The Adjudicator

Jan Palmer Sayer

Jan studied at Trent Park College and at Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance. Five years ago, she retired as Headteacher of Hertswood, a Specialist Arts College, featured in a BBC’s autumn education series with Professor Dylan Wiliam. In 1998, she was awarded an MA in Theatre and Performance Studies at the same time as running her own theatre company – Shattered Windscreen.

Her theatrical exploits have taken her as far afield as the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where her production of The Fall of the House of Usher was awarded 5 stars by The Scotsman. In 2015, at the other end of the country, her production of The Grapes of Wrath, the Steinbeck classic adapted by Frank Galati, was one of a sequence of regular appearances by her theatre company at the famous cliffside Minack Theatre and it gained the company another 5-star review as well as the coveted Minack Trophy for the best production of 2015. In 2014, Jan was commissioned by the Arts Council, Isle of Man to direct a community passion play at Easter as the island celebrated its year as the first Island of Culture. Jan directing credits include A Matter of Life and Death, a promenade production of Arthur Schnitzler’s La Ronde, The 39 Steps and Our Man in Havana. In 2016, she directed The Frontier Trilogy by Jethro Compton as a piece of immersive theatre and followed this with Compton’s The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance at the Company of Players, Hertford. Last summer, her company returned to the Minack Theatre with a 5* production of The Wicked Lady, adapted by Bryony Lavery and her Minack production planned for this year is I, Don Quixote. Earlier this year, she trod the boards once again playing Hanna Kennedy in Peter Oswald’s adaptation of Mary Stuart and Eleanor of Aquitaine in The Lion in Winter.

Jan was appointed as a GoDA adjudicator in 2001. She returned to GoDA’s Council in 2014 year to organise the 2015 National Festivals Conference, held in London. She is the current Chairman of the Guild of Drama Adjudicators, and one of the its busiest members. Over the last two years she has adjudicated festivals in England, Ireland and Scotland, the British Final of One Act Plays in Wales, the Scottish Final as well as the British All Winners Festival in her home town of Hertford. This year, amongst her many engagements, she will be adjudicating in Ulster and Edinburgh and next year she will return to Florida to adjudicate at the aactWorldFest but for now, she is very much looking forward to her fourth FEATS festival in lovely Munich.

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