Adjudicator Spotlight Archive

October 2023

This month we are shining the spotlight on Mary Ann Tear, who's adjudicating story took her all over the world from Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia. She's now back living in the Isle of Wight and here to share her story.

Mary Ann Tear - Speech and Drama Adjudicator

I'm Mary Ann and I've had the privilege of being a BIFF Speech and Drama Adjudicator since 2005 and I have thoroughly enjoyed every moment of this journey so far and I look forward to many more wonderful and fulfilling times!

How did it all begin?

My own journey with the festival movement began when I was 7 years old, and I moved from Sussex to Yorkshire. My mother encouraged me to participate as she thought it would help me to make friends seeing as I was an only child. How right she was! However, I think both my parents had no idea what they had started because I really was not interested in the Craft classes but relished the Drama, Dance, and all the Performance classes both as an individual and within a group. So much so that at the age of 16 I announced to my parents that I wanted to do this as a profession! I was greeted with an intake of breath, and I seem to remember that the words “proper job” passed my father’s lips!

But they agreed on the understanding that I went to London and did a Teaching Course first and that, I must say, was one of the best pieces of advice I ever had. Throughout my career I have balanced the performance and teaching and all those experiences have helped me to develop creatively and to become an avid supporter of the value of the Arts within education.

Where have you performed?

I have performed in straight plays, musicals and contemporary dance pieces and then I graduated to choreography and direction. I treasure the breadth of the training that I had at the London College of Dance and Drama, as this has enabled me to be part of a wide range of activities. The most recent of which has been director for several shows for a contemporary chamber opera company whose mission was to make opera more accessible to the mainstream audience by performing recent works that were short, in English and humorous.

I have taught in schools, studios, and universities and seen many changes in the education system both here in the UK and in Asia where I was based as a consultant for Trinity College London for 13 years. During that time, I co-founded the Singapore Performing Arts Festival as well as adjudicating in Malaysia, Sri Lanka, and Hong Kong.

Have you returned to the UK?

I am delighted to be back in the UK living in Seaview in the Isle of Wight which was my mother’s home and I have so many happy memories of summers spent here throughout my childhood and visits on a regular basis from wherever I was living be it Kent, Hertfordshire or Sussex.

I am a firm believer that we never stop learning and I have returned to education several times throughout my career but as an adjudicator I learn something fresh or see something familiar from a new perspective every time I am asked to a Festival.

View Mary Ann's Biography