Wednesday 6th to Sunday 24th July 2016
The biggest open-access Fringe between Brighton and Edinburgh, Buxton Fringe hosts some 600 events with music, theatre, comedy, spoken word, dance, film, children's events, street theatre, visual arts and more.
www.buxtonfringe.org.uk Facebook.com/buxtonfringe Twitter: @buxtonfringe
It is one of those Fringe paradoxes that the more is going on, the less we find time to tell you all about it on our blog! Right now we are busy compiling the printed Fringe programme and there is always a feeling of wonder about quite how it all manages to come together!
Since our last blog, the deadline for the printed programme has passed and we have a healthy 148 entries so a big thank you to all those performers and event-makers who have brought their own magic to this year’s Fringe, ensuring that we have an exciting array of events in every category.
Over the coming weeks, we’ll be telling you in more detail about some of the shows that are coming our way but for starters, it struck me how much actual magic is being offered. We are very excited to have some magic of the psychopathic variety from veteran comedian and magician extraordinaire, Jerry Sadwowitz performing at the Arts Centre Auditorium. Hambledon Productions meanwhile pay tribute to the legendary Tommy Cooper while the REC Youth Theatre Company go back much further in time to bring us the magic of the Arabian Nights.
High Peak Community Arts invite you into their magical story-telling yurt and there is more family-friendly magic from High Peak Magic Society (offering close-up magic at your table), Seska, with tricks and cookies galore, and Beneath the Star, with magical, all-ages storytelling at the Green Man Gallery.
We’re confident also that our own offerings - Fringe at Five and Fringe Sunday will be magical in all senses of the word.
You can see exactly what’s going on by checking out our revamped Events and Diary pages. We’d also love to meet you in person - visit our stand at Buxton’s Spring Fair on May 2nd near the Turner Memorial or join us at our programme launch party at The Green Man Gallery on Sunday June 5th, 6.30pm for 9.30pm with light refreshments, music and… well you can bring the magic! Stephanie
Community School students decorating a Fringe-themed Wells Dressing in 2009
With the end of March deadline for discounted entries fast approaching, we already have an impressive 70 entries and are finding a lot to excite us!
With Fringe chair Keith Savage currently immersed in the Buxton Festival of World Cinema this week (go see!), here are just a few of the shows that have caught my eye. On the comedy front, look out for Radio 4 News Quiz writer Mike Shephard and over at the Green Man Gallery, Chris Norton Walker's it-shouldn't-happen-to-a-comedian reminiscences about backstage accidents as a gigging stand up. Kids have all the best fun and this year's offerings include two brand new events - Baby Loves Disco - a chance for tots to boogie at Buxton's Level 2 nightclub - and Buxton Drama League's unseasonal panto, Theseus and the Maze of the Minotaur. Incidentally, auditions for the latter take place on April 27 and 29 at 7.30pm at the Old Hall Hotel. Buxton Carnival (with our amazing float) is always fun for all the family and is run by the Buxton Wells Dressing Festival. They are looking for volunteers so do pop along to the Old Hall at 7.30pm on April 19 if you think you can help, particularly with the intricate process of decorating the wells with flower petals.
Some fresh new Spoken Word includes comic poet and singer Rob Barratt and Circus of Poets veterans The Glummer Twins, while eagerly awaited theatre includes new shows from Shadow Syndicate and The Off-Off-Off-Broadway Company plus Romeo and Juliet Underground at Poole's Cavern from Butterfly.
A spectacular Music section includes many returning favourites from Amaretti Chamber Orchestra to early music specialists Partita and Africa's Lady of Song, Margaret Ferguson, to New Orleans pianist Dale Storr. Seasoned Fringe-goers will also welcome the return of folk singer Hojo after 10 years accompanied by flautist Richard Jurgens. There's also a chance to enjoy a flavour of European Blues Awards Showcase Weekend with Bluesman Mike Francis and something to please those still mourning the end of TV's The Night Manager as Stephen Roberts presents Cold War Music and discusses spy novelists including Le Carre. Listed under Dance but also featuring fantastic guitar playing, COZY with Japanese dancer Yozy Yu Zhang and Canadian musician Colin Garvey is also likely to be a crowd-pleaser.
Visual Arts are looking strong too with new exhibitions from Fringe Award winners Adrienne and Langley Brown and from Ilsa Elford of the award-winning Grinlow Art and Story Telling Trail. For those who can't wait for the Fringe to start, don't miss new artistic venture, the Buxton Garden Trail which takes place on the 11th and 12th of June and already has 14 confirmed gardens taking part with art on display.
We are likely to have a surge of entries in the next day or two so do keep checking back to see what's on. Underground Venues have reported more applications than ever so we look forward to seeing what's in store at this popular managed venue, enjoying residency downstairs at the Old Hall, probably for the last year as work on the Crescent begins in earnest. Entries for the printed programme close on April 17 and Keith and I will be busy proof-reading and preparing for the printer's deadline in the coming weeks so don't delay if you would still like to put something on at the Fringe!
Photo by Charlie Waite - talking at Buxton Festival Fringe on 21st July
Our Festival is a little over 4 months away now and the programme is beginning to take shape. About 25 shows and events are now listed - expect a bit of a rush in the next few days as the cheapest entry rate comes to an end. More than 100 further events are to be anticipated before we close for entries on 17 April, of course. Already we know that some tremendous artists from previous Fringes will be back - New Orleans-style pianist Dale Storr, the High Peak Magicians, the Jacques Brel musical among many. There are some newcomers who we will be delighted to welcome to Buxton. Celebrated landscape photographer Charlie Waite will be talking about his work and career as well as offering 20-minute 1:1 tutorials to photographers who would like to learn from him.
Just in case you have missed the news - and you are a Buxton regular - Underground Venues will be open for business 'as usual' for 2016. The annual guessing game - 'will it, won't it' with regard to the availability of The Pauper's Pit in The Old Hall Hotel - has been resolved. Work on the redevelopment of The Crescent as a 5* spa hotel starts in earnest later this year - and this should mean that the Pauper's Pit will not be a theatre or cinema in 2017. Performers who want to be at part of the Underground Venue show for 2016 have just a few weeks to submit their bids. It is bound to be an exciting and emotional party - so get to it!
The Buxton Spa Prize is one of the newer events in the Buxton calendar - 2016 is the third running but it is firmly established in the visual arts season. The Prize is for artists working in any 2D media (except photography) who are over the age of 17 on 31st August 2016. The winning artist will receive a grand prize of £5000. The Buxton Spa Prize 2016 is proudly sponsored by ‘The Trevor Osborne Charitable Trust’. People can enter on the website from the 1st April 2016 or at the Buxton Office from the 6th May 2016.Winners will be judgedby a panel of experts from the town and art world. The exhibition includes sale of work and runs from Friday 1st July until Sunday 31st July 2016 at The Green Man Gallery – Hardwick Hall, Hardwick Square South, Buxton.
On the subject of The Green Man Gallery we had sad news recently. One of the founding members of the Gallery, Doug Agnew, died following a short final illness. Doug had been head of the art department at a High Peak school and after retirement continued to work as an artist and a teacher. With his late wife, Chris, he was instrumental in founding Funny Wonders the Buxton-based puppet theatre group. Doug and Chris were much loved, respected and admired by all those who had the pleasure of working with them. Doug's funeral service will be held at Buxton Methodist Church on Friday February 26th at 10.30. The church will surely be full and there will truly be a tremendous life to celebrate.
The daffodils are out - so that can mean only one thing: it's Spring! Except that it is only February 1st. [We appreciate that some people had daffs flowering before Christmas but up here in the hills things move according to different rules and our daffodils flower well into May normally).
Anyway we're all excited by this and other news - some of which we share now. The rest will follow in due course. The Buxton Festival programme has been published on-line. The printed version will be out in March and tickets on sale around about Easter. But you'll be wanting to plan your visit. Plenty of appetising morsels. Dr Lucy Worsley, Julia Bradbury, Ed Vulliamy and Alexi Sayle among many household names in the Literary programme. On the music side Ensemble 10:10 return to Buxton to reprise the world premiere they gave us last November (please don't miss that). There is a whole clutch of top-notch chamber music scheduled too.
If you want an excuse to be in Buxton for a festival at Easter then the Festival of World Cinema may be just the ticket. 22 films over 8 days from 12 countries with a programme of free talks and workshops for children. Box office hits such as The Lady In The Van, Brooklyn, Inside Out as well as award-winning documentaries such as A Syrian Love Story and The Gleaners & I also feature. Other recent releases include Taxi Tehran, Macbeth and Crimson Peak. Stories to make you laugh, gasp in amazement and cry!
The latest Discover Buxton podcastfeatures a terrible bunch of rogues and ne'er do wells. That said the Billerettes, Michael Clement and some Fringe officers have a certain following.
Good job our New Year's resolution wasn't to Blog more - not that it was to Blog less. Anyway we've been quiet - not that anyone has been complaining. Some news to bring you up-to-date with - lest you haven't read or seen it already.
We now have the artwork that you'll be seeing all over the place for the next six months. Buxton-based artist Helen Mint worked hard for us over the Christmas period on a design that we love. Helen probably had to eat a crate of oranges to get the raw materials for the design - but from our point of view it was worth it.
It is still early days so far as the programme content - rather than the cover - is concerned. Though we had a phone call today about arranging for some interesting cultural experiences for some Chinese students who will be visiting in July - so you interesting cultural practitioners had better set up plenty more events.
Those of you who find the wait until July a bit of a strain may want to know of some Fringe performers who can be seen this January. On Friday, January 22nd, Ava Hunt is at the Pavilion Arts Centre for one night reprising her Fringe show "Acting Alone": Acting Alone is a heart-breaking, witty and confrontational piece of theatre which asks whether we really stand up for what we believe in.
Inspired by visits to the West Bank and Tel Aviv, actor, writer and director Ava Hunt weaves together stories of fragile humanity with the frequently hilarious experience of touring as an actor. In Acting Alone she asks; can one person really make a difference?
The night before (that must be Thursday January 21st) a trip to the Peak District village of Bonsall will be well rewarded. Poet Mark Gwynne Jones will be at the Barley Mow (a "pub" I am told) hosting an evening of poetry and drinking. The fun starts at 8pm - and it will be fun, and many other things besides.
At this time of year - whatever one's faith or none - it is usual to reflect on what we hope for in the times to come. The hopes we have at the Buxton Fringe are probably not so different to those of anyone else: we hope for health, for happiness, for stimulating entertainment and peaceful coexistence. We don't think we need to be 'good' to get these things - but we expect to have to work for it and invest time and energy. We've started work on Fringe 2016 and half a dozen or so events are listed on the website already. There are some intriguing shows in the pipeline - so keep looking for what is coming along. The Buxton Festival has announced a significant part of its 2016 programme already. The literary series includes Melvyn Bragg on the Peasants' Revolt and, among others, Alexei Sayle. The music series includes the wonderful tenor James Gilchrist. Do look at the programme and start to plan your Buxton summer. Those of you looking to perform in the Fringe will want to know of a new venue. The Octagon in the Pavilion Gardens is closed for major structural repairs. High Peak Borough Council has erected a splendid Marquee on the promenade to provide an alternative space. The picture at the top of this post shows the inside close to completion. It's about the size of a tennis court and can hold 700 people. Hire isn't cheap - but it isn't as much as you might suppose. It is terrific for live music and dancing. If you think it could work for your show contact Paul Kelsall to discuss availability and cost: Paul.Kelsall@highpeak.gov.uk If the 'legendary' Festive issue of the Radio Times has nothing that floats your boat then try the Discover Buxton podcast. The Christmas recording does include a nice piece about our recent Derbyshire Village carols event - but there is much more entertainment before you reach that! With best wishes to you all for 2016 - when we look forward to seeing you again in our lovely town.
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