Thursday, 30 July 2015

Fringe 2015 - What was your favourite moment?

Balloons at the Old Clubhouse (credit: Ian J. Parkes)

Another year over but what a great Fringe and what fantastic memories! Thanks to all who made it such a wonderful event, from the many volunteers to all the tireless Fringe entrants and not forgetting the enthusiastic audiences who attended some 170 events – that’s around 600 individual performances!

We really did think the quality was excellent overall and the town seemed even more buzzing than usual with all our venues looking very Fringey and welcoming. I’ve seen some great shows but here are some of the special moments that particularly stick in my mind:

-         Dancing in Poole’s Cavern with the cast of As You Like It
-         Making a TINY pirate in the Pavilion Gardens
-         Seeing an elephant emerge onto the stage in Around the World in 80 Days
-         Being picked as Clive Sinclair’s ‘love interest’ in Together in Electric Dreams
-         Waving to all our Fringe supporters from the carnival float (next best thing to being a royal…)
-         Hearing what the arts meant to residents at The Portland Nursing Home
-         Finding about a dozen different friends to talk to one night in the Fringe Club
-         Singing in the Kaleidoscope choir and our most complicated song actually coming out right!

That’s just a few of mine – why not tweet us your favourite #FringeMoments @buxtonfringe?


Buxton Fringe

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Monday, 20 July 2015

Hold the front page - fame for Buxton Fringe!
BBC's Colin Sykes in 2012 credit: Donald Judge
The Fringe is very grateful to local media including PureBuxton, Artsbeat, The Buxton Advertiser, Arts Derbyshire, Made in Derbyshire, BBC Radio Derby and High Peak Radio for helping to give performers masses of coverage and we were pleased to have a mention on BBC’s North West Tonight recently, but as our festival grows we’ve noticed that we are getting highlighted on national media as well.

Petroc Trelawny mentioned the Fringe and Amaretti Chamber Orchestra on his morning show on Radio 3 last Thursday while opera critic Geoff Brown also referred to the Fringe in The Spectator last week. The Fringe was also celebrated as part of Radio 4’s coverage of a Festival Mass at St John’s yesterday:

Do let us know if you have heard the Fringe being referenced in other national papers, radio or TV – not to mention the international coverage we receive from World Fringe! Onwards and upwards!

Buxton Fringe

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Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Let Them Eat Cake - Six ways to combine Fringe and refreshments

Vintage Cafe, Swap Films, Photos & Memories for Cake

Having just enjoyed an almond slice at the one-off Vintage Café run by the Past Lives Project today, we got to wondering whether there were other opportunities to combine Fringe and cake. Here are some options...
  1.  Acappella and Cake -  Ordsall Acappella Singers. Come along for an hour of close harmony singing plus a selection of homemade cakes.   
  2. Summer Serenade - Bel Canto Community Choir. A feast of traditional songs, popular classics and grand opera, with cakes and sparkling summer punch included!  
  3. 2015 Art Exhibition - Burbage Art Group. Pop into this friendly annual art exhibition with free tea and cakes on offer.
  4. Derbyshire Stone - High Peak Artists. Enjoy artwork on the theme of stone in the setting of the cake-filled Pavilion Gardens Art Café.
  5. The Great Dome Art Fair - Peak District Artisans. Live music and cakey café are integral to this major art and crafts show. 
  6. Nana & Nunu – The Big Sneeze! - Dame for a Laugh. The calorie-conscious can enjoy the cup of tea and slice of birthday cake plot of this children’s show without actually indulging themselves...  

Exceedingly good ideas we think you'll agree! Find details of all these shows and more.

Buxton Fringe

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Thursday, 9 July 2015

The Magic of Theatre at Buxton Fringe

Whether it is through the story itself, the unique location in which it is performed, or the sheer quality of the performance, this year Fringe theatre is set to take audiences into another world.

The magic begins with Butterfly’s adaptation of As You Like It, uniquely set in Poole’s Cavern where live acoustic music, love and laughter help create a lively “Shakespeare lock-in” as the audience moves through the atmospheric caves. The enchantment continues with The Ash Girl, Timberlake Wertenbaker’s darkly beautiful retelling of Cinderella performed by the REC Youth Theatre Company, and don’t miss the most charmed play of all, Uproot Theatre Company’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, performed in just one frenetic hour by two actors.

Shakespeare continues to gain a magical twist with inamoment theatre company presenting King Lear (Alone), a thought-provoking reworking of the original, whilst Fringe Award winners, Smooth Faced Gentlemen are bringing a new, all-female production of Othello, plus their stripped-down, ramped-up version of Titus Andronicus. Steve Larkin, also adapts a classic with, Tes - Tess of the D’urbervilles Re-imagined, reinventing Hardy’s heroine as a teenaged boy from a Newcastle council estate.

A more spooky atmosphere is also to be found, with The Rats in the Walls by Alexander Arts taking us to sinister Exham Priory, and Peaceful from The Off-Off-Off- Broadway Company focusing on a woman hiding from ghosts in her labyrinthine mansion. Both of these shows are performed in the distinctive setting of Underground Venues, also the place to see the classic gothic horror story The Turn of the Screw performed by That’s My Cue Productions.

Audiences are invited ghost-hunting with the Ghosthunters’ Club by Cul-de sac theatre set over the five creaky floors of the Scriveners Bookshop. Alternatively Lady M Youth Theatre brings a unique portrayal of Edgar Allan Poe’s classic poem in The Raven, whilst another young company, Dilate Theatre, brings the audience a gruesome murder mystery treat in Murder Weapon.

Action and adventure is also delivered with Curious Grin Productions offering an energetic and exciting production of Around the World in 80 Days. Rhema Theatre Company meanwhile tells powerfully dramatic true stories from the world of human trafficking in The ‘It’s Not Fair!’.

The magic of musical theatre is also very present in this year’s Fringe. Far West Theatre presents Jacques Brel: Une Vie a Mille Temps, a brand-new musical piece based on the life and works of the famous Belgian composer, whilst Departure Lounge, a musical by Sudden Impulse Theatre company, tells a more modern story, about four British boys returning home from a lads’ holiday in the sun. Behind the Blinds by Dreamshed Theatre invites us to a musical revue featuring comic and tragicomic songs, whilst Jim MacCool’s Parliament of Fowls, by the Performance Poetry Society, combines poetry and music in a magical combination, with a brand new version of Geoffrey Chaucer’s parable dream vision.

Sometimes all it takes is just two actors to bring a play magically to life. Seriously Funny by Dreamshed Theatre, portrays Tony Hancock and Kenneth Williams both on and off stage, whilst Sudden Impulse Theatre Company, brings to life Two by Jim Cartwright, just as the writer originally intended.

Who's bringing magic to your Fringe? Do add your comments about shows via the website's Enhanced Diary or in the Comments Book at the Fringe Information Desk.

Buxton Fringe

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Sunday, 5 July 2015

Why the Fringe gets Buxton buzzing

Festivals have a habit of bringing people together. Just take a look at the following article about Sidmouth Folk Week.

Here in Buxton, though we are also proud of the economic benefits brought to the town by both the Fringe and the Festival, we are probably even more excited by the feeling of community and fun engendered by our event. "I love what happens to Buxton during the Fringe - I enjoy seeing the colourful thespians, artists and musicians in town and the energy shift is palpable. Buxton feels hip!" said Buxton Tennis Club’s Fiona Holland in a recent issue of Pure Buxton and we get plenty more comments like that from enthusiastic visitors to our Fringe Information Desk, which opens this Wednesday.

Our Community Links scheme also tries to make the buzz reach as far as possible. So we help performers contact care homes, schools and other organisations with a view to bringing them shows and workshops. And the Fringe itself sometimes gets involved with community projects. Last week I joined Haddon Hall Care Home residents in making a colourful wall display about the Fringe and look forward to bringing you some pictures of this when it is finished. This week I’ll be involved in a similar activity session at the Portland Care Home.

Every year we are delighted afresh with the support we get in the town – we know plenty of places such as Buxton Community School mount their own Fringe displays and shops are enthusiastically displaying performers’ posters. Thank you shops, thank you venues, thank you volunteers and thanks to all who help turn Buxton orange during the Fringe every July.

Buxton Fringe

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Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Two Concerts by Partita

We think that this year is the 21st consecutive Buxton Fringe for the early music ensemble Partita. This is what they have told us about the two concerts they bring for 2015. 

"The music of the medieval, renaissance and baroque periods ranges from 
extremely simple expressions of reflective beauty and calm or lively charm to 
astonishingly complex blends of musical inventiveness and affecting emotional power.  

"Partita invites you to join us in experiencing the delights this music 
has to offer in two different concerts this year – featuring singers Sasha 
Johnson Manning and Holly Marland, whose voices have been described as 
“remarkable voices with clear tone, no vibrato, precise diction, beautiful line, 
and an air of total engagement with the music and the audience” and 
instrumentalists who play a fascinating range of faithful historic copy 
instruments including lutes, viols, harps, harpsichord, renaissance and 
baroque guitars, vihuela, theorbo, gemshorn, and recorders.

"For our Buxton Festival Fringe evening concert in St John’s Church (17 July
7-30pm) Partita presents, for the first time, a collaborative programme:   

‘MUSICA ANTIGUA E MODERNO’  -  the ‘antique’ sounds of Partita’s 
renaissance and baroque music interposed with the more modern 
contributions of exciting newly formed duo Stringboxes (Partita’s Holly 
Marland singing and playing the kora [African harp] with Romanian virtuoso 
double bass player Michael Cretu in a mixture of African, Romanian gypsy 
music, and new compositions by both Holly and Michael). 

"Partita’s second Fringe concert  -  a lunchtime concert in Buxton Methodist 
Church (23 July 1pm)  will be a sequence of our traditional renaissance/ 
baroque mixture of voices and instruments and will include music from the 
Elizabethan theatre, a favourite song of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, a 
song set to words by Francois I of France, a baroque partita for two bass viols, and songs and arias by Purcell, Handel, and Bach.

For a preview of the sounds of Partita and Stringboxes visit: 


Buxton Fringe

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Tuesday, 30 June 2015

A Nasty Little Play - a dark comedy for the Fringe

Chris Neville Smith is pleased to be returning to the Buxton Fringe for the third year running, with a new play written and directed by Alan Godfrey.
A Nasty Little Play is a dark comedy set in a seedy 1950s Soho 'Books & Mags' shop, where three punters and two dancers from the theatre next door are stuck together during a police raid. But in spite of the title, and in spite of the setting, the play is a comedy, set in a world of outwardly moral decency, Watch Committees, and the then ruling that nudes were only permitted on stage if they were not moving.

Author Alan Godfrey was in Chris Neville-Smith's first play at Buxton, two years ago, and had long ago suggested that Pauper's Pit would be the ideal venue for this little comedy. Professionally he is best known as a map publisher, but in the 1970s he wrote several plays for children, for touring nationally to schools. A Nasty Little Play is one of three dark comedies he has written recently, in a revived interest in the theatre, the first of which, Plan C, was performed as part of a 'New Writing Festival' at Durham's City Theatre in 2011, and in which Chris Neville-Smith played a leading role.

All three plays take laughter into otherwise dark or ambiguous settings in the belief that all of us have the capacity to be sad, funny and even ridiculous, often at the same time. Chris Neville-Smith's previous appearances at Buxton included The First Sign of Madness, as a writer/directory in 2013, and Waiting for Gandalf, written by Adrian Marks, in 2014, which was nominated for Best New Writing. This time he takes the - relatively - easy role of actor and producer. The cast of six are all members of Durham Dramatic Society.
A Nasty Little Play is showing at Underground Venues at 10.15 p.m. on the 19th July, 8.30 p.m. on the 20th July, and 5.45 p.m. on the 21st-22nd July.
Further details, including cast information, can be found on Chris Neville-Smith's website. 

Buxton Fringe

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