- School Choirs



- Brass, Orchestras & Bands