Meet The Adjudicators – FEIS 2024

We look forward to welcoming all our wonderful adjudicators to our live Feis Finals on April 21st, 2024 at the Talbot Hotel Stillorgan.

Mr Timothy McCarthy



Timothy McCarthy studied Speech & Drama at the Cork School of Music; graduated from the National University of Ireland with an M.A. Degree in Drama and Theatre Studies and the Higher Diploma in Education; he holds the Post Graduate Certificate in Adjudicating.

In his professional life as a Speech and Drama practitioner, Timothy works in a number of spheres and capacities.  He runs his own Speech & Drama Studio, where he teaches all aspects of the subject.  He is a member of the examiners panel in Speech, Drama and Communication at Trinity College, London and is the Director of Cork Feis Maitiú – the Music and Drama Festival in his home City.  During the pandemic crises he worked extensively online.

For 18 years he was the Drama Director at the annual International Youth Camp Festival of Music, Dance and Drama, Sri Lanka.  He conducted Teacher Training Courses in Speech & Drama in Kuala Lumpur, Colombo and at his own Studio in Cork; led workshops for English teachers in Thailand, Malaysa and Sri Lanka using Speech & Drama pedagogy as a means of teaching English; and gave Choral Speaking Workshops for teachers in Hong Kong.  He directed an Adult Drama Company for ten years.

Timothy is an Adjudicator-Member and Adjudicators Honorary Vice-President of the British and International Federation of Festivals for Music, Dance and Speech; the membership application secretary of the Society of Teachers of Speech and Drama and a member of Speech and Drama Teachers of Ireland.  In 2011 he was awarded the Federation of Festivals Fellowship for services to the Festival Movement and in 2023 the Federation’s 40 Years long term service award for his work at Cork Feis Maitiú.

Ms. Anita Ross


 Ms Anita Ross graduated as a solicitor of law from Queen’s University Belfast with a Postgraduate Diploma in Professional Legal Studies in 2011. She holds a Licentiate Diploma in Speech and Drama and an Associate Diploma in Acting from the London College of Music and Creative Media at the University of West London.

She has taught speech and drama classes in Northern Ireland for 20 years with pupils ranging from beginners level right up to and including teacher diploma standard. Anita has adjudicated in Ireland and Hong Kong. In 2017 she co-presented a television series called My Sister’s Closet based around fashion for RTÉ.

She is delighted to have been invited to adjudicate at the Speech and Drama Teachers of Ireland Annual Hybrid Feis and looks forward to seeing the talent on display during the live finals in Dublin.

Ms. Jackie O’Halloran


Jackie O’Halloran is an Associate member of the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA). She is also an Associate member of the London College of Music (A.L.C.M.). Jackie holds a gold medal in mime and movement with LAMDA.


Having worked for several years in schools in the Cork region teaching speech and drama, choral speaking, mime, improvisation, debating and public speaking. Jackie now gives time to adjudicating at festivals.

Many successful productions of play, variety shows, showcases and concerts have been enjoyed by Cork Audiences over the years. Many school musicals which Jackie directed left pupils with wonderful memories including a production of “The Sound of Music” which was performed at Bord Gais Theatre in Dublin.

The Philosophical Society in University College Cork have welcomed Jackie as an adjudicator for public speaking and debating competitions and she has examined in-house for various speech and drama teachers.

The Mercier School of Speech and Drama was under her direction for over 30 years. Some pupils have gone on to appear in film, television and stage productions.

Ms. Eileen Fitzgerald

Eileen Fitzgerald A.I.B.S.D., L.T.C.L has a thriving Speech and Drama school in Co Clare, which celebrated 30 years in business in 2022. All aspects of Speech & Drama are taught in the school.

Eileen studied with Trinity College London attaining a Licentiate Teachers Diploma. She has an Associate Diploma with the Irish Board of Speech &Drama. Her teaching and working life embraces a wide range of Drama disciplines and activities. She is an experienced Drama Teacher, and Adjudicator of Speech and Drama Festivals throughout the island of Ireland and Hong Kong.

In 1995 Eileen was appointed a senior Drama Examiner with the Irish Board ofSpeech & Drama. She has over 20 years experience adjudicating Festivals, and is a facilitator for a number of Acting Companies. Eileen has also produced, directed and acted in numerous productions.

From 1999 to 2012 Eileen worked with the Schools Competition Programme as funded by the Irish Government, carrying out pioneering work with students from disadvantaged backgrounds, aged 5 to 15 years in the field of drama.

Former President of Feile Luimnigh, the largest performance festival of its kind in the North Munster area of Ireland, Eileen (together with her team) are presently organising 4000 competitors between Instrumental, Vocal, Speech & Drama and the Irish language section. From 2011- 2019 Eileen had also been running the Cratloe Speechfest in her area for children aged 5-12 years.

Over her 30 plus years of work in the field of Speech and Drama, Eileen feels fortunate to have met, and continues to be inspired by, so many young people who share her passion for the world of drama.




Anna Walker

Anna has adjudicated throughout the length and breadth of Ireland, and has been privileged to meet the most creative, talented and dedicated Theatre Practitioners, in the many unique Drama Festivals which welcome, support and nurture a host of travelling players and adjudicators.


Anna has an M.A. in Theatre Studies, and a diploma of Association and Licentiate from the Royal Irish Academy. Her working life embraces a wide range of Drama disciplines and activities. She is Senior Drama Examiner with the Royal Irish Academy of Music, tutors Drama Students, adjudicates Festivals and Feiseanna, and directs for a number of Acting Companies.


She is a regular visitor to London, where she engages in Courses with The Globe and The National Theatre. She has been a member of ADA for the past ten years, and is proud to have adjudicated The One Act All Ireland Drama Festival in Ennis in 2011, The Confined Three Act All Ireland Drama Festival in Castleblayney in 2016, and The Open Three Act All Ireland Drama Festival in Athlone in 2018.

Ailbhe Garvey-Hughes

F.L.C.M. (TD), L.T.C.L., A.D.A., M.S.T.S.D.


Ailbhe Garvey-Hughes has been involved in theatre for most of her life. She received a Fellowship in Speech and Drama from the London College of Music and a Licentiate from Trinity College. 

She has been a member of the Association of Drama Adjudicators since its inception; she is also an adjudicator and member of The British and International Federation of Festivals. She is a member of The Society of Teachers of Speech and Drama (M.S.T.S.D.) and an examiner for The Royal Irish Academy

She has won many best actress awards at Drama Festivals including  the ‘best actress’ award at the All Ireland Drama Finals in Athlone many years ago. She played in many productions in An Taibhdearc (Galway’s Irish Language Theatre). For many years she acted with the internationally renowned “Druid” Theatre Company, where she played in numerous  successful productions including those at the Dublin and Edinburgh Theatre Festivals. 

She has been teaching drama to primary, secondary and third level students for many years. Her school’s many successes include winning the All Ireland Youth Theatre Festival. 

Ailbhe regularly adjudicates at international festivals in The U.K., Hong Kong and Sri lanka. She has recently adjudicated the 1 act Festival at Coolgreaney and the 3 act  Kerry Drama Festival at Castleisland and Newry Drama Festival.

Ailbhe has had the great pleasure of adjudicating The West Clare Drama Festival in the past and is looking forward to returning to Doonbeg for a feast of Theatre.

AnnMarie Boles
My name is AnnMarie Boles and I’m a self taught visual artist. I’m 45 years old and have been living in Athlone Co. Westmeath the past 15 years with my husband Phillip and our three children.
I’ve been painting since the age of Four years old and it has been my life long passion.
After finishing school I went on to study Art & graphic design in Dublin Institute of Technology & worked for many years as a freelance graphic designer. However painting has always been my passion and I am now officially a full time Professional artist.
My painting style is quite distinctive due to my strong use of vibrant colour through acrylic paint and also my ability to capture emotion through the artistic detail and movement in my work.
I have a hugely supportive following through Westmeath, Ireland & abroad which I am very grateful for.

Karen Gallinagh Murphy

Karen has been teaching Speech and Drama for the past 16 years, running her own school, and teaching students privately, on an individual, and small group basis.

Karen also works on a freelance basis, delivering Drama Workshops, through the community, Donegal, Northern Ireland, and Dublin. Her work includes facilitating workshops with Youth Theatre Groups, Transition Year Students, Post Primary Students, Third Level Students, Women’s Groups, (In service days for Early Years Educators and is a member of The Speech & Drama Teachers of Ireland.

Karen enjoysMC’ing various events in Donegal such as Letterkenny Chamber of Commerce Award Events. Karen is a Licentiate and Associate of the Irish Board of Speech & Drama, where she is also an examiner. Karen has adjudicated various Speech & Drama Festivals.

During Covid and lockdown as well as teaching her classes all online she
also completed a Leadership and Coaching Practice & Ethics QQI Level 6 Certificate.

Karen’s likes to use the memorable phrase of “Communication Skills are for Life & Work” and believes that all opportunities to speak, present, perform in public will help children, teenagers, and adults to prepare employability opportunities.

Kathryn Smith – Soprano L.R.S.M, MMus – A native of Dublin now living in Kildare. Kathryn has been
fortunate to have a full and extensive solo career over the last thirty plus years gaining her early-
stage experiences during her studies, performing principal roles in many musicals and operetta
throughout Ireland, including concert and oratorio work which she continued to explore on a
professional basis after completing her vocal studies. Kathryn spent some very profitable years in
the UK guesting with many opera companies where she performed numerous principal roles in the
popular operas, such as La Traviata, La Boheme, Seraglio, Don Giovanni, l’Elisir d’Amore, Tosca, Die
Fledermaus, The Merry Widow, many of which she has repeated over the years in Europe and
Ireland. Kathryn also embarked on a world tour in the Roles of Rosalinde (Die Fledermaus) Hanna
Glavari (The Merry Widow) and the title role of Tosca, including performances in Hong Kong, Tokyo,
and many European cities. Her concert work has also taken her to venues in Ireland and worldwide
including solo performances at Carnegie Hall, New York, The State Theatre, New Jersey, and the
Boston Symphony Hall. A regular performer at the NCH Dublin and other many venues. Kathryn has
a great penchant for Viennese Music and has performed many presentations of the genre in Ireland,
UK and further afield, more recently at The Annual New Years’s Viennese Gala at the Royal Theatre,
Harrogate UK and our NCH Dublin. Kathryn has recorded and broadcast many times with the RTE
Symphony & Concert Orchestras, BBC, and Scottish National Orchestras.
A Tutor of Classical Singing and Musical Theatre at NUIM Music Department and St. Patrick’s
Seminary Maynooth and for more years than she can recall, she has been a Singing Teacher and
Examiner with the Leinster School of Music and Drama, Griffith College, Dublin. Kathryn also enjoys
giving singing and choral workshops at home, France and the United States and she has plans to
travel abroad again in this regard, later in the year.
Choral Direction and Workshops
Kathryn has a great passion for and has been involved in choral singing from a young age. She is
Director of Music at St. Patrick’s Church, Celbridge, where she enjoys putting into practice her love
for Sacred Music. She is also Musical Director of the Cor Unum Singers, Dublin, a chamber choir who
have found themselves busy with corporate and concert work over the past 15 years. For concerts
and festivals both her choirs come together as The Croi Nua Singers. As a group they have travelled
to concerts and festivals throughout Ireland, France and the United States. They recently received
great acclaim for their performance with the County Kildare Orchestra and are looking forward to
future appearances planned for the coming year.
In 2002 Kathryn received the prestigious Margaret Burke Sheridan Award for her contribution to
singing in Ireland.

LIELA (International), ALCM, Gold Medal LAM.

Dr Margaret McAliskey is a qualified specialist in both clinical speech and communications training.
She has a long association with Trinity College Dublin working as a lecturer and mentor on a range
of under- and post-graduate programmes.
She has worked as a trainer, consultant and course leader in Educational, Professional and
Vocational programmes in state, private and corporate sectors for students in the primary,
secondary, higher education and business sectors.
Margaret has extensive experience as an examiner and assessor in the Performing Arts, and is a
federated adjudicator with the British and International Federation of Festivals.
She is a member of the examination panel for Trinity College London , and in this role has worked
throughout the UK and Ireland, and internationally in the USA, Hong Kong, Singapore, Dubai,
South Africa, Italy, Spain, Germany, Malaysia, Malta, Australia and New Zealand.

Ms. Geraldine O’Brien

M.Sc., M.A. (Theatre), L.I.B.S.D.

Geraldine is a teacher and examiner with her own school of speech and drama in North
Kildare. She holds both Associate and Licentiate Teaching Diplomas with the Irish
Board of Speech and Drama. She has adjudicated at speech and drama festivals all
over Ireland as well as running her own Feis in North-Kildare. She has facilitated
Shakespeare workshops for leaving certificate students sponsored by Kildare County
Council Library Service for many years. As a young adult she studied Stanislavski
Acting in Questor’s Theatre, Ealing, London. More recently she received an MA in
theatre from Gaiety School of Acting/Maynooth University.
Currently, she is Artistic Director at Straffan Drama Club, a youth theatre for teenagers
which she co-founded in 2020. Prior to that, she founded PlayActing Youth Theatre in
Celbridge in 2016 and served as Artistic Director until 2020 facilitating stage, film, one-
world and skill workshop projects in addition to securing funding. She was awarded a
certificate in Youth Work Studies (NUI) in 2019, underpinning her commitment to using
drama to teach life skills to young people. In youth theatre, she has directed young
people in the National Theatre Connections programme performing locally and in the
Riverbank Arts Centre, Newbridge and the Lyric, Belfast. She has written and directed
historical site-specific theatre in Celbridge. These include Under Lady Louisa’s Bonnet
in the grounds of Castletown Parklands in 2021 (funded by Kildare County Council) and
Swift’s Secrets for the inaugural Swift and Vanessa Festival in 2023. Most recently she
directed Sophocles’ Antigone at Maynooth Castle for Culture Night 2023.

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