April 27, 2020

Announcing Our May Judging Panel!


The John Byrne Award is absolutely delighted to be working with three inspirational judges this May. Shona McCarthy, Christopher Hampson and Brigadier David Allfrey MBE have each made an outstanding contribution to Scotland’s cultural landscape in their careers to date, and we are honoured to have them take part in our judging panel for this quarter.


Our judging panel will meet virtually to deliberate and select one winner from the hundreds of entries that have been submitted between 1st March and 30th April 2020. Their shortlist and the quarterly winner of £500 will be announced at the beginning of May – so keep your eyes peeled!


Shona McCarthy, Chief Executive, Edinburgh  Festival Fringe Society


Shona McCarthy joined the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society as Chief Executive in early 2016. She has championed Edinburgh’s Fringe as the world’s leading open access, performing arts festival and founded on the principle of freedom of expression. From 2011-2014 she was Chief Executive of the Culture Company, leading on Derry – Londonderry’s transformational year as UK City of Culture. Prior to that she was Director of the British Council Northern Ireland.  She also spent many years as Chief Executive of Cinemagic Film Festival for young people, Belfast; and the Foyle Film Festival, Derry; and was Head of Exhibition at the Northern Ireland Film Council. Shona has 25 years’ experience of working in senior leadership positions and was awarded a prestigious Eisenhower Fellowship for Innovation in 2014 and a NESTA cultural leadership award which took her to live and work in India.

Christopher Hampson, Chief Executive/ Artistic Director, Scottish Ballet


Christopher Hampson joined Scottish Ballet as Artistic Director in 2012 and was appointed CEO/Artistic Director in 2015. Christopher trained at the Royal Ballet Schools and his choreographic work continued at English National Ballet (ENB), where he danced and subsequently created numerous award-winning works. He created productions of Romeo and Juliet (Olivier Award nomination: Best New Production) and Cinderella for the Royal New Zealand Ballet (RNZB) both receiving great critical acclaim and toured to major cities in Europe and Asia. Since joining Scottish Ballet, the Company has performed in theatres across the world including: The Kennedy Center, The Royal Opera House, The Maryinsky Theatre and the Joyce Theatre, New York. In 2017, Scottish Ballet curated the world’s first Digital Season for dance creations to be viewed only via digital platforms. Christopher gave a TEDx talk on ‘Creative Thinking’ and developed the inaugural Young Rural Retreat for Aspiring Leaders, in association with Dance East.

Brigadier David Allfrey MBE, Chief Executive & Producer, The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo


David Allfrey retired from the Army in 2011 to become Producer & Chief Executive of The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo following a varied 33-year military career which included command of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards and 51st (Scottish) Brigade.  He is now Colonel of the Regiment for the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards.

He has delivered many civil/military spectaculars over the years including the D-Day Commemorations along the south coast, Armed Forces Day celebrations in Scotland, the award-winning Pipers Trail, the Launch of the Scottish World War 1 Commemorative Programme, major charities concerts in Edinburgh and ten Tattoos in Edinburgh and abroad.   Under David’s leadership, the Tattoo has delivered over 200 shows in Edinburgh, Sydney Melbourne and Wellington, entertaining live audiences of more than 2 million and reaching hundreds of millions on television and online!

David is a Visiting Professor at Edinburgh Napier University, a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, an Honorary Fellow of the Marketing Society (Scotland), a Senior Associate Fellow of the Institute for Statecraft, an International Advisory Council Member for the Asia Scotland Institute.  He is a Member of the Chartered Management Institute and an alumnus of the Windsor Leadership Trust.  He is the Scottish Tourism Alliance Champion for Events and Festivals and a Director of Festivals Edinburgh.

David is well travelled and has broad interests.  While his professional focus tends to leadership and management at all levels, event planning and delivery, design & performance, the technical aspects of major event production and showtime, he is also a respectable draftsman, watercolour and oil artist.  He loves the countryside and people.