Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Meet Isabelle Wilkins

There are innumerable pleasures in being part of the Buxton Festival Fringe. One of them is the opportunity to meet young, talented and creative people - and last week we met with Isabelle Wilkins who provided us with the artwork for the Fringe 2015 programme cover and flyer.
Isabelle graduated from the University of Derby Illustration degree course last summer and is now working in a self-employed capacity from home in Barnsley. Isabelle met us at the University Dome on a snowy morning in Buxton and as we went on a tour of the town she told us a bit about her career and her work.
Isabelle said that she chose to study at Derby because she was impressed by the facilities and the attitude of the staff that she met. She has never regretted her choice and keeps in touch with others that she graduated with.
Isabelle explained some of the technical aspects of her design which was built up in layers - using fabric, string and digital processes. Her researches on Buxton images led her to adapt a signpost for Fringe purposes.
Isabelle very much enjoys films and is currently working on a 3-D project - making a suit of armour, inspired by Thor. You can see more of her work on her website. Isabelle is ready and happy to take on commissions and you can see some of the portraiture she has completed.

This pic hardly needs a caption: one young, talented person embarking on an exciting career and some bloke in a hat. Echoes of Isabelle's design which incorporates a Buxton signpost.

There are a number of new entries for 2015 in the pipeline and expect to see them on the online programme shortly. Meanwhile, we have a new interview as part of the Fringe archive. Sheila Barker was involved in organising the Fringe from the very earliest days - 35 years ago. Recently she recounted some of her memories to Stephanie Billen. We hope you find time to listen to the interview.

Buxton Fringe

Website: www.buxtonfringe.org.uk
Facebook: buxtonfringe
Twitter: @buxtonfringe

Monday, 8 December 2014

Fringe Programme Cover Artwork for 2015

There are times when we seem to be scarily organised on the Buxton Festival Fringe. Here we are, seven months away from Fringe 2015 and we have the cover artwork sorted!
We're delighted to be able to share this design with you. The artwork was provided by Isabelle Wilkins a recent graduate from the University of Derby, which is, of course, the sponsor of the Fringe..
Isabelle, who is from Barnsley, told us: “I like to work by layering colours and textures such as fabric and string and I wanted to do something bold and simple that invoked feelings of family, excitement and festivity.” We're confident that her design achieves exactly that.
We're meeting Isabelle later in the week and we'll carry an interview with her - and some photos - in the blog next week.
For those of you living in Buxton - or near by - you may want to know about a folk carol concert (with festive readings) at St Mary's Church, Dale Road this coming Wednesday, December 10th. The event is free - but donations to charity are invited - and starts at 7.30pm. St Mary's is a lovely church in the Arts & Crafts style and is a Fringe venue.
Finally, for now, we mentioned last week that next year marks 175 years of well dressing in Buxton. Here - in about 175 seconds - is a time-lapse video of the team working on 2014's petalling in St John's Church.

Buxton Fringe.

Website: www.buxtonfringe.org.uk
Facebook: buxtonfringe
Twitter: @buxtonfringe

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Buxton Festval Fringe: back, ready to go for July 2015

Just in case you didn't know, two important things we need to tell you:
1] Buxton Festival Fringe 2015 will open on Wednesday July 8th and close 19 days later on Sunday July 26th;
2] Fringe 2015 is now open for entries and here at Fringe command we're ready to process your entries and get them onto the Fringe website as soon as we can.
At this early stage just a couple of things to let you know.
2015 is a big year for all things Derbyshire - anyone who is producing something in the county is encouraged to add the slogan "Made In Derbyshire" and the Fringe will certainly be doing that.
2015 is also a special year for a number of people with Buxton connections. It marks the 175th anniversary of the establishment of the craft of well-dressing in the town. The local committee not only dresses the town's wells it also organises the carnival and the procession through the town. They will be planning something special for Carnival Day which falls on Saturday July 11th. In 2014 the Fringe float was awarded a cup - we'll doing our best to win something in 2015.
2015 is also the 40th anniversary of the establishment of Chapel-en-le-Frith Morris Men. They will be organising a day of dance on Saturday July 18th and will be hoping for a dry day. The only wet morning of Fringe 2014 coincided with the day of dance- so all the dancers deserve better in 2015.
Fringe Sunday - our annual free party in the Pavilion Gardens takes place on July 12th this year. [We don't anticipate toning down the orange and we'll just have to hope that we're not misunderstood in any quarter].
We're hopeful that students from the University of Derby (which, we are delighted to say, is continuing to sponsor the Fringe) will lend a hand to make Fringe Sunday - and our Carnival Day Float - better than ever.
At the head of this post is an e-flyer - please share it to remind people that Buxton Fringe 2015 is on its way.
The next blog post - and these will be weekly for the time being - will uncover the artwork for next year's Fringe programme. Excited? You bet we are.

Buxton Fringe

Website: www.buxtonfringe.org.uk
Facebook: buxtonfringe
Twitter: @buxtonfringe

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Peter Low

The Buxton Festival began in 1979. The Fringe followed the following year. Among the Fringe supporters from the very beginning were Malcolm Fraser, Alan Bailey and Peter Low. Malcolm died in 2012, Alan last year and with the sad news of Peter's death on October 11th we have lost the last part of the link to the origins of the Fringe.

Peter was an enthusiastic and loyal supporter of the Fringe from the very beginning and his keen and active part this July only encouraged us to believe that he would go on forever. His sudden death aged 79 leaves us shocked - but we must be thankful for all that he gave us.

Peter was well-educated, traveled widely (and he was always a traveler, never a tourist), and read keenly and critically. One of his great loves in life was music - especially that of the great composers. Peter attended many concerts and recitals in Buxton throughout the year and often contributed thoughtful and well-informed reviews to the Buxton Advertiser. We were lucky that he gave so generously to the Fringe in reviewing many performances and always helping when it came to the difficult task of determining awards. It was Peter who famously told us that comparing a symphony orchestra with a jazz quartet was "like comparing a stick insect with a gerbil."

Peter also 'performed' in the Fringe each year - being part of the series of 'Fringe Readings' that are delivered in the Old Hall at weekends. This year Peter read a less-than-flattering portrait of Prince Charles. It wasn't his intended reading - he had hoped to borrow some technology to allow the projection of images to illustrate his chosen text but that fell through. Peter may have seemed, at first sight, to be culturally conservative but what turned out to be his final Fringe reading is a reminder of his intellectual independence.

Peter was a gentle man; he always smiled when he talked and listened to you; he carried his learning lightly - never using his knowledge or experience to put anyone down. These qualities made him him an admirable chair of the Fringe committee, a role he performed for 15 years up until 2004. These were not always easy times financially but Peter ensured the survival of the Fringe and did all that he could to encourage new and young performers.

Those of us that knew Peter well and felt able to call him our friend feel lucky and blessed. We loved him and we miss him. Peter gave much to the artistic and cultural life of Buxton in many ways, over many years. Many of us owe him much.

So, thank you Peter. Our thoughts are of him and our sympathies with his wife, Janet, and their daughters at their loss. We hope that the knowledge of the love and admiration felt for Peter is of some comfort at this painful time.

Keith Savage

Website: www.buxtonfringe.org.uk
Facebook: buxtonfringe
Twitter: @buxtonfringe

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Thanks & Farewell Fringe 2014

This might be the last Buxton Fringe blog for a while - there is unlikely to be much of any great significance happening over the next 5 weeks or so.

It would be ill-mannered - and we hope we are not that - to sign-off for the summer without thanking everyone who made this Fringe so memorable. Everyone includes thousands of people and most of them are unknown to us so we can't do a roll-call. It would include, however, all those people who opened-up the venues and served tea and biscuits. It would include all the front of house staff, box office staff, technicians and venue managers. It would include our lovely audiences who were unfailingly generous and enthusiastic. It would include the thousands of dancers, comedians, artists, musicians, storytellers, filmmakers and singers who brought their skills and enthusiasm to the Fringe to share with us all.

The Fringe as an organisation is ever grateful to its sponsor, the University of Derby, and all those others that provide practical and financial support, such as: High Peak Borough Council, the Osborne Group, AM Bromley Ltd, the Buckingham Hotel, Buxton Brewery, Buxton Festival, Buxton Opera House, the Green Man Gallery, the Old Hall Hotel and the Pavilion Gardens.

Next year's Buxton Festival is scheduled to take place between 10-26 July. The Fringe dates have yet to be agreed but provisionally they are likely to be 8-26 July. Confirmation of the dates will be posted on the Fringe website as soon as they are confirmed.

Have a fabulous summer everyone and hope to see you all back in Buxton next July.

Buxton Fringe

Website: www.buxtonfringe.org.uk
Facebook: buxtonfringe
Twitter: @buxtonfringe

The end of another great Fringe

Shakespeare's Jukebox collect their Street Theatre award

Keith has been so efficient at blogging during the Fringe that I haven’t felt the need to intrude. Well it’s all over now and in danger of feeling a little flat so perhaps it is time to round things off with a few words.

It was great to see so many performers and Fringe supporters at the Awards Ceremony on Sunday, a super occasion upstairs at The Old Clubhouse - the venue beautifully Fringeified with bunting and table decorations. While a few will have been disappointed not to receive awards, it was lovely to see the smiling faces of those acts such as Shakespeare's Jukebox (pictured above) who did come away with something. And there were tears of joy from some of the winners with the John Beecher Memorial Award in particular bringing up many emotions. The highly creative Off-Off-Off Broadway Company picked up this award, telling me later that John had been their dear friend and was an inspiration in everything that they do.

Over the coming weeks, certificates will be sent out and the website's gallery pages refreshed. Some of the photos are just fantastic and we should thank our volunteer photographers – Ian J Parkes, Donald Judge, James Bissett and the webmaster Dan Osborne (the latter performing various unwise acrobatics on top of the Fringe float to get the right shot). We are lacking video however so do get in touch if you can plug this gap by posting something on Youtube to which we can link.

The thank you game is a dangerous one as it sometimes seems that the whole town is in on the task of making the Fringe successful, but three cheers for Fringe chair Keith, a ubiquitous figure seeing around 45 shows as well as organising new venture Fringe at Five, and to the tireless Fringe desk managers and volunteers who helped paint the town orange.

See you all next year!

Buxton Fringe

Website: www.buxtonfringe.org.uk
Facebook: buxtonfringe
Twitter: @buxtonfringe

Friday, 25 July 2014

Last weekend of 35th Buxton Festival Fringe

Well it’s the ‘last chance saloon’ for all Festival Fringe events as the final weekend of the 35th Fringe approaches. Blessed with brilliant weather – apart from the poor old Morris men – there will be much to remember. But first what still can you see and hear?

On Saturday only you could a musical feast: the fabulous K’antu Ensemble bring early music up-to-date with a concert of Shakespeare’s Music at the United Reformed Church at 12.30. At 2pm in St Mary’s Church the Bel Canto Singers will be presenting a programme of songs in joyful summer celebration including a tribute to First World War heroes.

At the Methodist Church at 3pm John Kilpatrick brings the Sheffield Lydian Ensemble for what he says will be his final concert. High standards of musicianship and fun in equal measure is guaranteed in a choral collage that includes John’s Jumblies Suite (‘they went to sea in a sieve they did’).

You could complete a tour of Buxton churches by going to St John’s at 7.30pm to hear the City of Manchester Opera singing some of your favourite arias and choruses. Fringe regulars COMO never let their appreciative audiences down.

If it is folkier, more contemporary, music that you are looking for there is a straight choice at Underground Venues. At 3.45pm The Raintown Seers draw on songs from both sides of the Atlantic in a mix of traditional and original compositions. At 4pm Darren Poyzer delivers the final performance of ‘The War To End All Wars’ – his moving reflections on the First World War.

The excellent Mart Rodger Manchester Jazz will be delivering their own brand of Dixieland and trad jazz at the Methodist Church at 7.30pm

There is a raft of comedy in town. Radio and TV presenter Terry Christian is presenting his ‘Naked Confessions of A Recovering Alcoholic’ which has been touring to great reviews. He is at the 300-seat Arts Centre Auditorium at 8pm. At 9.45 in the Arts Centre Studio is Lolie Ware with ‘Too Cool To Care’ in which she finds humour in her account of life caring for two elderly parents. She totally won-over audiences when she was in Buxton earlier this Fringe.

At Underground Venues you have a choice of late night comedy. Alfie Moore draws on his experience as a police officer for his show ‘The Naked Stun’ which has at its heart the business of trying to catch a flasher. There is plenty of humour but also plenty of exasperation in Alfie’s stories. Simon Feilder starts last at 10.30pm with ‘All the things I’m not’ in which he examines his life so far with the aid of flip charts, histograms and some songs. Simon is worried that much in life he finds difficult – such as relationships – but can he work out ways of coping?

There is plenty available on both Saturday and Sunday. If you haven’t yet seen the free art exhibitions at the Art CafĂ© in the Pavilion Gardens, the town Museum & Art Gallery or The Green Man Gallery then Sunday may be a good opportunity to make good that omission. The galleries are open all day.

Buxton has seen a number of premieres this Fringe. Possibly none has been better than ‘Shrew’ a new play written by, and starring, Ami Jones. The play revisits Shakespeare’s ‘The Taming of the Shrew’ from the point of view of Kate. She is still angry, hurt, resentful – but she also questions herself and her complicity which led to a life that was not what she wanted or hoped for. This is a totally gripping performance and Ami Jones is a name to watch out for. The last performances are on Saturday at 6.15pm and Sunday at 1pm.

The amiable Doug Devaney is back this weekend with ‘The Angina Monologue’ in which he considers how fags, booze and a fat-filled diet led him to surgery, death’s door and life-style choices. Doug clearly has a message but the story is told in an engaging way and not without humour. Doug finishes at Underground Venues on Sunday at 2.30pm.

Dreamshed Theatre is in town with two very different shows. ‘The Theo The Mouse Show’ is unambiguously a show aimed at children – and their mums, dads or grandparents – and the enthusiastic Fringe reviewer wrote: Although the show had echoes of Basil Brush in its format, it reminded me more of the best kind of panto with singing, dancing, magic and even some ‘Oh no there wasn’t! Oh yes there was!’ moments. There was just the right amount of interactivity, no longueurs, spot on comedy for adults and children alike and not a hint of condescension to younger members of the audience. See Theo at the United Reformed Church at 2pm Saturday and Sunday.

At 7.30pm Dreamshed are back with a very different show – ‘His Letters’. This is a moving one-man play about a man who makes an unusual discovery when clearing out his late mother’s possessions. The reviewer urging you to see the show said: His Letters is an excellent example of story telling that explores family relationships and how we interact with people once they are gone. It strengths were in “how” the story was told rather than “what” story was being told. How the story was told is down to a combination of both the actor and the writing.

The last two events at this year’s Fringe are ‘Swan Canaries’ – also at the United Reformed Church – which tells the story of factory workers in Nottingham who made munitions during the First World War. With a song or two this tells an important story in an accessible way.

Seeing the Fringe out in grand style are the Word Wizards who have put on 16 performance poetry events at the Buckingham Hotel. The last one – starting at 8.15 – includes Derbyshire’s first poet laureate Cathy Grindrod.

Buxton Fringe

Website: www.buxtonfringe.org.uk
Facebook: buxtonfringe
Twitter: @buxtonfringe