Wednesday 8th to Sunday 26th July 2015
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
Here in Buxton, though we are also proud of the economic
benefits brought to the town by both the Fringe and the Festival, we are
probably even more excited by the feeling of community and fun engendered by
our event. "I love what happens to Buxton during the Fringe - I
enjoy seeing the colourful thespians, artists and musicians in town and the
energy shift is palpable. Buxton feels hip!" said Buxton Tennis Club’s Fiona
Holland in a recent issue of Pure Buxton and we get plenty more comments like
that from enthusiastic visitors to our Fringe Information Desk, which opens
Our Community Links scheme also tries to make the buzz reach
as far as possible. So we help performers contact care homes, schools and other
organisations with a view to bringing them shows and workshops. And the Fringe
itself sometimes gets involved with community projects. Last week I joined
Haddon Hall Care Home residents in making a colourful wall display about the
Fringe and look forward to bringing you some pictures of this when it is
finished. This week I’ll be involved in a similar activity session at the
Portland Care Home.
Every year we are delighted afresh with the support we get
in the town – we know plenty of places such as Buxton Community School mount
their own Fringe displays and shops are enthusiastically displaying performers’
posters. Thank you shops, thank you venues, thank you volunteers and thanks to
all who help turn Buxton orange during the Fringe every July.
We think that this year is the 21st consecutive Buxton Fringe for the early music ensemble Partita. This is what they have told us about the two concerts they bring for 2015. "The music of the medieval, renaissance and baroque periods ranges from extremely simple expressions of reflective beauty and calm or lively charm to astonishingly complex blends of musical inventiveness and affecting emotional power. "Partita invites you to join us in experiencing the delights this music has to offer in two different concerts this year – featuring singers Sasha Johnson Manning and Holly Marland, whose voices have been described as “remarkable voices with clear tone, no vibrato, precise diction, beautiful line, and an air of total engagement with the music and the audience” and instrumentalists who play a fascinating range of faithful historic copy instruments including lutes, viols, harps, harpsichord, renaissance and baroque guitars, vihuela, theorbo, gemshorn, and recorders. "For our Buxton Festival Fringe evening concert in St John’s Church (17 July 7-30pm) Partita presents, for the first time, a collaborative programme: ‘MUSICA ANTIGUA E MODERNO’ - the ‘antique’ sounds of Partita’s renaissance and baroque music interposed with the more modern contributions of exciting newly formed duo Stringboxes (Partita’s Holly Marland singing and playing the kora [African harp] with Romanian virtuoso double bass player Michael Cretu in a mixture of African, Romanian gypsy music, and new compositions by both Holly and Michael). "Partita’s second Fringe concert - a lunchtime concert in Buxton Methodist Church (23 July 1pm) will be a sequence of our traditional renaissance/ baroque mixture of voices and instruments and will include music from the Elizabethan theatre, a favourite song of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, a song set to words by Francois I of France, a baroque partita for two bass viols, and songs and arias by Purcell, Handel, and Bach. For a preview of the sounds of Partita and Stringboxes visit: partita.co.uk and stringboxes.wordpress.com"
Chris Neville Smith is pleased to be returning to the Buxton Fringe for the third year running, with a new play written and directed by Alan Godfrey.
A Nasty Little Play is a dark comedy set in a seedy 1950s Soho 'Books & Mags' shop, where three punters and two dancers from the theatre next door are stuck together during a police raid. But in spite of the title, and in spite of the setting, the play is a comedy, set in a world of outwardly moral decency, Watch Committees, and the then ruling that nudes were only permitted on stage if they were not moving.
Author Alan Godfrey was in Chris Neville-Smith's first play at Buxton, two years ago, and had long ago suggested that Pauper's Pit would be the ideal venue for this little comedy. Professionally he is best known as a map publisher, but in the 1970s he wrote several plays for children, for touring nationally to schools. A Nasty Little Play is one of three dark comedies he has written recently, in a revived interest in the theatre, the first of which, Plan C, was performed as part of a 'New Writing Festival' at Durham's City Theatre in 2011, and in which Chris Neville-Smith played a leading role.
All three plays take laughter into otherwise dark or ambiguous settings in the belief that all of us have the capacity to be sad, funny and even ridiculous, often at the same time. Chris Neville-Smith's previous appearances at Buxton included The First Sign of Madness, as a writer/directory in 2013, and Waiting for Gandalf, written by Adrian Marks, in 2014, which was nominated for Best New Writing. This time he takes the - relatively - easy role of actor and producer. The cast of six are all members of Durham Dramatic Society.
A Nasty Little Play is showing at Underground Venues at 10.15 p.m. on the 19th July, 8.30 p.m. on the 20th July, and 5.45 p.m. on the 21st-22nd July.
Buxton Fringe has always been proud of its reputation for encouraging
artists to take risks and this year’s bumper Theatre section is particularly
rich in new writing. Here are 7 reasons why you should make sure you try
something new at this year's Fringe:
1.You are a thrill-seeker: Safe Mode from Theatre by Numbers
offers an edge-of-your-seat sci-fi ‘fairytale’ in which refugee Mia runs to a
deserted city after watching her home burn down. A chance encounter in the park
changes her life forever in this multi-media play. Orange and Pip’s Ugly by
Lilly Posnett, twice nominated for a Fringe New Writing award, also offers a
fairytale with a twist as we hear the Ugly Sisters’ side of the story in a
thought-provoking piece of physical theatre taking off where Cinderella left
2.You like your stories told in new ways: Lightspeed from Organised
Chaos Productions actually unfolds backwards as it depicts a fateful romance
between Charlie and the game-playing Emma. Last year’s theatre production
Fringe Award winner, Arletty Theatre, is back with an all-singing, all dancing
musical, The Unfurling of Indigo Higgins focusing on a demanding fashionista.
Live music and life-sized puppetry help Sparkle and Dark convey bewitching
comic book fantasies in I am Beast and live music of a different kind is
integral to Re-Sound’s After Party, recreating one amazing evening in 1820 when
Franz Schubert and his friends gathered in a Viennese pub under the noses of
the secret police.
3.You like to think big: No subject is too big for intrepid
Fringe writers so in Tattyband’s G&D, the earth is bleeding into the sea,
Satan is looking for trouble and God Himself is about to get a wake-up call.
Religion and faith are discussed in Two Yolks Theatre’s The Small Things in
which two brothers who die together have contrasting experiences at the Pearly
Gates. Sheepish Productions offers a black comedy with faith at its core: The
Life and Crimes of Reverend Raccoon, profiling a US Army reservist, preacher
4.You like intrigue: The secrets and lies of mere mortals are
the focus of several new plays. Award-winning young theatre company Shadow
Syndicate presents Redaction, a drama conceived in the wake of Wikileaks about
the pervasive culture of deception. A husband and wife battle over the
authorship of a controversial book that may or may not be about their marriage
in Write Yourself Free: Female Facts or Male Fiction? This new work from Dolls
House is produced in parallel with a published book of the same title. Popular
Fringe regular Chris Neville-Smith meanwhile presents Alan Godfrey’s A Nasty
Little Play, a dark comedy set in the back room of a seedy Soho ‘book’ shop in
the 1950s as a police raid takes place next door.
5.You want a taste of fame: Secrets can be especially explosive
for the famous. In From the Mill’s Life’s Witness, a famous author finds
himself on live television battling with memories that refuse to stay private,
while Follow/UnFollow from ShinyNewTheatre/LanternTheatre takes us into the
world of the good-looking but vapid male video blogger questioning whether
social media is ready for a different kind of v-logger who may actually have
something to say.
6.You’re a history fan: Aulos Productions takes us back to
Ancient Rome to consider the Women of the Mourning Fields – Agrippina, Octavia
and Poppaea, slandered in their time and subsequently forgotten. Dreamshed
Theatre is working hard to make sure we do not forget the legacy of the
pre-First World War Dymock Poets in Voices from the Forest. The Second World
War provides a poisonous backdrop for the brave characters on the Home Front
depicted in Ashrow Theatre’s Troublesome People. Sometimes what we think we
know from the past turns out not to be the case. Lucky Dog theatre Productions
goes beyond fiction to deliver the truth about Mr Merrick, The Elephant Man.
7.You like a laugh: Make a date with Lucky Dog Theatre
Productions and their show Hats Off to Laurel and Hardy, or check out an
excruciating meeting between Sir Clive Sinclair and Sir Alan Sugar recreated in
Scytheplays Ltd’s Together in Electric Dreams.
There is always something new in the
Fringe and we never forget the contribution of the writers behind our fantastic
shows. Look out for the words "New Writing" at the bottom of listings in all categories of our programme and if you see something brilliant be sure to leave a comment about the writing at our Fringe Information Desk or on our website's Enhanced Diary pages. Happy Fringeing!
With the Fringe's notorious cartoon sheep still to be found somewhere on our website (answers on a post card please) let it not be said that we at Buxton Fringe don't know how to have fun!
So with the sun shining, here's our look-ahead to a host of fantastic Fringe shows that we think will have you laughing this July.
Underground Venues offers a packed programme with TV and radio stars
including Max & Ivan from BBC1’s W1A with The End; ex-policeman and Radio 4
comic Alfie Moore with A Fair Cop Stands Up; and Juliet Meyers, BBC comedy
writer for Sarah Millican, with her show None of the Above.
Buxton also boasts the best in sketch comedy this summer: Fringe Comedy
Award winners The Dead Secrets offer a whirlwind odyssey through the wondrous
exhibits of the Curiositorium; Beasts, familiar from Radio 4’s Sketchorama,
make their Fringe debut and LetLuce presents Let Progress Luce, enticingly
described as a “weird but relaxing show set at sea”.
Fans of improv comedy will not want to miss the Edinburgh sell-out, Absolute
Improv, bringing its quick wit and audience participation to the Fringe again.
There is also Rhinoceros, an interactive, virtual board game by Harry Carr, and
for one night only, Right Here Right Now Impro, accompanied by Fringe favourite
Sam Dunkley on piano. For improv with a difference, Oliver Meech’s magic show
is created at the drop of a (top) hat from audiences’ suggestions, and Ben Van
der Velde promises to “empty his brain out onto the stage” in his madcap show,
The Fringe is proud to have thought-provoking shows covering every topic
from weddings - with Caimh McDonnell’s Bride and Prejudice and Tilly Mint
Theatre’s The Best Man? - to children, with Andrew Watts’, How to Build a Chap,
exploring fatherhood. Mortality also gets a look in with Older than the Oldest
Dog that Ever Lived from comedian Peter Brush and Stories About Love, Death and
a Rabbit from Ms Samantha Mann (aka Charles Adrian Gillott). Phil Buckley’s Big
Idea finds the comedian in reflective mood as a chance encounter makes him
decide to turn his life around, while comic and poet Rob Gee presents a guide
to losing the plot in his show Fruitcake: Ten Commandments from the Psych Ward.
Two shows even offer to solve audiences’ problems with Danny Pensive: Life
Coach, by John Cooper, promising to leave us believing we can achieve anything,
and Tina Bradshaw bringing her unique brand of warm-hearted life-coaching to
The contemporary world proves a huge inspiration with Sajeela Kershi
exploring society’s mixed-up views about Muslims in her show Shallow Halal;
Three’s Company & KPS Productions tackling the life of Britain’s favourite
comedy politician in Boris: World King; and Abi Roberts (now only performing on
July 21 because of TV commitments) referencing ITV’s favourite stately home in
her show Downtown Abi featuring Labrador, Al Qaeda.
Also offering a great sense of place is award-winning Amadeus Martin in God
Created Brixton and local Derby boy Chris Fitchew with his show Oops!,
recounting his hilarious journey from Derby to London and back again. Comedian
Maxine Jones has been there, done that but is about to come Full Circle as she
plans to move back to the UK after 25 years away.
Tackling matters futuristic, 2014 Fringe Comedy Individual Award winner
Nathan Cassidy brings two shows, Back to the Future I and II, reflecting on the
one thing that really has changed over the last 30 years, whilst Paul Kerensa
in his show, Back to the Futon Pt2, expresses his regret that there are still
no hover boards in 2015. Time travel is also a theme in MJ Hibbett (and Steve)’s
two-man comedy rock opera, Hey Hey 16K.
In a Comedy section boasting all types of entertainment, there is also a
musical parody of the funniest disaster in cinematic history in The Room: The
Musical and razor-sharp comedy songs from James Sherwood in Sherwood Jam.
Spoilt for choice? Underground Venues’ Barrel of Laughs offers a great
selection of sketch and character comedy talent, alongside fantastic stand up
all in one show. The three performances sell out every year so early booking is
Not long to go before this year's Fringe is underway and groups are busy rehearsing to make sure they put on their best show ever. For solo performers there is even more pressure to get it right. It is no surprise to see that theatre is once again the biggest category at this year’s Buxton
Festival Fringe (July 8-26) with many performers daring to tread the
boards alone in some exciting solo shows. Here's our round-up of some of them.
Never afraid of a challenge, Uproot Theatre Company, whose acclaimed
past Fringe shows include Around the World in 80 Days, brings a brand
new, one-man War of the Worlds. Equally adventurous is Joue Le Genre’s
Emma Bentley who uses comedy, clowning and storytelling to describe the
perils of playing Shakespeare’s men without a codpiece in To She or Not
to She. Marrying Mr Darcy once seemed an impossibility for Lizzy in
Pride and Prejudice. In Little Red Hen Theatre’s Lizzy Bennet Remembers,
Prudence Edwards looks back on the incredible drama that led to their
The intimacy of a one-person show tends to suit reflective pieces.
Nominated for an Actor Award at the Fringe last year, John Martin
Stevens of Dreamshed Theatre returns with His Letters, in which
long-lost love letters chart a touching wartime romance. In Skimming the
Stones from Tilly Mint Theatre, the past exerts a particular pull on
Alison, a woman surveying the house where she grew up and wondering if
she can ever escape her memories. Meanwhile library theatre touring
company offer a classic from Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads series, A
Cream Cracker Under the Settee, with widow Doris, alone in her house,
reminiscing about her life and confronting her own vulnerability.
Intimacy becomes a theme in itself in a number of taboo-breaking
shows. Cameryn Moore returns with Phone Whore (A One-Act Play with
Frequent Interruptions) about a telephone sex operator, as well as
exploring relationships in a new show merging memoir and manifesto, Slut
R(evolution): No One Gets There Overnight. M.A.I.R.O.U.L.A from
Sturgeon’s Law is a one-woman show combining both insights into Greece
with musings on sex, death and the human condition. Feminine sexual
power is also explored in FoolSize Theatre’s bold, tragic-comic show,
Women Who Wank.
For Ava Hunt, Acting Alone has become the title of her show with her
comical journey as a TV actor and her contrasting experiences of working
in refugee camps in Palestine leading her to question whether any one
person can make a difference. With last year’s Fringe Actor awards both
going to solo artists, it is clear that in theatrical terms at least,
one person certainly can. For further details on a wealth of Fringe theatre see www.buxtonfringe.org.uk
Interest is certainly building with enquries this morning from a group travel organisation and Buxton Tourist Info - wanting more programmes!
Buxton Festival may have its own prestigious Literary Series but Buxton
Fringe should not be overlooked, boasting a thriving Spoken Word section
featuring the Derbyshire Poet Laureate as well as many talented local writers.
Taking advantage of its position on the boundary between Derbyshire and
Staffordshire, the Packhorse Inn at Crowdecote features Poets Laureate from
both counties – Helen Mort from Derbyshire and Gary Longden from Staffordshire
– both appearing as part of its Packhorse Poets evening. Meanwhile a new
generation of young war poets can be heard at St John’s Church in New Thoughts
– Old War. TheFED, performing at Buxton Tap House, also celebrates new writing
offering five-minute performance slots. And poems go for a wander thanks to
Stone and Water’s exciting Grinlow Poetry Trail, taking place in Grinlow Woods
in conjunction with the Grinlow Art Trail which features enticing storytellers of its own.
True stories are often the most arresting so Vera Mellor’s A Cuppa, A Natter
& Hidden Gems based on her published life story should be intriguing (thanks for coming to the Fringe programme launch, Vera!) as
will Rob Coleman’s Ocean Going Idiot in which he describes his attempt to cross
the Atlantic in a rowing boat. As he says himself: “Why?”
Frank, autobiographical stories and poetry combine in Melody at Buxton
Methodist Church from performance poet Jemima Foxtrot, whose show also features
soul and folk music.
And the Fringe itself offers a longstanding tradition, Fringe Readings – a
glorious lucky-dip of free readings in the cosy environment of the Old Hall
Hotel. The late great Peter Low, former Fringe chair, will be sorely missed as a reader but he would be happy to see it continue - as he would that other great tradition, Fringe Beer, which he organised for us every year. Why not raise a pint in his memory at The Old Clubhouse and the Tap House thanks to Mobberley Fine Ales and Buxton Brewery respectively?
Over the next few weeks we will be highlighting further categories from our bulging Fringe programme - enjoy!