Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Fringe 2016: a party and some singing to get us underway

The 37th Buxton Festival Fringe opens for entries on December 1st. To mark the occasion the Fringe - along with good friends, the Green Man Gallery - are having a special party and we'd like you to join us.

The singing of Derbyshire Village Carols has begun to be re-established across the county thanks, largely to the efforts of Ian Russell in Winster. In many towns and villages - in halls, clubs, pubs and churches - it is now possible to hear and sing these lovely carols. The Buxton Festival Fringe and Green Man Gallery are pleased to be able to provide this opportunity for people to come together.

On Saturday December 5th - from 7-10pm - in the Green Man Gallery (the old British Legion building behind the Museum) we shall be singing a selection of Derbyshire Village Carols and if you want to listen or to join in please come to the Gallery and join us. This won't be a 'concert' performance and we'll probably sing each carol two or three times so that we can learn it better.

There will be an open rehearsal from 4-6pm - also in the Green Man - to give us a chance to familiarise ourselves with some of the carols. Please feel free to join us then if you wish. Many of us are not singers - this is something we want to do for anyone that values community singing.

There will be food and drink. So if you hope to join us please let us know - so that we can cater for everyone.

We hope to see as many of you as can make it on Saturday December 5th. In any event all best wishes for Christmas and the New Year. We look forward to seeing you during next year's Fringe (6-24 July).

Keith Savage
Chair, Buxton Fringe
t. 01298 70705
m. 07952 193 521

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Twitter: @buxtonfringe

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

The Razzle-Dazzle of the Fringe

Three quick bits of news and gossip for you all.

We brought you news of the triumphs of Helen Keen and Barbara Nice recently well this may top that!
Hugo Chandor who has acted and directed at the Fringe many times is on TV in some adverts for a detergent. Hugo is the butler (or whatever you call the Mr Bates type Downton figure).

The Peak District String Orchestra played brilliantly in the Fringe last July. The Orchestra is now to play at the Royal Albert Hall on Tuesday 24th November. Here is the full story in the Buxton Advertiser

It has been the warmest November anyone can remember - still nasturtiums and hollyhocks in Buxton gardens - but snow could arrive this weekend to coincide with the town's Christmas lights switch on. Much of the action takes place in the Pavilion Gardens this Friday from 2pm - with stalls and train rides promised. We'll also have a look at the Crescent where there will be another sort of switch-on. Glow - a sound and light installation by Andrew Robinson - will light up the building right through to 3rd January from 5-11pm every evening.

Buxton Fringe

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Sunday, 15 November 2015

Nice and Keen

We try to keep an eye open on what Fringe performers go on to do. This week good news of two comedians who have wowed Buxton audiences in recent years.

Helen Keen has been taking part in an event in the Netherlands:

Helen KeenHelen Keen is an award winning comedy writer and performer. She began her career by winning the first Channel 4 New Comedy Writing prize, and wrote material for various established tv and radio shows. As a performer she toured the country with Robin Ince and Prof. Brian Cox as a guest of the Uncaged Monkeys (the live version of Radio 4’s Infinite Monkey Cage which she has also appeared on several times). Helen was later appointed the first Comedian in Residence at Newcastle University’s Centre for Life Science Village.
In August 2013 she compered the first ever live comedy night at CERN, Large Hadron Comedy, the event was webcast and attracted CERN’s largest international on-line audience since the announcement of the discovery of the Higgs boson…
In 2014 she joined the Stargazing Live live roadshow as a comedian & history of space travel expert, and appeared in the second TV series of The Alternative Comedy Experience (curated by Stewart Lee), broadcast on Comedy Central.
Helen’s first solo stand up show It Is Rocket Science (winner – Buxton Fringe Festival, Best Comedy Performance) was picked up by BBC Radio 4 and has so far launched 3 critically acclaimed series. The show won the 2013 WISE Media Award and was shortlisted for the 2014 Writers’ Guild Award for Best Radio Comedy.
In 2015 she was selected as a Wired Innovation Fellow.
She has also been featured on:
“Embodies all the best things about intellectual comedy. Smart without being elitist, and with just the right amounts of sincerity and sarcasm”
Helen won the Association of British Science Writer’s Royal Society Radio Prize for her BBC Radio 4 comedy show about space history, It Is Rocket Science earlier this summer – and her latest science-comedy series, Big Problems with Helen Keen has just been broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in their prime 6.30pm slot.
You can find some very short clips here and some more clips from the Rocket Science show are here
Read that carefully and you'll see that she owes pretty much everything to the Buxton Festival Fringe. Bravo, Helen. See you in Buxton again sometime?

We missed Ms Keen in the Netherlands but still time to catch Stockport's favourite - Mrs Barbara Nice - on BBC Radio 2 at 10.30pm on Wednesday, 18 November. Stephanie Billen, previewing in The Observer reports that Barbara has reached the stage in life where she doubts that she'll have grandchildren but is also worried that she and husband Ken may become "silver splitters."  

Buxton Fringe

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Wednesday, 28 October 2015

DaleDiva Triumphs in Las Vegas!

DaleDiva provided wonderful entertainment for a large Fringe audience in St John's Church last July. The chorus recently took part in a World Championships event. Here is a full report on their success from Artsbeat Magazine which is produced every month by Amanda Penman -

Derbyshire women’s chorus DaleDiva has brought home a silver medal after wowing the judges with its 15-minute show package in the World Championships in Las Vegas.
The Divas rocked the MGM Grand stage with their performance in the Harmony Classic competition and were awarded a score of 1,249 – just one point behind the gold medal winners.
DaleDiva, formed by musical director Ally Law in 2007, was selected for the World Championships after winning at national competition level in May last year.
Ally said: “Even to have earned a place in the World Championships was an amazing achievement so to win a silver medal in our debut international competition just one point behind the winners was incredible.
“It’s been 18 months of hard work and dedication leading up to this event and it’s been such an adventure. I’m bursting with pride at our achievement and it will take us all a few weeks to come back down to earth.
“We hope we’ve made our county and our country proud by representing them among the best in the world.”
DaleDiva performed four songs in its show package – its versions of Adele’s pop hit ‘Rolling in the Deep’ and the barbershop ballad ‘If I Had My Way’. This was followed with ‘The British Medley’, a unique arrangement by Diva coach Zac Booles of hits by UK artists including The Beatles, Queen, Elton John and The Spice Girls and ended with ‘The Parting Glass’ – a poignant Irish blessing arranged by Diva Shelley Gray.
Ally added: “The chorus competed against stiff competition from the USA and want to say huge congratulations to the winners and all the competitors – it was a privilege to share that amazing stage with them.
“We also want to say a huge thank you to all our fans, families, friends, local residents and businesses for supporting us in the vital task of raising funds for the trip as well as supporting us through all the many preparations taking part in a World Championships requires. It was a fantastic team effort and we couldn’t have done it without them.”
The chorus raised £29,000 with its ‘Going for Gold’ fund-raising campaign since winning the national competition 18 months ago to make sure as many of the Divas as possible could attend the World Championships.
For more information about DaleDiva and to see its silver medal-winning performance visit and

All of us at the Fringe add our congratulations and would love to see the Chorus back in Buxton.

Buxton Fringe

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Fringe AGM - do join us on November 11th

After the fantastic success of 2015’s bumper event, Buxton Festival Fringe is inviting audience members, friends and performers to have their say at its new-look Annual General Meeting on Wednesday 11th November at Buxton’s Old Hall Hotel.
This year, in a bid to welcome potential new members, the committee has added a social element, inviting anyone with an interest in the Fringe to come to the AGM at 7pm then stay for a chat and a drink. During the short AGM, the chair will share his report on the 2015 Fringe and the committee will vote members into key roles. At 8pm there will be a short business meeting for the committee with newcomers welcome to attend.
The Fringe is always looking for new members and is hoping the new format will encourage people to come along to find out just what happens behind the scenes. It is an opportunity to offer feedback and become part of a very special Buxton event now in its 36th year.
Keith Savage, Buxton Fringe’s chair states: “We look forward to seeing as many performers, audience members and Friends of the Fringe who can make it to the AGM. It is an important chance, as we begin to plan for 2016, to hear from people first hand about what they like about the Fringe and anything that they would like to see change. By having some informal time in the meeting we hope that conversation will be easier. Finally we'd be happy to talk to anyone interested in joining the Fringe committee!"
Anyone seeking further information, about the AGM or generally about the activities of the Fringe committee, which meets all year round, should contact Fringe chair Keith Savage at

Buxton Fringe

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Sunday, 25 October 2015

Northern Chamber Orchestra begins concert series in Buxton

Lauren Scott
We've just received some really exciting news! One of the top chamber orchestras in the country – Buxton Festival’s ‘Orchestra in Residence’, the NCO, presents a brand-new, 3-concert series in Buxton, starting 15 November
The Northern Chamber Orchestra has partnered up with Buxton Festival, in association with Orchestras Live, to present a brand-new, three-concert series for Buxton. The series has also been funded by a grant from The Foyle Foundation. Buxton visitors and residents have the opportunity to hear the NCO when it participates in Buxton Festival’s main opera productions as the ‘Orchestra in Residence’ for two weeks each summer. The new concert series is intended to give people living in and around Buxton access to top-quality, live classical music-making throughout the rest of the year and without the need to travel far to enjoy experiencing it. The partners have been busy programming a lovely mix of music and formats and the result is a Sunday evening concert on 15 November at St John’s Church, Buxton, a fabulous Viennese Gala at Buxton Opera House on Friday 8 January and a Lunchtime Coffee Concert at the Pavilion Arts Centre on Thursday 28 April, featuring soloists from the NCO.
Jonathan Thackeray, NCO General Manager said:“I am delighted to announce the NCO’s new series in Buxton for 2015–2016.  We have been a part of Buxton’s arts scene for several years as the ‘Orchestra in Residence’ at Buxton Festival and we see this series as a natural and welcome extension of our activities in the area, which we hope to build on for the future.”
Orchestras Live is supporting the two orchestral concerts and Henry Little, Chief Executive of Orchestras Live, said:“For many years Orchestras Live has co-produced high quality orchestral concerts with the Buxton Festival. It has been an aspiration of ours to encourage more year-round programming of concerts in Buxton and High Peak, and we are delighted that the forthcoming concerts by Northern Chamber Orchestra are a valuable step towards fulfilling this ambition.”
NCO presents a successful annual season in Macclesfield and performs concerts in rural towns across the North. It is keen to build a regular series in Buxton and to work with highly successful arts organisations already operating there, such as Buxton Festival.  Randall Shannon, Executive Director of Buxton Festival said: “I’m delighted that the orchestra will be appearing in Buxton outside of the Festival period, further strengthening our partnership and increasing the high-quality music-making available to local audiences.”
The Hint of Genius concert at St John’s Church on Sunday 15 November at 7.30pm features wonderful interludes from opera, theatre and ballet, along with an evergreen favourite from Holst – St Paul’s Suite. Dramatic, early works – hinting at genius – from Mendelssohn (String Symphony no 10) and Shostakovich (Prelude and Scherzo Op 11) add youthful fire. Debussy’s atmospheric, sometimes sensuous Danse Sacr√©e et Danse Profane will showcase the talents of soloist, Lauren Scott on the harp.  Harp and strings combine in John McCabe’s 2 Dances from the ballet, Mary Queen of Scots and the Ida Carroll Trust has sponsored the performance of this work, in honour of the revered British composer and pianist, who died earlier this year. The enduring fascination with two of Shakespeare’s most famous literary characters is explored in Faur√©’s Nocturne from Shylock and Tchaikovsky’s Entr’acte from Hamlet.
NCO is also performing at Buxton Opera House and the Pavilion Arts Centre in 2016. The Viennese Gala on Friday 8 January, 7.30pm, at the Opera House, will welcome the New Year with a sparkling programme of uplifting waltzes, polkas and memorable marches from the Strauss family and other Viennese masters. Soprano, Alison Langer, will join Nicholas Ward, NCO Artistic Director, and the orchestra for classics such as Vienna City of My Dreams by Sieczynski and the Laughing Song by Strauss. Keeping the mood very jolly will be the Overture from The Merry Wives of Windsor and Vilja from The Merry Widow, along with many others, and of course, no Viennese Gala would be complete without The Blue Danube 
The Lunchtime Coffee Concert at the Pavilion Arts Centre, at 1pm, Thursday 28 April, will feature a top trio of soloists from the NCO playing a brief but delicious programme of Schubert’s Trio Movement in B flat D471Hans Krasa Tanec (Dance) and Beethoven String Trio in G Op 9 no 1.
Tickets for Hint of Genius at St John’s Church on 15 November, are available from NCO Box Office: 0161 247 2220, Buxton TIC at the Pavilion Tel: 01298 25106 and On The Door – priced: £15 / 18s & under £10 (all unreserved). To book tickets and for information about the Viennese Gala at Buxton Opera House and the Lunchtime Coffee Concertat the Pavilion, contact Buxton Opera House Tel: 01298 72190 and visit  Find out more about all NCO’s concerts at
If you are attending the November 15th concert and need accommodation in the town that evening you may wish to consider the following offer from the Portland Hotel: 
Buxton Festival Friends / Buxton Fringe Festival Friends and NCO Friends & Patrons who book for the NCO’s concert have the chance to stay at The Portland Hotel in Buxton’s picturesque town centre for a special, discounted rate: 
 Bed & Breakfast: £25 per person on the evening of Sunday 15 November 2015.* (a single room is normally £40 a night / a double room is normally £35 per person per night).  Parking is available. heck out the hotel: 
 Our ‘Friends’ offer also includes £1 off the price of the NCO concert ticket**  (per Friend), so you pay £14 instead of £15.
*Portland Hotel ‘Friends’ Offer: only available on Sunday 15 November 2015 and is subject to availability.  Offer not exchangeable for cash.  Cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer.  To access the offer, please quote ‘NCO Friends Offer’ at the point of booking with the hotel - either by telephone: 01298 71493 or by email:
**To book tickets for NCO’s Hint of Genius concert, ring NCO Box Office Tel: 0161 247 2220 or ring/ call in at Buxton TIC, Pavilion Gardens Tel: 01298 25106 and quote ‘NCO Concert ‘Friends’ Offer’.  You have to pre-book to access the £1 offer special offer; it is not available On The Door.
Buxton Fringe

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Thursday, 22 October 2015

Up the ladder to the roof?

One of the more exciting - and dare we say exclusive? - Fringe venues of recent years has been the Pump House roof which sits in the middle of the historic Crescent and allows performers to play to an audience sitting on the parkland of The Slopes.

As part of the Crescent redevelopment the Pump House will be renovated and work starts soon. Liz Mackenzie - who some of you will know through her PR work for Buxton Festival - is working part-time as the new Buxton Crescent Community and Volunteer Officer. Liz has hopes that the Pump House roof will be a more accessible Fringe venue in 2016.

She would also be interested to hear from anyone with imaginative ideas about how the Crescent might be represented and interpreted in a creative way - through drama, music, visual arts, anything really. If you have an idea do let Liz know - there is a possibility that some funding might be available. You can contact Liz at  

Fringe favourite Mark Gwynne Jones will be in Buxton for Halloween with a one-off gig at The Old Hall Hotel. It will sell-out quickly wethinks. This is all we know: 

Sat 31st Oct 2015, Buxton, The Pauper’s Pit, A Concert for Halloween with classical guitarist and composer Steve Marsh, the Peak Guitar Quartet and Mr Halloween himself, Mark Gwynne Jones. Expect fine music and the story of a modern day Faust! Tickets £10 Tel. 01629 813624.

More soon on the Fringe AGM and a new series of Chamber Orchestra concerts starting in Buxton in November.

Buxton Fringe

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