The Festival Team

The Swaledale Festival now has four part-time professional staff: Artistic Director Malcolm Creese, Administrator Jill Armstrong and Marketing Coordinators Heather Hodgson and Emily Rowe Rawlence. During the Festival fortnight they are supported by Events Manager Tim Slater, Assistant Events Manager Chris Curry and Artist Liaison Officer Kate Mothersill. The professional team is completed by approximately 130 hard-working volunteers who staff the box office, provide transport and accommodation for artists, distribute brochures, put up posters and steward events.

Malcolm Creese - Artistic Director

Malcolm Creese combines jazz and classical performances at the highest level with extensive film, television and recording work. He was a chorister at St. John's College, Cambridge, and he studied cello at school and at London’s Guildhall School of Music. He worked as a cellist in orchestras and chamber music groups after leaving college, and he switched to double bass in his mid-twenties.

Malcolm toured the world with Cleo Laine and John Dankworth from 1991 to 2001, and with Stan Tracey for six years. He has performed or recorded with George Shearing, Mel Tormé, George Benson, Lee Konitz, Mose Allison, Kenny Wheeler, Sting, Diana Ross, the Divine Comedy, Depeche Mode, James Galway, John Williams, Sir Thomas Allen, John Rutter, the Allegri, Medici, Fitzwilliam and Delmé String Quartets, and the London Symphony, London Philharmonic, Royal Philharmonic, BBC Symphony, English Chamber, Royal Liverpool, Hallé, Ulster, Hong Kong Philharmonic and Concertgebouw Orchestras. Malcolm’s numerous film soundtrack credits include Sinbad, Gladiator, Shrek, Cold Mountain, Lord of the Rings and Paddington.

Malcolm is a member of 21st Century Baroque and the highly acclaimed trio Acoustic Triangle which includes the pianist Gwilym Simcock and the saxophonist Tim Garland. The trio has performed in concert halls, churches and cathedrals around the world, released four albums, and worked in collaborations with the BBC Concert Orchestra, Royal Northern Sinfonia, the King’s Singers, the Choir of Westminster Abbey, the Royal Holloway Choir, the Sacconi String Quartet, Gerard Presencer, Carolyn Sampson and Sir Richard Rodney Bennett.

Malcolm is an experienced record producer and runs his own label, Audio-B. He has taught and examined at London’s Royal Academy of Music and Trinity College of Music. Malcolm was formerly the Chairman of Romsey Arts Festival and the Artistic Director of Petworth Festival. He began his Artistic Directorship of the Swaledale Festival in October 2007.

Jill Armstrong - Administrator

Jill joined the Festival in December 2013 and has lived in Gunnerside in Upper Swaledale for over ten years. Having previously worked with Yorkshire Forward, as well as the Yorkshire Energy Partnership and the Richmond Swale Valley Community Initiative, Jill brings plenty of valuable experience and useful contacts. She is a keen cyclist and a member of the Swaledale Mountain Rescue Team.

Heather Hodgson - Marketing Coordinator

Heather lives on a working sheep farm in Wensleydale with her husband and young family and actively supports the Dales and the thriving communities within them. Heather comes to the Swaledale Festival with a history of teaching English in both primary and secondary schools and has a passion for history, Yorkshire’s Industrial heritage and geography.  She loves to run and cycle in the Dales as often as possible.

Emily Rowe Rawlence - Marketing Coordinator

Emily lives in Hawes with her husband and two children where she runs The NASH, a community venue on the Pennine Way that has been renovated to provide arts and learning opportunities.  She has a background in arts administration and before moving north she worked for several London-based arts charities including Shakespeare Schools Festival and arts-in-health pioneer Rosetta Life.  She also worked for a successful artist-jeweller where she helped with all aspects of running and promoting a creative business.  

Chris Curry - Assistant Events Manager

Having grown up in Grinton, Chris has attended and volunteered at Swaledale Festival events for over fifteen years and officially joined the team in 2014.  He is self-employed in a variety of fields including events management, joinery, property management and woodland conservation.  Chris is a member of Swaledale Mountain Rescue Team, is a keen caver, rock climber and fell runner, and is Ringing Master of the St. Andrew’s Bellringers.

Board Members 2018:

Sue Miller (Chairman), Chris Bratcher (Treasurer), Gavin Young (Secretary), Elizabeth Bedford, Gerry Broadbent, Janet Hall, Marian Knowles, Maria Laybourn 

Swaledale Festival is both a company limited by guarantee and a registered charity with a Board of Directors who are also Trustees of the charity.  Several Board Members have executive roles which include managing the Festival’s finances, marketing, volunteer coordination and helping with the community and education programme. The Board Members are themselves all volunteers who work tirelessly to support the Festival!