Thursday, 25 May 2017

40 Days: countdown begins (and a competition is announced!)

Our new programme cover: artwork by Tom Mason, design by John Tromans

Buxton Festival Fringe 2017 starts on Wednesday July 5th. Tickets for many shows are now on sale. Almost 40 shows have tickets on sale with Buxton Opera House.
Our exciting new venue Rotunda Theatre now has 15 shows on sale.
Ticketed events at The Green Man Gallery are on sale too.
Underground Venues will be at The Old Clubhouse and the Pavilion Arts Centre this year and tickets for their 70 events should go on sale next week.
So, all you need is a Fringe programme to choose what you are going to see at our biggest, most varied Festival ever. Printed programmes are now widely available in Buxton and will be distributed across the town and throughout the county over the next week.
We'll happily post one to you - though we'd appreciate a SAE, 1st class post for a programme is £1.30. Write to us at:
1 White Knowle Road
SK17 9NG.

With this year’s event just around the corner, Buxton Fringe is already thinking about 2018 and has announced an open-to-all art competition for next year’s programme cover.
The Fringe has had some terrific artwork featured on its programme covers including this year’s photograph from designer Tom Mason featuring tiny model figures against a vintage map background. Past covers have also been provided by art students from Fringe sponsor, the University of Derby.
We are now looking to widen the net with a competition aimed at professional and non-professional artists and designers alike and open to all. The closing deadline for submissions, which must be emailed, is October 1st and there will be a £100 prize for the winning entry.
Full details are available on the Fringe website. Fringe chair Keith Savage adds: “It's a few years since we have had an open competition for the Fringe artwork. Given the number of talented and imaginative artists and designers out there we look forward to having some difficult decisions to make.”

Buxton Fringe

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Sunday, 7 May 2017

Aerial acrobatics and Audience Puppetry

"The Boy Who Grew Wings" is a new show produced by Whispering Woods and is touring in England this summer.
We are thrilled that it can be seen in Buxton as part of our Festival Fringe on Saturday July 8th. There are two performances in the woods behind Poole's Cavern. This really is one for the family and promises to be like nothing else this Buxton Fringe.

Very different from the aerial acrobatics of "The Boy Who Grew Wings" is Mike Raffone's debut show at Buxton. This is what he has to tells us:

At the tender age of 52, and with almost three decades of experience performing interactive comedy in street theatre shows, Mike Raffone is moving indoors. He makes his Buxton Fringe comedy debut with Brain Rinse - Puppetry of the Audience.
Through a series of off the wall sketches Mike tackles all the big themes in life. Love, suicide, Beethoven and The Army to name but a few. But what makes this show different is that Mike doesn’t perform to the audience he performs with the audience in the ultimate immersive TV inspired sketch show with a cast of thousands. Sure, the idea of joining in may fill you with more dread than two hours in the dentist's chair with Dr Josef Mengele, but this still may be the show for you.
“I’m aware”, says Mike, “that asking the audience to do the entire show is a big ask, but it’s my experience that if the audience are treated with respect they will almost always give more than they imagine they ever could. The trick is making the audience feel safe to let loose a bit, and join in without feeling they are doing it badly. It’s also important to me that the audience decide for themselves just how much they are prepared to join in. In this respect they set the agenda for the show. When done with skill audience interaction can be hugely entertaining and great fun”
You can catch Brain Rinse, Puppetry of the Audience as part of The Buxton Fringe at United Reformed Church Blue Room, for four nights only from 20th to 23rd July at 8:15pm. Tickets are £8 (£7 concessions), email Mike at for more details.

Our printed programme will be available in 3 weeks time. It will be a bumper 56-page, full-colour programme - to accommodate the 186 separate events we have for you this summer. Meanwhile the Fringe website gives full details of all the events to be listed in the programme.

Buxton Fringe

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Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Buxton Festival Fringe to Join World Fringe Day Celebrations

Buxton Festival Fringe will join fringe festivals across the globe on Tuesday 11 July to celebrate the inaugural World Fringe Day. World Fringe Day will be an international day of celebration, reflecting on the collective power and worldwide reach of the fringe movement. We are inviting participants and audiences to join us in celebrating World Fringe Day.
2017 marks 70 years since the birth of the fringe concept, with the founding of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland in 1947. The spark that was ignited in Edinburgh has circled the globe and there are now more than 200 fringes worldwide. The fringe model has been emulated from Australia to France, Canada to Prague, South Africa to Brighton, China to Brazil, and everywhere in-between. The fringe movement has grown from strength to strength, enabling people all over the world to make cultural connections that transcend national boundaries.
Keith Savage, from Buxton Fringe, said:
“World Fringe Day is a fantastic opportunity for people to come together and celebrate all that is great about fringe. Fringes come in many different shapes and sizes but are united in their dedication to providing platforms for artists to bring their work to new audiences, allowing them to share their ideas and develop their skills. We can’t wait to join with our sister fringes for a very special day of worldwide fringe fun. As we mark seventy years of fringe, we will also be taking the opportunity to wish the Edinburgh Festival Fringe a happy 70th anniversary. We hope that Buxton audiences and participants will join us on World Fringe Day to tell the world what fringe means to them. Buxton Fringe is only 37 years old - so it is young compared to Edinburgh - but there are only a handful of Fringes that have been around for longer. We are proud to be part of this movement for the arts. World Fringe Day falls in the middle of Buxton Festival Fringe 2017 and we'll be doing all that we can to make it an extra special day.”
World Fringe Day will highlight the crucial role that fringe festivals continue to play in the international arts landscape. As the Edinburgh Festival Fringe marks its 70th anniversary this year, World Fringe Day 2017 will also celebrate Edinburgh as the birthplace of the fringe movement.
Shona McCarthy, Chief Executive of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society said:
“From humble beginnings in Edinburgh in 1947, the fringe movement has developed into a global network of festivals over the last 70 years, with fringes now taking place on every continent except Antarctica. 2017 promises to be a very exciting year in fringe history as we celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and join with our sister fringes around the globe to celebrate 70 years of the fringe movement. I hope that anyone who has attended, performed at, or been involved in organising a fringe will take the opportunity to share their fringe stories on World Fringe Day.”
The Edinburgh Festival Fringe began in 1947 when eight groups arrived in Edinburgh hoping to perform at the newly formed Edinburgh International Festival but were refused entry to the programme. Rather than being discouraged from performing, they went ahead and performed on the fringe of the Festival anyway. The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is an open access festival where, in the spirit of the original eight, no one is denied entry, making it the largest platform on earth for creative freedom. In 2016, 3,269 shows took place in 294 venues across Edinburgh.
For more information about the day visit

Buxton Fringe

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Friday, 21 April 2017

Buxton Fringe 2017 - Biggest Yet!

The cup the Fringe float was awarded at the 2016 carnival!
[Photo. Sofia Huxford Rodriguez]

This year will be the 38th Buxton Festival Fringe - and it is going to be the biggest yet! When the deadline for entries was reached on Sunday we had 185 different shows and events listed - with well over 500 performances to take place over the 19 days from 5-23 July.

Now size isn't everything, but the quality and range of art and entertainment on offer in Buxton this summer is better than ever too. With little over 70 days to go we shall struggle to preview all that is on offer but we'll be broadcasting all the news that entrants send to us and alerting you to as much as we can.

At the close of Fringe 2016 and the loss of two venues in the Old Hall Hotel we wondered what might happen to make up for those losses. Well, now we know. Underground Venues is back - now Underground at The Old Clubhouse - with nearly 70 shows in the pub opposite the Opera House. The room upstairs will be converted into a 60-seat theatre space for the Fringe and in another, smaller, room will be a brand new venue for 2017. The Buxton Festival Fridge will be the smallest performance space and not one for claustrophobes - but it is bound to be a full-house!

The other new managed venue is The Rotunda - a 130-seat performance space on the Old Bowling Green in the Pavilion Gardens. The programme there is packed with top-quality drama, comedy and music.

These two venues are bound to attract big audiences but there is plenty to see and do at 40 spaces in Buxton and beyond - we have shows in Chelmorton, Eyam and New Mills too.

So, take a look at our programme on-line and start making plans. The printed programme will be available from the end of May and Buxton Opera House will begin selling tickets for many shows around the same time. Meanwhile, there is a Fringe taster on Saturday 22nd April. At 3pm at St Mary's Church the ever-popular Ordsall Acappella Singers will be helping celebrate the church's centenary. The singing will be fun and the home-made cake delicious.

Buxton Fringe

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Saturday, 8 April 2017

Buxton International Festival - tickets on sale

dotdotdot dance - will be performing Los Nacimientos with Gillian Keith and John Reid

What we have come to know as the Buxton Festival is now the Buxton International Festival - a change in name that accurately reflects the character of the event. Tickets are now on public sale - and some events are sold out already, so don't delay. The Box Office is here.

Among the events at Buxton International Festival is Los Nacimientos a new piece by Tom Randle. Tom explained how the work came about for Friends of the Festival: "Los Nacimientos (The Births) is a new interdisciplinary dance/theatre piece created in collaboration with dotdotdot dance. The piece itself began life as a song cycle - a setting of texts by the Nobel prize-winning Chilean revolutionary poet Pablo Neruda.
"Although the song cycle in its original form had been received very successfully, it was after seeing a performance by dotdotdot dance in the Buxton Fringe Festival that the idea was hatched to work with them and put these two elements - 21st century Art Song and flamenco infused choreography - together.
"We hope that those already familiar with Neruda will welcome the chance to revisit his work in a brand new way, and for those encountering his poems for the first time, I can promise an extraordinary and unforgettable evening."
Los Nacimientos will be performed at the Pavilion Arts Centre on Saturday 15 and 22 July at 7.30pm. Gillian Keith will sing accompanied by pianist John Reid.

Another important Buxton event which sees its fruition during the Fringe is the Buxton Spa Prize. "The Buxton Spa Prize is an open art competition celebrating the town’s culture, natural beauty and heritage. Last year the competition attracted more than 150 artists. The aim of the Buxton Spa Prize is to make the town an internationally recognised centre for visual arts.
"The competition, now in it's fourth year, is for artists working in any 2D media (except photography) who are over the age of 17 on 1st April 2017. The winning artist will receive a grand prize of £5000. The Buxton Spa Prize 2017 is proudly sponsored by ‘The Trevor Osborne Charitable Trust’.
"Winners will be judged by a panel of experts from the town and the art world. The exhibition includes the sale of work and runs from Saturday 1st July until Monday 31st July at The Green Man Gallery."
Artists have until May 15th to enter the competition and until June 25th to submit their work.

Back at Fringe Towers we are happy to report that we now have 125 events and shows lined-up for July and there are still 9 days in which to enter in order to be guaranteed a listing in the printed programme which will be published and launched at a party - also at the Green Man Gallery - on Saturday June 3rd. It looks like being a special Fringe indeed.

Buxton Fringe

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Monday, 13 March 2017

Buxton Fringe Ensures The Hills Are Alive...

With the hills of the Peak District all around us, it is no surprise that Buxton Fringe attracts its fair share of performers eager to celebrate the joys of nature.

This year’s programme - already featuring over 80 entries and with many more to come - is no exception with inspirational events including Love, Nature & Shakespeare with a mix of lute songs and soprano arias performed by Sue Morgan and Espérance, and Spoken Word’s Heading for the Hills, in which Peter and Gillian Byrom-Smith combine music and poetry in a nature-themed evening. Not surprisingly, our Visual Arts category is full of artists capturing our fantastic landscape with High Peak Artists and The Green Man Gallery both celebrating water and the Derbyshire Open at the Museum traditionally featuring many atmospheric renditions of local scenes amongst its eclectic offerings.

We are also intrigued by KEMS Contemporary’s Sound Scape whereby musicians and audience move around nine sculptures representing natural objects. This art-in-nature installation by sculptor Lorna Green has music by Julia Harding and takes place in the spectacular setting of Fringe sponsor, the University of Derby’s Dome.

TICTAC Theatre meanwhile offers a humorous take on man’s effect on the natural world with its series of two-person plays through the eyes of seagulls, seahorses and, those Fringe favourites - sheep.

On a more serious note, it’s worth saying that the Fringe works hard to reduce the impact of the festival on the environment and is supporting the work of the not-for-profit organisation Positive Impact for the 2017 United Nations International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. We have recently created a page on the Fringe website where we set out some of the ways in which we try to be green. We would love to hear your ideas on this and, if you are a performer, the eco-initiatives that you have taken. Do let us know!

Buxton Fringe

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Sunday, 5 March 2017

Sitting Down and Being Counted

Buxton's magnificent Palace Hotel - a Fringe venue

The arts, in all their aspects, are a source of entertainment and pleasure of course. They can also stimulate, challenge and contribute to social cohesion. It is best if our experience of the arts does all of these things and there is plenty happening at this year's Buxton Festival Fringe that does just that!

We are delighted to see that Stone & Water have organised a Buxton Pride Picnic for Saturday July 22nd from 3-6pm on the Old Bowling Green in the Pavilion Gardens. As they say in their invitation: "Celebrating Queer Buxton (LGBT+ and all our friends!) with a picnic of gracefulness, silliness and frivolous strength. Bring your own exquisite nibbles, an umbrella or parasol if appropriate, and join us on the lawn. Add a poem to read, an elegant dress or simply your own wonderful self." We look forward to being there for an hour, or two, or three. We may bring more frivolity than grace - and cannot guarantee elegance - but a clutch of poems will be to hand.

Recently in New Mills a group of people headed by Rebecca Harman organised an evening of music and food with the purpose of raising money to support charities working with refugees. The evening was a brilliant success and Buxton Fringe is really pleased that Rebecca is putting on an evening at The Palace Hotel - also on the 22nd, so stay in costume - to benefit the Hummingbird Project which has been doing excellent work in aid of refugees for last two years.

You can have a very busy - and not expensive - day in Buxton on Saturday July 22nd. There is some exceptional artwork to be seen - at the Green Man Gallery, the Pavilion Gardens and the Dome (University of Derby) - throughout the day. At the Green Man and the Pavilion Gardens (Art Café) there will be the opportunity to compare two exhibitions which share the theme of water in the Peak District. At the Dome the Peak District Artisans bring their annual show - 60 different artists and craftspeople will be exhibiting their work, running workshops and selling (and you won't be able to resist).

See you in the Gardens and the Palace - sitting down (or maybe dancing) for diversity and human rights.

Buxton Fringe

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