Workshop Leaders and Performance at Manchester Song Festival 2024

We’re delighted to be able to announce just some of the experts joining us for Manchester Song Festival’s day of workshops and events here at The Stoller Hall on Saturday 2 March, running from 10am right into the evening. We’ll be updating this page as more workshops are announced.

Book your ticket for the day of workshops here.

Find out more about the Manchester Song Festival, including headline performances, here.


Vocal coach Carrie Birmingham

Carrie is a hearing-impaired alt-rock singer-song writer, vocal teacher, voice and hearing sciences researcher, and BAPAM approved vocal rehabilitation coach. She runs a private singing school, Pro Vox based in Liverpool over-seeing a team of 4 singing teachers. She also recently joined the team at the Arden School of Theatre Manchester as a Singing Lecturer, since recently being part of the Leeds Conservatoire Popular Vocals teaching team for five years.

Alongside teaching and assessing Carrie is part of the multi-disciplinary voice clinic team at the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen Hospital Trust ENT department assisting professional voice users undergoing speech-language therapy and singing rehabilitation.

Since completing her MA in Vocal Pedagogy with Voice Study Centre she is now a 4th year part time PhD student at the School of Music, University of Leeds.
As a performer she has fronted acoustic and rock band line-ups performing across the UK at diverse function events and receiving airplay on radio and underground festivals with original music written with her unsigned grunge-rock band between 2015-2020.

Carrie will be leading our Vocal Health workshop at 11.30am.


singer Jonathan Ainscough

Jonathan Ainscough trained at Manchester University and the Royal Northern College of Music, and now works as a director, writer and performer across the UK and beyond, encompassing theatre in all its forms, from opera to plays. Recent projects have included: writing and directing a new play about Benjamin Britten for the Royal Opera House; performing in the Olivier-Award-winning Showstopper! The Improvised Musical in the West End and on tour; and conducting acclaimed homelessness charity Streetwise Opera’s ‘Re:Sound’ programme of original operas at The Bridgewater Hall and the Royal Festival Hall.

Jonathan will be leading our ‘Acting Through Song’ workshop at 2pm, ‘Introduction to Musical Theatre’ workshop at 3.30pm and ‘Introduction to Opera’ workshop at 6pm.


Bethany Moran is a Soprano, holistic vocal guide and yoga instructor. An alumni of Chethams School of Music and the Royal Northern College of Music. She began yoga to support her mental and physical wellbeing to support a career as an operatic soprano. She now combines the two worlds and uses her yoga practice to approach the voice through an embodied holistic lens.

Bethany will be leading our Yoga session at 10am.

Liam Frost

Singer-songwriter Liam Frost - photographed from behind

Liam Frost is a solo artist from Prestwich in North Manchester who writes and performs folk pop. Frost began his musical career at the age of 15, performing at the Akoustik Anarkhy nights at The Star and Garter. He began by experimenting with punk bands before moving towards a folk direction and going solo in 2003 at the age of 20.

Frost has often been referred to as a troubadour and was described as “the UK’s answer to Bright Eyes” by Elbow’s Guy Garvey. He has also performed several times at The Stoller Hall, as a special guest with Badly Drawn Boy in 2023 and Thea Gilmore in 2024.

Liam will be leading our Songwriting Workshop 10am – 4pm.


Singer Margaret McDonald

International mezzo-soprano Margaret McDonald invites you all to discover her fascinating world of synaesthesia, where music meets visuals in an extraordinary blend.
For the first time ever, Maggie will give a public recital using new technology, to demonstrate her neuro- divergency of reading music, words, and numbers in colour, and seeing and feeling sounds in shapes and textures.

She will share her experiences and insights on how music and synaesthesia interact, and how it has enhanced her life. With the aid of computer programmes you will be able to see what she “sees” as she sings a selection of pieces accompanied by David Jones at the piano.

Music Psychologist, Jane Ginsborg will discuss the science behind the condition, and Adrian Horn will be developing and controlling the multimedia aspect of this intriguing performance.

‘A Synaesthete Sings’ takes place 5pm – 6.30pm


Awen, a Welsh musician immersed in the vibrant arts culture of Wales, grew up surrounded by traditional music, dance, and song intertwined with the Welsh language. A classically trained cellist, she honed her skills at the RNCM and has collaborated with a diverse array of artists and bands, spanning alternative rock to folk genres. Awen’s passion lies in playing traditional music from the British Isles and beyond, a commitment she extends to her teaching and Music Therapy endeavours, where she shares these influences with others.

Awen will be leading Introduction to Folk at 5pm, as well as leading our Terra Musica family performances on Sunday 3 March.


Singer and vocal workshop leader Nikki Allan sitting at a piano

Nicki holds a first class degree in Jazz and Contemporary Music from Leeds College of Music and a Post Graduate Certificate in Education from Huddersfield University and was awarded the coveted title of Vocalist of the Year in 2010 for her contribution to Jazz in the Yorkshire and Humber regions.

She has an impressive career portfolio that combines teaching with Session work and Performing and has worked all over the world as a Professional Vocalist and Jazz pianist. Credits include Glastonbury, Ronnie Scotts, the Leeds 02 Academy, Many Jazz Festivals, Gigs, Radio broadcasts and Television work. Session work includes commissions for major label Sony, Cunard various indie labels as well as numerous commercial projects. Nicki has worked for many years as a Singing teacher, Vocal coach, External examiner and choir director teaching at Leeds College of Music, Hull University and is currently Vocal tutor and Creative Multi-specialist at The Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester. She has successfully co-ordinated and ran workshops, Summer schools and Choirs over the years, including the Leeds College of Music Gospel Choir, Jazz leeds Choir and Organist and Choir director of St. Benedicts Parish, Leeds.

Nikki will be leading Introduction to Jazz at 2pm.


Many singers and performers experience vocal, mental and physical health issues at some point in their careers. Drawing on a diverse pool of training, experiences and skills that includes nursing, performance, singing and education Line Hilton, loves nothing more than to help performers improve their vocal and physical health and wellbeing and overcome mindset blocks so they can go out and perform and create to their heart’s content. She takes a functional approach to vocal training, hypnotherapy to free the mind, and health and wellbeing coaching to build an individual’s resilience.

The Performing Arts industry needs to raise it’s standards for vocal, mental and physical health and wellbeing. Line’s mission is to help raise this awareness and to educate performers and the industry of easy and effective ways to do this.

In her private practice Line works with signed and developing artists and professional voice users. Line also trains singers to become singing teachers at BAST Training, is a BAPAM Educational Trainer, on the multi- disciplinary team of Voice Care Centre, an advisor for Vocology in Practice and regular industry and HE guest speaker and lecturer on the topics of performing arts medicine, mindset and voice care.

Line will be leading our Vocal Anxiety and performance workshop at 4pm.


The RNCM Songsters are a specially selected group of students at the RNCM; singers and pianists who are passionate and excel in the performance of art song.

They perform in bespoke and innovative recital programmes of song at events within the college, and externally at various other musical organisations and venues. They have performed for many music societies across the United Kingdom, as well as a number of leading festivals of song, including Leeds Lieder and Manchester Song Festival.

In 2019 they collaborated with pianist David Owen Norris on a recording project of the art songs of Arthur Sullivan. As part of their training, they get to work with visiting tutors specialising in art song repertoire, including Julius Drake, Roderick WIlliams, Richard Stokes, Alice Coote, and David Owen Norris. The Artistic Director of RNCM Songsters is Jonathan Fisher.

The RNCM Songsters appears by kind permission of the RNCM.

The RNCM Songsters will be closing out the day of events with a performance at 6pm.

Book your ticket for the day of workshops here.


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