Board of Trustees

Chair of the Board of Trustees

Steven Roberts

Steven Roberts

Steven has been a music adjudicator for 18 years; has sat on the Adjudicators Council and in 2020 was re-elected for his third term of office to the Board of Trustees. He is a busy professional; conducting, teaching and lecturing. He brings with him experience as a manager, knowledge of quality systems, business acumen and many years of leading change.

He has successfully combined a career in education with his work as a conductor, musical director and adjudicator, working both in this country and in Europe and as far a field as Peru and Bahrain.
Steven has conducted numerous concerts throughout this country but also in Germany, France, Italy and the Czech Republic and with a variety of Choirs, ensembles and orchestras, winds bands and brass bands.
He studied piano, brass and voice and has worked in a variety of musical settings. He has worked alongside actors and dancers on many projects and is keen to support the work of the Federation to maximise opportunities for performance. He enjoys working with his colleagues on the Board and the wider community of volunteers that help to keep our Festivals vibrant.

Having previously held the post of Director of External Relations at Barnsley College he has excellent communication skills and enjoys collaborative working.

Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees

Deborah Norris

Deborah Norris

A graduate of Elmhurst Ballet School, Deborah continued her training at the University College of Ripon and York St John, and completed her MA in Dance Studies at De Montfort University, under the supervision of Ramsay Burt. She then gained a scholarship to study at the Jose Limon Institute of Contemporary Dance, in New York. She has worked internationally as a dancer, teacher and choreographer in both Musical Theatre and Contemporary Dance contexts. Deborah is a Lecturer in Dance at Edge Hill University specialising in teaching Limon-Based Technique and Ballet for Contemporary dancers. As an early career researcher Deborah is a PhD candidate at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Glasgow, and is exploring narratives in contemporary ballet.

Deborah is a committee member for the Society of Dance Research and a board member and adjudicator for the British and International Federation of Festivals, and All England Dance.

Joining the Federation as a Dance adjudicator in 2009 Deborah has been constantly inspired by the wealth of artistic talent seen at festivals on an international scale each year. At this uncertain time, Debroah believes more than ever, that arts education, performance and creativity is a vital part of our human existence and that festivals offer a platform for performing artists to develop their artistic self.

Deborah is a committee member for Nelson Dance Festival and enjoys working with the committee to offer an engaging and welcoming annual dance festival in the North West of England.

Deborah was elected onto the Board of Trustees five years ago and since then has been privileged to work alongside Steven Roberts and the members of the Board to support the vision and direction of the Federation.

During her time on the Board Deborah has introduced and established the Young Ambassadors scheme, which is bringing a new generation of volunteers to a range of festivals. This endeavour has highlighted the need to acknowledge the importance of having a youth voice within our organisational structure, an area for continued development.

More recently Deborah worked with fellow adjudicators Nathan James and Jodie Clarke, to initiate and develop the ‘Tea & Talk’ series at a time when communication was much needed for members across the Federation. This enabled an opportunity to share good practice and reflect upon our adjudicators roles and ambitions for the future, whilst ensuring members of the Federation were able to navigate the new virtual festival landscape and engage with technological advancements.

Deborah is the first woman to assume this role of Vice Chair for many years and is keen to continue her work with fellow Board Members to ensure the future of the Federation.


Honorary Treasurer and Member of the Board of Trustees

John Logan

John’s links to the festival movement began first as a parent, later managing the finances of his wife’s dance school, and subsequently as a member, and Secretary, of his local festival committee; where he gained experience in the organisation and running of festivals.  Since January 2013 he has been a member of the Board of Trustees, and was elected Honorary Treasurer in October 2014.

His background in the finance and banking sector provides a further dimension to the range of skills that exist within the Board of Trustees.  Following early retirement from work he maintains a keen interest in the voluntary sector, and in addition to his work with the Federation he acts as a volunteer advocate for local charities.

Members of the Board of Trustees

Paul Hill

Paul spent his working life in passenger transport, serving for over 20 years as Managing Director of a large bus company in Lincolnshire. Under Paul’s leadership, the company moved from a parlous financial state to solid profitability and won awards for innovative transport solutions in rural areas. Alongside that, he has been a lifelong performer in both music and speech and drama disciplines and took part for many years in the Lincoln Festival. In 2006, he became Chairman of the Lincoln Music and Drama Festival and feels extremely fortunate to be able to indulge his passion for the arts in a constructive role. He was invited to join the Board of Trustees of The British and International Federation of Festivals at the beginning of 2013, and brings to the table sound business knowledge as well as the experience and enthusiasm of running a successful Festival.

Priscilla Morris

Priscilla became involved in the festival movement in the early 1970’s when she began entering students from her drama school at the Nuneaton Festival of Arts. She supported this local festival for the next 40 years until her daughter took over the mantle in 2013.

She trained at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama and was a member of the LAMDA examining board for 34 years, which enabled her to travel worldwide. In 2021 Priscilla will reach her 30th year as a Speech and Drama adjudicator for the British and International Federation of Festivals, for whom she has worked throughout the UK and Ireland, Bermuda, Sri Lanka and Hong Kong.

In 1996 her book “Introducing Shakespeare to Young People” was published by Oberon books. She currently has three books of duologues with Methuen and publication is expected in 2022. Alongside her teaching, Priscilla has acted in and directed over 40 plays and pantomimes and since 2013 she has been a guest speaker on P&O Cruises where she lectures on performance in Literature and Theatre.

Priscilla had a change of direction in 2000 when her business voice coaching company Loud & Clear was founded. This introduced her to marketing, networking and social media and she hopes to bring her knowledge of this to the Board of Trustees, which she joined in early 2021.

She has also reconnected with the Nuneaton Festival of Arts and has become a member of the committee for the Speech and Drama section. Priscilla is honoured to be helping an organisation, which has been part of her whole working life, to move forward into its second century.

Yvonne Baisden

Yvonne has been involved in festivals for many years, initially as a dance mom, then as a volunteer, until eventually five years ago becoming co-organiser, running the Ealing Dance Festival. In 2017 Yvonne took over as Chair of the Ealing Festival of Music, Dance, Speech and Drama. This has given Yvonne a greater insight into the other disciplines within the festival movement, has helped to improve her understanding of each disciplines individual requirements and strengthened her relationship and understanding of the work done by the Federation.

Being first introduced to the Board at the beginning of the year has given Yvonne first hand experience of working directly with the Federations Trustees and staff through challenging and unpredictable times of which we have never experienced before. Yvonne looks forward to continuing her work with the Board and supporting the work of the Federation.

Clara Lane

Having enjoyed playing and touring with choirs and orchestras in her youth at an amateur level, Clara is keen to further an appreciation for the arts to anyone who is willing to give them a go. Participating and having access to the arts is an enriching experience which she is proud to support. Having grown up in Rome, she hopes to add some Italian flair, while her professional background brings additional breadth to the Board of Trustees. Clara has significant experience of financial markets working in investment banking and asset management in London and New York, and more recently in financial regulation. She hopes to bring useful skills, as well as a huge enthusiasm, to the festival movement!

Robert MacDonald

Robert participated in festivals from an early age and subsequently has some 30 years’ experience of festival organisation and development.  He was elected chairman of Glasgow Music Festival in 1991, at a time when that festival was embarking on a period of significant growth and change, and continued in that role until 2008.  Shortly afterwards, he was invited to become Honorary President of Glasgow Music Festival and is currently chair of the Federation’s Scottish Forum. 

Robert is a Chartered Accountant and works for one of the UK’s major energy companies.  In what’s left of his spare time, Robert plays cello and piano, goes to concerts and opera, and enjoys sailing.

Keith Lowe

Keith is an Information Technology Business Consultant with a specialist, Cheshire based, Digital Computerisation Company utilising Robotic Process Automation (RPA).  He was previously the Business development Director of a small lighting design and supply company.  He is an expert in performance improvement methodologies and was previously a Management Consultant with a London based Consultancy offering performance related products and services to the Public Sector.  Prior to that, he was Deputy Head of IT within the aerospace industry spending two years based in Toulouse, France.  For the previous 20 years Keith was both an IT Consultant running his own company and permanently employed within the IT industry, five years of which was spent as an IT consultant based in Brussels, Belgium.

Keith spent many years as the  Chairman of the highly prestigious Alderley Edge Music Speech and Drama Festival, is a Governor of The Alderley Edge School for Girls, sits on the Alderley Edge Parish Plan Committee and the Cheshire Police Authority Citizens Panel, and is a trustee and committee member of the Alderley Edge Institute.  Having been elected in October 2015, Keith is proud to be a Board Member and Trustee of The British and International Federation of Festivals.