Sunday, 31 January 2016

Green shoots and rising sap

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 podcast features a terrible bunch of rogues and ne'er do wells. That said the Billerettes, Michael Clement and some Fringe officers have a certain following. 

Buxton Fringe

Facebook: buxtonfringe
Twitter: @buxtonfringe

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

2016 and all that

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.

Buxton Fringe

Facebook: buxtonfringe
Twitter: @buxtonfringe

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Merry Christmas - if that is what you do.

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:

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.

Buxton Fringe

Facebook: buxtonfringe
Twitter: @buxtonfringe

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

Facebook: buxtonfringe
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

Facebook: buxtonfringe
Twitter: @buxtonfringe

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

Facebook: buxtonfringe
Twitter: @buxtonfringe

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

Facebook: buxtonfringe
Twitter: @buxtonfringe