Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Made in Derbyshire

Derbyshire poet laureate 2013-2015: Helen Mort

Made in Derbyshire
Rarer than Blue John and ten times as bright,
wild as the rain over Burbage at night,
stronger than leather from Lennon’s at Stoney,
clear as Mam Tor when the sky thins slowly,
sweet as the tarts that Bakewell refines,
older than the spirits of Magpie Mine,
lively as summer: a first well-dressing,
the streets all ribboned, the sun’s blessing,
more eloquent than a poem could be…
I can’t make the hills, but these hills made me.

© Helen Mort, Derbyshire Poet Laureate 2013-15

If you want to know what is happening in Derbyshire then Arts Derbyshire has a good calendar of events. If you are looking beyond the arts world then try Made in Derbyshire

If your Derbyshire event is not listed on either of these sites then write to:
editor@madeinderbyshire.org or

Buxton Fringe

Website: www.buxtonfringe.org.uk
Facebook: buxtonfringe
Twitter: @buxtonfringe

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Calendar of UK Fringes - 2015

We don't claim that this list is complete or 100% accurate. If you know of omissions or inaccuracies tell us and we'll happily correct it. But as it stands this is the best list we can put together of Fringes that are actually happening in the UK in 2015. In one or two cases websites need updating. To get details of these events - either as a would-be performer or as audience - the World Fringe Network directory is a good starting point. You may need to do a bit of googling to find websites if the WFN links don't work.

March: Folkestone - a series of mini-festivals starting in March
April: Mayfield, E Sussex (30 April-3May)
May: Brighton (1-31 May)
        Pink Fringe (part of Brighton Festival and Fringe)
        Wandsworth (1-17 May)
        Chelsea (16 May-7 June)
        Bath (22 May-7 June)
        Oxford (22 May-7 June)
        Pulse, Ipswich (28 May-6 June)
June: Ludlow (13 June-5 July)
         Glastonbury (19-30 June)
         Barnstaple (25-28 June)
July: Greater Manchester (1-31 July)
        Buxton (8-26 July)
        Reading (15-19 July)
        Henley (20-26 July)
        Milton Keynes
August: Sidmouth (1-5 August)
            Camden (3-30 August)
            Edinburgh (7-31 August)
            Free Fringe Festival (Edinburgh, 7-31 August)
            Stroud (Bank Holiday weekend)
            Ventnor (11-16 August)
            Brackley, Northants
            North Berwick Fringe By The Sea
October: Canterbury (17-31 October)
             South Devon
November: Fringe! (London film festival)

Surprisingly there appear to be no UK Fringes in September.

Buxton Fringe

Website: www.buxtonfringe.org.uk
Facebook: buxtonfringe
Twitter: @buxtonfringe

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

A UK Fringe Tour

Take a look at this link if you will: list of UK Fringes

This shows that there are around 60 UK Fringes. Edinburgh is in a class of its own in terms of size and reputation, of course. Second biggest is probably Brighton. Buxton may well be third. Our simple point is that you are never far away from a Fringe festival (not between May-September anyway). For those of you that do Facebook you might find the UK Fringe Festivals site helpful. If you visit the page please 'like' and 'share' it.

Chrome Hill - www.jamespictures.co.uk

Apparently it is going to snow an awful lot in Derbyshire over the next 24 hours. I'll try and put together a UK Fringe calendar for 2015 and post it here. It could be like the Observer Book of Fringes. It could encourage you to attend or perform in all manner of unlikely places.

Once you've done the UK you can get a bigger map and tackle Delft, Prague, the Azores, Reykjavik, Washington, Melbourne and Hong Kong.

Buxton Fringe

Website: www.buxtonfringe.org.uk
Facebook: buxtonfringe
Twitter: @buxtonfringe

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Magic and New Mills

This is the last Blog post I'm doing before attending a social media seminar organised by our esteemed friends at Arts Derbyshire. So look out for something even more exciting next week!

In last week's post we encouraged you to visit Arbor Low. This week we urge - is this much stronger than 'encourage'? - you to make your way to New Mills and its splendid Millennium Walkway (see picture above). Now New Mills is much more than a walkway: it is easily reached by bus or train from Buxton and has an interesting heritage centre as well as good walking by the River Goyt and the Peak Forest canal. Home to Swizzels-Matlow the sweet manufacturer and the current Mayor of the High Peak, Councillor Alan Barrow (see below for Alan in all his finery).

However, I hear you say, what news is there of the 'biggest summer open access arts festival in England'? Well, you may have come across copies of our brand new flyer (which doubles as an A6 poster - the side with the Belly Dance Flames pictured in all their gorgeousness).

Or if you've been keeping an eye on our website you'll see some much-loved friends are coming back to Buxton for Fringe 2015. The High Peak Orchestra is playing at St John's Church on Sunday July 12th.  So you'll be able to go straight from Fringe Sunday in the Pavilion Gardens to hear another whopping HPO programme. This year the programme includes Bruckner's Symphony No 6 and Rachmaninov's Paganini Variations for Piano and Orchestra with RNCM soloist Ryan Drucker. Dvorak's Festival Overture happily and appropriately completes the programme.  [Please note the date of this concert was changed after this Blog was first posted and this paragraph has been amended to reflect that - just to confirm, for your diaries, Sunday July 12th].

The ever-popular High Peak Magic Society are at the Palace Hotel on the 22/23 July. Close-up magic will be performed at your tables. It is always amazing and it always sells out.

Buxton Fringe

Website: www.buxtonfringe.org.uk
Facebook: buxtonfringe
Twitter: @buxtonfringe

Friday, 9 January 2015

Fringe 2015 - up-and-running

Now that Christmas and New Year are out of the way we can all start to concentrate on planning for 2015 in earnest. There are a number of Fringe shows in the pipeline but an exciting and early entry has come from South African singers and drummers who will be at St Mary's Church from 8-11 July. This will be an exhilarating start to Fringe 2015.

There will be many, many artists and performers now planning their visit to Buxton in July. We hope to be helpful in reminding you of other Fringes that you might want to be part of - that are close geographically and chronologically to Buxton. From 13 June-5 July there is a friendly event in the beautiful town of Ludlow. Given that we start in Buxton on July 8th hopping from Ludlow to Derbyshire would be natural.

All the more so if performances could be scheduled at the Greater Manchester Fringe which runs for the whole of July. With over 20 venues on offer - and a simple train journey from Buxton to Manchester - it looks like good sense to try and schedule performances at both Fringes. 

In the spirit of public service blogging we may, from time-to-time, remind would-be visitors to Buxton of things that they might do (apart from Fringing). There is much to see and do in the town, of course, but there are also a great many exciting and inspirational places nearby. On Christmas morning I went for a short walk that took in Arbor Low - a Neolithic stone circle about 10 miles south of town. Not the easiest place to get to by bus sadly but a beautiful spot; I expect it is frequently described as 'awesome' and for once that would be right.

Not part of the Fringe - but happening on July 24th - is Eddi Reader singing in New Mills. Tickets will be selling like hot cakes. If you miss out there will be much compensation to be found in Buxton.

Buxton Fringe

Website: www.buxtonfringe.org.uk
Facebook: buxtonfringe
Twitter: @buxtonfringe

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Lovely Buxton

The Dome - home to the University of Derby, sponsor of the Buxton Festival Fringe

We've been doing this Blog lark for a good few years now and have had over 15,000 hits - so thanks to everyone for taking an interest.
In all that time we've written about all manner of things that are Buxton-related without ever writing about the town itself. I suppose that it hardly needs saying that we love the town and think that everyone else should feel the same way about it. But what is it that we find so satisfying about the place?
In part it is a matter of scale and shape. There is something about the physical sense of place. It is commonly said that Buxton sits in a bowl - surrounded by hills. On the north side Corbar Cross is a striking visible landmark about 400 feet above the town; little more than a mile away, to the south, is Solomon's Temple at a similar altitude. Walking slowly, and taking in the Dome (see picture above), the Crescent, the Opera House, the Pavilion Gardens and Buxton Country Park (as Grinlow is now branded) it is no more than an hour from one landmark to the other. En route you will pass magnificent buildings, trees, gardens and the free mineral water that allows the claim to be made that Buxton is England's Leading Spa Town.
No doubt all this looks better - and is more easily enjoyed - on a dry, warm day with just a faint cooling breeze for company. Some of us say it is an uplifting walk in the wind and rain - and is a special pleasure when snow is on the ground.
A place can be made by its physical qualities alone but a town is a place to live in - to share time and spaces with others. Buxton has a population of around 22,000 - and is growing slowly. This makes it quite small in terms of triggering all sorts of economic developments. The town has no commercial cinema, for example, and many familiar high street brands are missing from The Springs - the undercover shopping centre.
This can be a blessing; if the national and international chains won't provide retails outlets then it creates opportunities for smaller, local and independent traders. Sometimes it is a struggle for businesses but over the last year or so we have seen some evidence that things are picking up. Central to hopes for a Buxton renaissance is the redevelopment of the truly magnificent Crescent. The fifth Duke of Devonshire commissioned architect John Carr to build a hotel, lodging rooms and assembly rooms in the 1780s and the building enjoyed a relatively brief heyday.
Concerns about subsidence resulted in the building being boarded-up about 20 years and cynics have doubted that it would ever re-open - and certainly plans have been slow to develop and it hasn't been easy to secure funding. Finally, though, all seems to be in place. Work to convert The Crescent into a 79 bedroom 5* spa hotel will begin in earnest early in 2015 and should be completed before the end of 2016.
This project will give a huge lift to the town - putting it on the international tourist map. The town will be ready to welcome these new visitors. Buxton is a friendly and resourceful place; yes major Northern and Midlands cities such as Manchester, Sheffield, Derby and Nottingham are but an hour away but Buxton has learned not to be dependent on others. In 2014 the Academy of Urbanism shortlisted Buxton for a Great Town Award. The adjudicators were hugely impressed by the number of groups and organisations that existed within the community, all working to make the most of life in the town.
It is this energy and independence of spirit that makes events like the Buxton Festival and Buxton Festival Fringe possible - a friend from Greater Manchester once observed that "Buxton punches well above its weight." We take this to be a compliment. With some degree and pride, and no little expectation, on behalf on the Fringe, we wish you all the best for Christmas and 2015 and we look forward to welcoming you next July.

Buxton Fringe

Website: www.buxtonfringe.org.uk
Facebook: buxtonfringe
Twitter: @buxtonfringe

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Meet Isabelle Wilkins

There are innumerable pleasures in being part of the Buxton Festival Fringe. One of them is the opportunity to meet young, talented and creative people - and last week we met with Isabelle Wilkins who provided us with the artwork for the Fringe 2015 programme cover and flyer.
Isabelle graduated from the University of Derby Illustration degree course last summer and is now working in a self-employed capacity from home in Barnsley. Isabelle met us at the University Dome on a snowy morning in Buxton and as we went on a tour of the town she told us a bit about her career and her work.
Isabelle said that she chose to study at Derby because she was impressed by the facilities and the attitude of the staff that she met. She has never regretted her choice and keeps in touch with others that she graduated with.
Isabelle explained some of the technical aspects of her design which was built up in layers - using fabric, string and digital processes. Her researches on Buxton images led her to adapt a signpost for Fringe purposes.
Isabelle very much enjoys films and is currently working on a 3-D project - making a suit of armour, inspired by Thor. You can see more of her work on her website. Isabelle is ready and happy to take on commissions and you can see some of the portraiture she has completed.

This pic hardly needs a caption: one young, talented person embarking on an exciting career and some bloke in a hat. Echoes of Isabelle's design which incorporates a Buxton signpost.

There are a number of new entries for 2015 in the pipeline and expect to see them on the online programme shortly. Meanwhile, we have a new interview as part of the Fringe archive. Sheila Barker was involved in organising the Fringe from the very earliest days - 35 years ago. Recently she recounted some of her memories to Stephanie Billen. We hope you find time to listen to the interview.

Buxton Fringe

Website: www.buxtonfringe.org.uk
Facebook: buxtonfringe
Twitter: @buxtonfringe