The 2020 festival adjudicator is Michael Poynor.
President and Chair of ADA, Michael was born in the Falkland Islands and educated in Argentina and England, and trained for theatre at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (L.A.M.D.A.), London.
He has been Artistic Director for the Lyric Theatre, Belfast; Harrogate Theatre, Yorkshire; Stage ’80 Theatre Company, Belfast; Ulster Youth Theatre; The National Youth Theatre Of Wates and, currently the Ulster Theatre Company.
He was Chief Executive of the Millenium Forum in Derry and Head of Culture and Arts at Queen’s University, Belfast.
He is an award winning Director and Lighting Designer having directed over 150 productions, designed sets for 120 and lighting for over 250, as well as fight directing for nearly 100 productions.
He has written a string of burlesque pantomimes including Scrooge’s Christmas;Alice! (a musical adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s most famous books); a new version of Gilbert and Sullivan’s best known operetta: Rockin’ Mikado which was nominated ‘Best Visiting Production’ in the 1998 Manchester Theatre Awards; Comedy of Errors: The Musical (2013) and Jonathan Harker and Dracula (2014).
Amongst the productions he has directed are: the UK provincial premieres of Jesus Christ Superstar, Grease, Hello Dolly and Once a Catholic at the Lyric Theatre, Belfast; Interview and The Bald Prima Donna at the Ashcroft Theatre, Croydon; Indians, Schweyk in the Second World War, What the Butler Saw and Noises Off at the Lyric Theatre, Belfast; The Glass Menagerie, Relatively Speaking and The Happiest of the Three at the Overground Theatre, Kingston-upon-Thames; Alphabetical Order, Equus, Joseph and the Amazing… and Candida at Harrogate Theatre; The Snoopy Show, Hello and Goodbye, Ashes, Kelly’s Book and Crack-Up for Stage ’80, How the Other Half Loves, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie for Theatre Ulster; Can’t Pay? Won’t Pay!, The Mating Season, The Boyfriend, and Leave Him to Heaven for the Arts Theatre, Belfast; Oh, What A Lovely War, The War of the Worlds for the Ulster Youth Theatre, La Belle Helene for Castle Ward Opera Co. and West Side Story with the Ulster Orchestra at the Klondike in Belfast for Opera Northern Ireland.
For the Ulster Theatre Company he directed Murder in the Cathedral (1998) (Sell out production for Belfast Festival at Queen’s at St Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast); West Side Story, A Chorus Line, Oklahoma and the RSC’s version of The Wizard of Oz, all of which toured the UK and Ireland.
In 2009 he directed and choreographed the ‘on pitch’ celebrations at the 80,000 seat Croke Park Stadium, Dublin, for the GAA 125th anniversary celebrations.