Monthly Archives: May 2017

AESS Fell Prize for Musical Theatre Competition 2017

The AESS Fell Prize for Musical Theatre 2017 took place at the Sylvia Young Theatre School on Sunday, May 14th.

Ten finalists were scheduled to perform themed eight minute programmes of their own devising which had to include speech and song.

The distinguished judges were the musical theatre singer/actress Ria Jones and stage director Dominic Shaw.

They expressed their appreciation of all the performances, mentioning details of some of the performances which had particularly impressed them.

They laid great emphasis on the need for the clear expression of text in both song and speech.

Their joint decision was to award the prize of £1,000 to Jessica Aubrey of the Royal Academy of Music Musical Theatre Post Graduate Course.

Jessica had performed So long by Che Walker, Stone cold by Demi Lovato and With him by Joey Contreras. The judges asked her to reprise her performance by way of an encore.

Members of the Toni V Fell Trust were on hand to present the cheque to Jessica and the AESS is proud of the continued association with the Fell Trust for this competition.

The AESS is grateful to the judges and also to the pianist Tamara Saringer who accompanied all the performers.

Thanks also to the co-ordinators, Jean Hornbuckle and Jane Roberson for the smooth running of the competition.
Dominic Shaw, Jessica Aubrey, Ria Jones

Judges and entrants

The enthusiastic audience

AGM & Dinner 2017

The AESS AGM and Annual Dinner took place on Sunday, April 30th at the Royal Over-Seas League

Around thirty attended the AGM and fifty dined after a wonderful concert by the Hilliard Ensemble, aided and abetted by Chairman, Sarah Leonard.

James Bowman CBE was the guest speaker and talked about his career, his recent judging of the Kathleen Ferrier Competition and his thoughts on the clear articulation of the English language in song and opera and his experience of the difficulty in achieving this, especially in new music.

The Hilliard Ensemble in full throttle

The Silver Swan with Sarah Leonard

Sarah Leonard introduces James Bowman

James Bowman toasts the AESS, whose work is ‘needed now more than ever!’

Thanks to Anthony Dawson who arranged the evening

Trustees Report 2017-1

AESS Timothy West & Prunella Scales Speech Prize for Actors Final

1st Prize £750 2nd Prize £500 3rd Prize £250

Saturday 29th April at 2.00pm

Central Bankside Campus

4 – 8 Emerson Street London SE1 9DU

Panel of Judges:

Timothy West Jonathan Courage Rosamund Shelley


The actors were representing the following colleges; Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, the London Drama Studio, Royal Academy of Music Musical Theatre Course, East15, Guildford School of Acting and the London College of Music BA Acting Course.

In summing up after their deliberations, the judges mentioned the importance of the actors’ connection and identification with the material being performed and the need for clarity in the delivery. It was agreed the standard was very high and the judges decided to award the prizes in the following order.

Jamie Sandersfield First Prize

Ella Hunter-Clark Second Prize

Holly Durkin Third Prize

The Association of English Singers & Speakers is most grateful to The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama for allowing use of the Emerson building.

On behalf of the Association I would like to thank the adjudicators and those that judged the preliminaries:

Marilyn Cutts, Martin Parr, Jonathan Courage.

A big thank you goes to Stephen Varcoe, the competition administrator.

Lastly, I am enormously grateful to our sponsors, Timothy West and Prunella Scales for donating the 1st prize.

Sarah Leonard – Chairman

Speech Programme 2017
The audience listens attentively

Timothy West, Rosamund Shelley,Jamie Sandersfield, Holly Durkin, Ella Hunter-Clark, Jonathan Courage

The finalists and judges