Frequently Asked Questions

Can we get you there quickly?

For performers


Do I need to pass grade 5 exam to enter grade 6 class?

No, you don’t have to have taken any exams to enter the festival, as long as the piece you are playing is from the correct Grade syllabus.


I did my grade 6 exam last year, and I am going to take grade 7 exam later this year. Should I enter grade 6 or grade 7 class?

You can enter both.


I have done my grade 8! I am working towards my diploma now. Can I enter all grades, through to open classes?!

We are sure you are capable, but please don’t enter all of them.  You are welcome to enter both grade 8 and open class.


What’s the definition of age for the Festival purpose?

Your age on 1st September of 2017. For example:

12 years and under, is equal to school year 7 and under.

15 years and under, is equal to school year 10 and under.


I like a grade 3 piece from my big sister’s book. Can I play?

Yes! All pieces in the past and current syllabus are equally welcomed.  In fact, some other books such as ABRSM Best of Grade, Encore, are collections of popular pieces in the past. These are great choices too!


Me and my best friend like the Chamber Music idea! I can play alto saxophone, and she is a violist.  The piece we have in mind is not written purposely for these two instruments, but we have arranged it and it sounds amazing! The only problem is that we are not able to give the adjudicator a proper copy, what can we do?

WOW! This sounds so exciting! Your own arrangement is very much welcomed. If you are not able to provide the copy of music to the adjudicator as we normally require, you can provide the music you used originally and why not take the opportunity to explain a bit about how you arranged the piece?


Me and my sister are so excited about our violin and cello duet! We still need an accompanist; shall we enter trio or duet?

If your accompanist is a student or amateur player, then they would be adjudicated, and you should enter trio.

If your accompanist is booked as a profesional, they will not be adjudicated, and you should enter duet.


I want to enter both violin classes and woodwind and brass classes. I am not sure whether I can do both at the same time.

Please enter both. More likely, you will find you have comfortable time to juggle around two performance halls. In case there could be a clash between your entries, we can easily adjust the order of performance to accommodate you.

I don’t use computer; can I enter manually?

Yes, you can. Paper entry form will be available to download online or post on request. We aim to take most entries online. This will help us to save lots of paperwork time, cut down printing cost and improve accuracy.


My teacher won’t be able to come to accompany my piece. I am worried I don’t know your official accompanist.

Please don’t worry. We will provide all our official accompanists’ contact details. You can arrange a private rehearsal before the festival. You might be charged by the accompanist at her/his usual rate. All our accompanists are very experienced. They are also confident to accompany you without rehearsal beforehand, however they MUST have received the music no later than 1 week before the performance. We do strongly recommend rehearsing with the accompanist prior to your performance, as this will put you at ease and will help you concentrate on playing your best. 


What kind of piano I am going to play for my piano classes?

It’s a YAMAHA C3 grand piano in black ebony.


I am 23 years old, I am disaapointed that I do not qualify for the overall awards.

We apologise in this case. For the moment, Shine Festival has very limited ability to offer monetary awards. We feel we should give awards to students, including some university age students. 


I am 23 years old, what if I scored the highest mark of advanced string classes?

Be proud of yourself and we will be very proud of you!

In this situation, you will certainly be eligible to take away the trophy of your class, and will be invited to perform in the concert. Then the second highest mark in the class will also be invited to perform in the concert and will be eligible for the overall awards. 


I am already a pupil at Centre of Advanced Training in Gateshead. Am I allowed to enter?

Shine Festival is open to everybody, of course you are welcome to enter.

For audience


Where can I park at Ian Ramsey CE Academy?

Ample free car park on the school site is available. Post code: TS19 7AJ


Where can I park for Middlesbrough Town Hall?

There are several public car parks within walking distance to the town hall. Please be aware you might need to pay small parking fee.

Gurney Street Car Park TS1 1JL

Buxton Street Car Park TS1 1SA

Captain Cook Square Car Park TS1 5AP

Mima Car Park TS1 2BH

Zetland Multi Storey Car Park TS1 1SR


I have two children who are playing different instruments in two halls at the same time. Do I need to buy two tickets?

Only one ticket for all sessions at the same time. You don’t want to miss any of your children’s performance! You can slip in and out of the performance hall quietly IN BETWEEN the performances. Please follow the guide of door person. The golden rule is not to disturb any performance.


Do I need to buy a ticket for performers?

No. Fees for performers are taken on entry, using the online entry process or by filling in an entry form and posting it along with a cheque. Then you will receive a performers card which you bring with you on the day. 


I have three children and they are playing in a lot of classes. Do I need to buy ticket every time?

Patron ticket, £10 per adult will be available. One ticket to watch all classes except the Prize Winner’s Concert.


Anywhere I can have a cup of tea?

Yes of course! Refreshments will be available at both venues.