Adjudicator Spotlight

We know that it is an extremely challenging time for all our members at the moment. Many festivals that were due to take place over the next few months have had to be cancelled or postponed to keep people safe. 

As always, the Federation is committed to supporting all of our members through this difficult period. We felt that it was important to continue with our Adjudicator Spotlight feature, not only to highlight our fantastic adjudicator members to our amazing festivals, but to also reinforce the message that the festival movement will pull together during this period of challenge.

20th March 2020

David Beer

Music Adjudicator

Having conducted and played professionally on West End and international touring shows, I now love teaching singing and piano, and working with amateur choirs both as a conductor and accompanist. I also formed my own chamber choir 7 years ago and have really enjoyed working on a very challenging repertoire with them.

I have fond memories of the various music festivals I entered as a pianist when I was learning to play, and that set me on the path of becoming a professional musician and teacher.

I really enjoy my adjudicating work and have seen many wonderful and astonishing piano and vocal performances. I am passionate about getting young people performing and hope that festivals will always be there to allow them to flourish as musicians.

My wife is an oboist and singer and we often perform together. I love what I do and want to encourage others to do so too.

You can find out more about David by clicking the link below.

View David's Biography


Kate Martin

Dance Adjudicator

I became an adjudicator in March 2019 and have so far adjudicated at two BIFF festivals. I wanted to adjudicate because of the wonderful experiences that both my children and I had as performers in dance competitions.

I believe an adjudicator should provide friendly but helpful feedback, should be able to both educate and entertain the performers and audience and, above all, that praise (with constructive criticism) is the key to improvement.

I consider it a privilege to be able to watch and comment on the fantastic work we see at dance festivals, and to work alongside the dedicated festival organisers.

Having been on a festival committee myself for many years, I feel that I approach adjudication from a collaborative point of view. I am flexible and always friendly in my approach. So far, I have had lovely feedback from teachers, parents, performers and organisers alike.

The photo to the left was taken before my Primary RAD ballet exam (I was Janet Palmer’s first pupil).

You can find out more about Kate by clicking the link below.

View Kate's Biography


Eleanor McLeod

Speech Adjudicator

Eleanor McLeod comes from Swansea where she gained a love of performing and the spoken word through the LAMDA examinations, gaining her teaching diploma. She was a
professional actress for more than twenty years, frequently presenting Shakespeare to schools all over the world.

Eleanor is currently a teacher of Speech and Drama, a member of the LAMDA Examining Board and a BIFF adjudicator. She still performs and as a writer, has had two books of her poems published and a selection of monologues and duologues for young performers.

Eleanor is always pleased to share the talent of young Festival performers as their enthusiasm is a joy. She is passionate about nurturing the spoken word in this age of digital communication. Eleanor believes that interaction with them is such a pleasure when praising their work. She also loves hearing her own pieces performed!

You can find out more about Eleanor by clicking the link below.

View Eleanor's Biography


27th February 2020

Jonathan Owen

Speech Adjudicator

I trained as a music and drama teacher, then became an actor. 


10 years as Terry Barford in ‘The Archers’. ‘Singin’ In The Rain’ at the London Palladium with Tommy Steele, which then went to Tokyo!

'All Creatures Great and Small', 'Heartbeat',' London’s Burning' and 'Emmerdale.  However, the most enjoyable was playing the Reverend Ashbourne in Coronation Street when Norris, Emily, Roy and Rita all got high on cannabis cakes! 

30 years as a pantomime dame! (To hear an audience roaring with laughter is so rewarding!).

My most embarrassing moment

Starting to cry in the middle of an adjudication because a performance was SO amazing! 

My secret hobby

Playing the piano accordion. (Apologies to my neighbours).

My thanks to all my loyal festivals who keep asking me back. They say that I am ‘slightly different’ as I can advise the kids on how to ‘Get onstage and do it!’

You can find out more about Jonathan by clicking the link below. 

View Jonathan's Biography


Iona Zuiderwijk

Music Adjudicator

I might be the only adjudicator who has been in many prisons as in another life I was a probation officer/social worker, before resuming a career in music.

My favourite place on earth is Shetland. As an examiner I beg to be sent there as often as is allowable.

I love adjudicating. Having had many of my own pupils enjoy taking part in the Oundle festival, I never envisaged myself being on the other side of the desk until I was much older, like now.

I have recently started to exhibit and sell my felted artwork. Having failed Art O' Level, it gives me a lot of pleasure to now show others how to create a scarf, a picture or an animal.

You can find out more about Iona by clicking the link below. 

View Iona's Biography



Jill Baldock

Dance Adjudicator


When I am adjudicating, I feel every performance from young to old, from beginners through to advanced.

I have experienced so many wonderful festivals as a performer, and I know the joy it brings to everyone involved.

I have been given so many super theatrical experiences and recently have turned my expertise to being a movement coach for musicians from The Royal Academy. Let me give you a quote from one mature student: "I have never met anyone with so much charisma"!!!!!!

I'm not sure my six grandkids would say that!!!

You can find out more about Jill by clicking the link below

View Jill's Biography