Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Buxton Festival Fringe 2016 - We're Ready, Are You?

The 37th Buxton Festival Fringe begins on Wednesday, July 6th. Our Information Desk is all ready and our volunteers are on hand to help you plan to get the most from the 19-day Festival.  The Desk is in the Conservatory - adjacent to the Opera House and the starting point for the Discover Buxton tram tour of the town which leaves hourly. The Desk and the tram both open for business at 10.00 hours.

The team at Underground Venues is also working hard to be ready for a launch party on Tuesday night (5th) - join us from 8pm if you are in town. There will be plenty of free entertainment to get you in the mood.

Fringe Sunday 2015 - "Jacques Brel: A Life A Thousand Times"

Fringe Sunday - our free party in the Pavilion Gardens - is this weekend, July 10th from 2.00-4.30pm. We have 9 performers lined-up for your enjoyment. The provisional timetable is as follows:
1] 2.00pm: Jacques Brel: A Life A Thousand Times
2] 2:15pm: Next Door Dance: The Beautiful Game
3] 2.25pm: Cozy
4] 2.40pm: Ed Billingham
5] 3.00pm: Belly Dance Flames
6] 3.20pm: Granny Grump
7] 3.35pm: Opera Seria
8] 3.50pm: Darren Poyzer
9] 4.10pm: Will Hawthorne and Band
Our thanks to all the performers who are freely giving their time.
We look forward to seeing you all on Sunday.

Buxton Fringe

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

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Chelmorton Village Festival - 11-17 July

There wasn't space in the Fringe programme or on the website to give all the details of the Chelmorton Village Festival: so here are the latest details we have. Chelmorton is about 4 miles south of Buxton - take the A515 (Ashbourne Road) as far as the Brierlow Bar Bookstore and turn left and follow the signs.

The Brierlow Bar Bookstore is well worth a visit and is open seven days a week.

Chelmorton Village Festival dates: Monday 11th – Sunday 17th July 2016.
Preliminary details are as follows, but please keep checking the website as more details will be added.

Monday  11th July 2016
  • Scarecrow Judging (more details will follow)
  • Festival Pub quiz – garish shirts are positively encouraged for quiz goers.
Tuesday 12th July 2016
  • Crime Writers panel with Sarah Ward (Village Author)  6pm – 7.45pm
  • Comic Poet Rob Barratt (Village Institute) 8pm – 9pm
Wednesday 13th July 2016
  • Family Film at the Institute
Thursday 14th July 2016
  • Local walk around the village conducted by Harry Mayo
  • Hollinsclough Band (in the Church)
Saturday 16th July 2016
  • Village Day – where everyone is invited to have stalls in the village
  • Evening Disco -featuring music through the eras e.g 60’s, 70’s, 80′s and so on.
Everyone is invited to dress up in the music era of their choice and join the fun! Requests can be made when you buy your ticket.
Sunday 17th July 2016
  • Songs of Praise in the Church
In addition:
  • Teas and coffee will be served at the Institute throughout the week from Monday to Friday. Refreshments will be available at village stalls on the Saturday.
  • There will be a craft stall in the village institute from Monday through to Friday, selling crafts and gifts made by local people from the village. A great opportunity to grab some early Christmas shopping!
  • On the Monday through Saturday there will be an exhibition in the Church. Opening hours to be confirmed, with more details about the exhibition to follow.
  • Following the success and popularity of last years treasure hunt, Jan and Richard are currently hard at work devising one for this year! More details to follow when we know more….
  • We are also hoping that the pop up book shop which was located in our very own phone box, will also be available this year. Confirmation will be posted, as we finalise details.

Buxton Fringe

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

Meet the Experts - Free events at the Buxton Museum

Buxton Museum has a programme of 13 free lunchtime lectures taking place throughout the Fringe. They start at 1pm and the outline programme is as follows:
Friday 8 July: Fascinating Derbyshire Finds with Alastair Willis of the Portable Antiquities Scheme
Sunday 10 July: The Earliest Derbyshire Pottery with Pauline Beswick from the Derbyshire Archaeological Journal
Tuesday 12 July: The Derwent Valley: the artists' perspective with historian Doreen Buxton
Wednesday 13 July: A walk through the Neolithic and Bronze Ages with John Barnett from the Peak District National Park
Thursday 14 July: Buxton Diamonds with geologist Roy Starkey
Friday 15 July: Money, Money, Money with Anja Rhode from the University of Nottingham Museum
Saturday 16 July: Peak District Pre-history: Dowel and Fox Hole caves with Umberto Alberello from the University of Sheffield
Sunday 17 July: Joseph Wright's Derbyshire with Jonathan Wallis from Derby Museums
Tuesday 19 July: Are there really mermaids in Derbyshire? with conservator Anita Hollinshead
Wednesday 20 July: Ashford Black Marble: not black, or marble with Ros Westwood from Buxton Museum
Thursday 21 July: Lismore Fields: evidence of early visitors to Buxton with archaeologist Daryl Garton
Friday 22 July: Cave lions in Derbyshire and abroad with Dr Jill Cook from the British Museum
Saturday 23 July: Bear detective: the history of Britain's largest carnivore with Dr Hannah O'Reagan from the University of Nottingham.

You'll want to visit the Museum anyway to see the excellent Derbyshire Open art exhibition so it makes sense to time your visit for a free lecture.

Buxton Fringe

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

Saturday, 2 July 2016

Darren Poyzer's Bloody Love Songs

Darren Poyzer brings the third in his series of 'Human Condition' shows to Fringe 2016, and once again he looks forward to Buxton with an open mind and great enthusiasm ...

Darren, you must think of Buxton as a 'home game' now ...
Yes, I'm very confident in the format and the team at Underground Venues, and I've come to totally love the performance space in The Paupers Pit. Fringe time as a whole finds me wishing I was in Buxton every day from start to finish.

Tell us a little about 'Bloody Love Songs' ...
For those new to my gig, I take a theme and apply some 'outside the box' images and music that I hope encourages people to re-think one or two important aspects of life. There's nothing too scary going on though, I look throughout to entertain and create a reassuring feel good factor for those who come to my shows.

Are all the songs your own writing?I usually write these shows with allowances for unscripted moments and flow, so it's fair to say that every song will be either an original, or an original interpretation of a song people might already know.

Why the title 'Bloody Love Songs'?I wanted something a little edgy, to reassure people that this wasn't a stroll through cliche. Love can be painful and messy, and not everyone believes in it, even though it really is all around us. This was one of many potential titles, and it just happened to fit my mood on press deadline day!

Your two previous shows here were very well received and you have a 'Human Condition' theme. How many shows will there be?As life goes on there will always be a reason to write a new show, and as it happens these themes I hope are always relevant in the current day, in our hopes for the future, and in our historical research. When I came here with 'The War To End All Wars' in 2014, I was transformed by some of the research I undertook into World War 1 ... it's that epiphany moment I found then that I hope I can deliver with each new show.

It may be a little early, but if all goes well, is there a show theme for 2017?
Provisionally yes, the theme and title will be 'Home', and I intend to research what home means to different people in different places, and deliver songs that tell their stories. We'll see though, one step at a time ...

And finally, will you be visiting any other shows during Fringe 2016?Yes, I am scheduling visits to see Steve Roberts and Sam Slide for sure, and hopefully Jerry Sadowitz. I will likely take a punt on something different and unknown, and of course I'll be around for some 'Fringe @ 5' and 'Fringe Sunday' on the bandstand.

Thank you Darren, see you during Fringe 2016
Thank you too, it will all be fabulous for sure!

Darren will be performing on 9, 14 & 20 July at Underground Venues as well as at Fringe Sunday on July 10th and Fringe@5 on 12, 13 & 19.

Buxton Fringe

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

Thursday, 30 June 2016

"Cloaks" - a new play

"Cloaks" is a new play by Alison Dunne. It is set in a theatre cloakroom where customers' coats become characters. It stars Lesley Emery and Charlotte Bond. Alison kindly agreed to answer our questions about her play and fishhouse theatre. You can see "Cloaks" at the Lee Wood Hotel on 7, 8 and 10 July.
"The coats in the cloakroom come to life to represent various characters in Kath's life, the donkey jacket is her first boyfriend in the 80's, Kev, while the parka is her sister, Marie. So each coat she interacts with is reminding her of someone in her past. Sometimes the coats are inhabited by Sam, who takes on the character and sometimes the coats are puppets almost, or even empty. So while the coats are not necessarily their owners they are a person suggested by the nature of the coat.
"Cloaks wasn't written with Lesley and Charlotte in mind. I wrote the play for an East Midlands competition and then developed it further with the advice and guidance of the Derby Theatre Writers Group. When Lesley, who had been to Buxton Fringe previously with her show What Would Sharron Davies Do? and had a brilliant time, approached me and Charlotte to see if we'd be interested in taking something to the Fringe this year it seemed as though all the stars aligned. I just happened to have a play right there that needed an older and a younger actor and so I sent it to them and they liked it. Having them in the roles has definitely deepened my understanding of the characters. We've done a lot of character development for the main characters, Kath and Sam but also the many roles Charlotte has to step into, including Kath's mum and dad. Accents have come with characters and Charlotte ranges across the country from Wales to a Cockney Ann Summers's party host.

"I'm hoping that the play will appeal to women of all ages but also to men. The play focuses on a relationship between an older and a younger woman, where each are missing things, fathers, lovers and crucially, parent child relationships. So I think anyone who has had a parent or a child might find something to engage them in the play. I'm not sure I can speculate about men might learn about women from watching the play but I'd very like to hear from them if they do learn something!
"fishhouse is a brand new theatre company. Whilst I have been writing for what feels like forever I was barrelled into the world of writing for stage by the 1448 Festival in Leicester in 2013 and as a result have become part of a thriving theatre community in the city and beyond. fishhouse was conceived in response to my own experiences and my feeling that I wanted to make work about women that was by women though not entirely for a female audience. I felt I wanted to represent women's experience on stage and in particular older women's experience as this seems underrepresented in the worlds I move in, full as they are of wonderful, vibrant and new work by young companies. We are not a young company in terms of our make up, although we are new.
"We ran a successful crowd funding campaign to raise funds for building our set as our company is as yet unfunded which was an experience and very heartening. In fact our generous funders gave us more than we asked for. None of us had been involved in crowd funding before, other than in giving donations and were very pleased with the results. It meant we were able to have our set built and then painted by the very lovely set designer Emma Jane Pegg. The whole experience has been collaborative for the company with everything from sourcing props to making badges and singing thank you songs for crowd funders being shared between us. We're very much looking forward to getting to Buxton Fringe, not only to perform but to get to see some other things too."

Buxton Fringe

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

Monday, 27 June 2016

Getting Close-up and Personal with Sam Slide

Here is the latest in our series of exclusive Fringe Blog interviews. Sam Slide is well-known in Buxton and to Fringe audiences. A great friend of the Fringe - when he's not performing you'll catch him at other events. Here are our questions and Sam's answers - we don't think he is giving much away. Trombonists for you!

People are said to resemble their pets. Do musicians resemble their instruments?
Interesting to mention pets - musicians get attached to their instruments, which do have their own personalities.  Violin players talk about that a lot but it's the same for brass instruments, small differences in weights, dimensions and even the type of metal can make an instrument feel very different.
I don't know if there's a trombone personality, but you need to be comfortable with your chosen instrument.  I think a lot of musicians have similar personalities, at least as far as the music goes.  I've always got on well with musical people I've met over the years, although there have been a couple of exceptions!

The trombone isn't a sexy instrument - like the trumpet or saxophone. Why did you choose the 'bone' - or did it choose you?

Sounds like a question for Cameryn Moore [Of Phone Whore fame - Fringe 2014/2015. ed.]  I think that's only because the sax and trumpet are more common.  The trombone covers the same range as the human voice, with the same ability to bend and slide notes and produce a wide range of tones - so it's the winner for me.  The story of my musical background is all part of the show but I can't remember exactly how I came to play the trombone - It was over 40 years ago. 

Sam - you've got a lot of friends many of whom will come to your shows. Do you find it reassuring or worrying when you see those familiar faces out there?

A bit of both - it's reassuring to see familiar faces, but then there's more pressure to play well.  Once I've started playing I'm less aware of who is there, I just do my best to entertain them all.  The worst thing would be having a really good trombone player in the room.  Actually, that has happened.

You seem comfortable in a range of musical settings - brass bands, jamming with jazz musicians - do you have any preferences.
That's right, I enjoy playing a variety of music.  I've never been a dyed-in-the-wool brass band enthusiast but I do enjoy the occasional outing with our local Burbage Band.  This usually involves getting cold and wet playing Christmas carols or getting warm and wet in the Carnival parade - look out for Sam Slide in a red jacket on the 9th July.  I do admire the work Burbage do in training young players.
Jazz is different, there's no written music in front of you - it's all about listening to the other players.  Once you get used to that it's surprising how quickly a group of strangers can get it together.  It's also a pleasure to meet so many different people with a common interest.
I've no desire to play orchestral music, bagpipes or the banjo but I'm happy to have a go at most other things.  Thanks to Buxton Fringe I've even played with the Morris dancers which was great fun.     
Sam - this is the third year you've done this show. What new tunes and revelations can we look forward to?

That's a secret - you'll have to come along!  Obviously, the autobiographical theme is what it is, but I've added some new stories.  The last two shows had similar playlists so I've tried to change as many tunes as possible this time, keeping some of the old favourites.  There will be a few surprises, which may include a guest vocalist!

Sam and Friends will be entertaining at The Old Clubhouse on 12th and 19th July.

If you want your Fringe 2016 show featured on this Blog contact us at: entries@buxtonfringe.org.uk and we'll set-up an interview for you.

Buxton Fringe

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

Friday, 24 June 2016

Jacques Brel: A Life A Thousand Times

Far West Theatre premiered "Jacques Brel: A Life A Thousand Times" in Buxton last year. It was very well received at The Green Man Gallery. You can see a revised production - also at The Green Man - this Fringe on 8, 13, 17, 23 & 24 July. Simon Pennicott-Hall, the driving force behind the show and who takes the part of Brel, answered some questions for us.

1] Jacques Brel? Why should we care about him anymore?
I would argue that, in the English-speaking world, we never really got to caring about him in the first place. Brel never wrote or sang in English and only performed in the UK and US a handful of times. Even then the audiences admitted they hadn’t a clue what his songs were about. We didn’t have the cultural appreciation for foreign artists then that we do today. When he started to become really famous here, it was not because of an appreciation of his talent, it was from how that talent was translated into songs the English public could understand. Many artists (Aznavour & Distel in particular) chose to sing in English to expand their appeal. Brel absolutely refused to do this, and it was only really when Mort Shuman, Terry Jacks and Scott Walker took the matter into their own hands that people started to identify with Brel’s work.
The problem is that this, I would say, has given us a false impression of Brel. As popular and successful as some of the translations were, they are nothing like the originals, they lack the intensity and imagery that Brel chose. He was very brave, passionate, and sometimes controversial in his choices of subjects and words. In France, Belgium and around the rest of the world he was and is still celebrated as a master songwriter, storyteller and explosive performer. You cannot get this from “Seasons in the Sun”, “If You Go Away” and (in “Alive and Well and Living in Paris”) regardless of who performs them.  
The Brel that we think we cared about then, is not the Brel that the rest of the world knows. Brel did not write songs to be commercial, and I think it is important that we strip away the commerciality we have wrapped his songs up in, in the past. There is so much more to discover if we do this.   
2] Brel was a flawed figure. Not necessarily a good family man - do you feel at all uncomfortable playing him?
I’ve played a number of questionable characters in the past, so I wouldn’t say it makes me feel uncomfortable. To me it makes it more exciting. Bear in mind that when we say he wasn’t a good family man, we are talking from a standpoint of now, where there are almost set moral rules of how men should behave. Back then it wasn’t uncommon for men to behave the way he did. Even his daughter France admits that much of his behaviour wasn’t abnormal for the time.
Whilst I don’t agree with all his views, and certainly not on how he treated the women in his life, the more you research the man, the more you can kind of understand why he was who he was. It’s important for an actor to find a connection with whomever you are playing, an understanding of what made the person tick and why they held the views that they did. And there is so much to work with in Brel’s life.  
Imagine dropping out of school, taking a chance on a music career, and all of sudden record companies are throwing money at you and women are throwing themselves at you too. Who wouldn’t be taken in by this? That was Jacques. Yes, he was flawed but it shows he was human too. Many people say after seeing the show that they can’t decide whether they like him or not and I think that’s fair.  However, we could just as well be talking about any number of modern artists when we make this conclusion.     
3] You've rewritten the show from last year's premiere. What changes have you made and why?
We have updated translations of many of the songs and there are also some additional sections of dialogue. The translations are the key thing; last year, although we had retranslated many of the songs, we were still using some historical versions I wasn’t happy with. Now I can finally say that all of the translations we use are our own. There is also one brand new song and some of the songs have been switched between performers. It has been a lot of work, but I think it gives the show more balance and gets us closer than ever to the original Brel tracks.
My research into Brel is an on-going thing, so as I’ve been doing this I’ve found additional bits of text I think are important to include. There are lots of sources out there, but the majority of these are in French so it takes a while to translate and digest them. I’ve received a load of information from Editions Brel since last time, so this has helped put a lot more meat on the bone.  
4] Brel - was he a Belgian or a European?
A very good question. Brel considered himself to be Belgian and whenever he was quizzed in interviews, he would never hide from this.  As he said “Brussels is not Paris, but wherever I go in the world, Brussels is never far from me”. I think he was being genuine about this. His songs are littered with Belgian imagery, places and in a few cases, Belgian language. The only reason he wrote and sang in French was that his family, although Flemish, spoke French at home. He sang about the beautiful and not so beautiful aspects of his home country, in a way you just don’t get from his songs of other places. He was proud of the land he was born in, warts and all.
The French may believe him to be theirs, but I can’t think for a minute Brel would have agreed.  Even when he’d finished his singing career, Brel premiered the French version of “Man from La Mancha” in Brussels when - I guess - he could have done it anywhere in Europe. That speaks volumes.    
5] It is easier to feel personal sympathy for his daughter (France) rather than for Jacques - is that how you feel about the two of them?
Actually, no. With France narrating the show and not being restricted just to things she has said in real life, it is easier to make a connection with her and be sympathetic about her relationship with her father. But France has accepted her father for who he was. She is at peace with it. She was, in fact, the one who set up Editions Brel, so that her fathers’ work could be celebrated and promoted. However bitter we might feel France should be, we project a lot of that on her. She does not ask for our sympathy.  
Of course, it cannot have been easy with her father being away so often, with the rumours of affairs and the very limited communication between them. But then it can’t have been easy either for Jacques being away from the family, working ridiculous hours to make his career. When Jacques was tempted, whilst inexcusable, the fact that his wife knew and stayed with him must have been like torture. Once again Jacques does not ask for our sympathy. But in a strange way, I feel we owe it to him.

If you would like us to report on your Buxton Fringe 2016 show contact us at: entries@buxtonfringe.org.uk and we'll set that up.
Buxton Fringe

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