Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Music and Buxton Churches this coming Fringe

Stained Glass Window at Buxton United Reformed Church - 
thanks to High Peak Community Arts for image

The Buxton Festival Fringe has always had a strong programme of musical events and this year is no exception. With almost 40 separate performances - from cabaret to symphony orchestra - the choice is mouth-watering. Six of Buxton’s churches - and Eyam Parish Church - will be hosting singers and musicians.
On the Market Place the Methodist Church welcomes the combined forces of the Tideswell Male Voice Choir and the Burbage Brass Band for what is sure to be an uplifting concert. The City of Manchester Opera is back with a programme of popular French arias and choruses. Two other vocal performances - both featuring COMO’s Margaret Ferguson - are in the programme. Margaret will be singing with The Maia Singers and as part of the quartet Vocivoices. Both concerts will include a mixture of much-loved opera and popular songs. Expect Mozart and Gershwin to feature prominently!
Partita - an ensemble specialising in Early Music - has been part of the Fringe for more than 20 years. The quality and variety of playing, singing and programming has earned a keen following. Partita offers two different lunchtime recitals at the Methodist Church. Also returning is the excellent Cheshire Chamber Collective whose concert includes quintets for strings and wind. The Sovereign Saxophone Octet brings wind music of a different kind. Arrangements of music written before the sax was invented will sit happily alongside jazz standards and originals.
The highly-talented pianist Eden Walker is making his Fringe debut at the Methodist Church. A graduate of the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, Eden’s programme includes major works by Beethoven, Scriabin and Liszt.
The beautiful Arts and Crafts St Mary’s Church is worth a visit anyway but especially to hear Steven Wilkie and Simon Mercer playing music for violin and organ by Bach, Handel and Elgar. You can also hear the 30-strong Ordsall Acappella Singers with their joyful sound. They promise cake too!
It would be second helpings for the Singers because they are also performing earlier in the day at the United Reformed Church. The URC is home to a recently restored Broadwood grand piano which Jill Crossland is playing. Jill’s recordings of Bach have been enthusiastically received. The Broadwood also figures in Smoky Folk’s informal evening of song and music by a trio of proud northerners.
St John’s is the town’s biggest church and it will be well-filled by the High Peak Orchestra bringing music by Sibelius and Tchaikovsky, whose piano concerto will be played by Matthew McLachlan. The concert will benefit Blythe House Hospice and there will be an exhibition of original artwork to see. Also at St John’s is a special event - Vision - which uses words and music to relate the story of Abbess Hildegard of Bingen. This event is also part of the 
Buxton International Festival programme.
St Peter’s Church, Fairfield, is hosting performances by Mr Simpson’s Little Consort which delighted audiences last year. Expect beautiful and haunting music by Purcell and Monteverdi. The Consort will also be playing at Eyam Parish Church. The Manchester Recorder Orchestra works tirelessly to rescue the reputation of the much-maligned instrument. Featuring nine sizes of recorder, an arrangement of Pictures At An Exhibition as well as original works, the performance at a Trinity Church might just change your life.

Buxton Fringe

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Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Just two weeks to go... and we'll have dancing in the street.

Image result for chapel en le frith morris dancers
Chapel-en-le-Frith Morris Men in Buxton's Pavilion Gardens

It has been a lovely start to the summer in Buxton. Fingers crossed that the dry, warm weather continues because the streets will be alive with the fun of Buxton Fringe this July.
The traditional Buxton Day of Dance from the award-winning Chapel-en-le-Frith Morris Men offers 16 Morris sides performing across the town while in a new venture for the Fringe, Fit Up Productions brings Fringe on the Market! - circus acts and Fringe performers on the market place. Fit Up were at Brighton last month - see this video for what happened there.

Fringe stars will also be showcasing their events at several free showcases kicking off with the Fringe Launch Party, this year on the first night of the Fringe upstairs at the Old Clubhouse courtesy of Underground Venues. There is also the popular, family-friendly Fringe Sunday (July 8) plus the eclectic Fringe @ 5 at the Pavilion Gardens bandstand. You can wave on acts walking beside the special, all-orange Fringe float during Carnival Day or see them performing at Friday the 13th in the Pump Room, a special free Fringe event in association with the Buxton Crescent and Thermal Spa Heritage Trust. All this year’s Street Theatre events, plus many others in the Fringe programme, are free, whether it is Fringe veterans the award-winning Shakespeare Jukebox offering scenes from the Bard outside the Opera House or, in the same location, St Luke’s CE Primary School offering their own jukebox of songs.
Among those hoping the sun will shine are Spirit of the Fringe award-winning Stone and Water with their colourful Buxton Pride Picnic in the Pavilion Gardens. The Gardens are a particularly busy venue for the Fringe this year with the Rotunda dome hosting the eagerly anticipated Fringe Awards as well as, the Fringe Forum, a new event offering a chance for performers, audiences and venue managers to quiz the Fringe committee.

Indoor entertainments include Buxton Film’s anniversary screening of The Graduate at Buxton Working Men’s Club and a whole raft of category-defying entertainment listed under Other Events. Take a Journey Through Whisky Understanding at Monk Cocktail Bar or enjoy comedy and FAIR Spirits cocktails there on another evening. Monk is also hosting a night of Brooklyn beers, brewery games and 90s nostalgia. Alternatively Fringe-goer can celebrate Buxton’s pure and healing waters at Present from the Past’s words and pictures event Well, Well I Never Knew That About Buxton’s Waters!, flex their writing muscles at the CafeLit workshop at Scrivener’s or Meet the Experts at Buxton Museum’s lunchtime talks.

Details of all Fringe events are in the programme and on, where there is a special page listing the many free events at this year’s festival.

The Fringe wishes to thank its sponsor The University of Derby as well as financial supporters The Trevor Osborne Charitable Trust and High Peak Borough Council, its Fringe Friends and the town’s many Fringe supporters and venues.

Buxton Fringe

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Friday, 18 May 2018

Tickets for Sale

2018 Buxton Fringe Programme
The Rotunda - 2017

Tickets for many Fringe shows are now on sale. The Rotunda Theatre has a packed programme of quality shows and performers at its geodesic dome on the Old Bowling Green in the Pavilion Gardens. There are some 'early bird' offers if you get tickets before the end of May. Check the programme and details of ticket prices on the link below:
Rotunda at Buxton Fringe 2018.

Buxton Opera House

Our friends at the Buxton Opera House box office have been working hard to get 28 shows on sale at the earliest possible date. Go to Opera House box office to see what is available and book your tickets. You can have tickets sent to you, you can collect from the box office or print out your own.

The Green Man Gallery

The Green Man Gallery will be hosting over 30 performances in July - as well as exhibiting entries for this year's Buxton Spa Prize. Tickets will be on sale for the Fringe shows very soon.

UV in its new Clubhouse home
Underground Venues at The Old Clubhouse

The third of Buxton's 'managed venues' is Underground Venues. Their 2018 programme - of almost 70 shows in The Old Clubhouse and the Pavilion Arts Centre - will be confirmed on 1st June and tickets will be available on-line then.

Our complete programme can be searched on-line and information on how to get tickets for all 181 events (though many are free and no tickets are needed) is available there.

Enjoy planning for the summer in Buxton. We look forward to seeing you then. 

Buxton Fringe

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Twitter: @buxtonfringe

Thursday, 10 May 2018

Star Quality at Buxton Fringe!

Seann Miley Moore

As well as providing a platform for the stars of tomorrow, the Fringe provides a welcoming space for the celebrities of today. Just announced is the appearance of Seann Miley Moore, the supremely talented Australian musical theatre star and singer who came to fame on the 2015 X Factor. He will be starring in leoe&hyde’s 21st-century romcom musical Guy, Underground at the Arts Centre Studio. This is the team that brought us the multi-award-winning The Marriage of Kim K last year so we are expecting great things.

Rock Follies actor Rula Lenska is meanwhile bringing to life the memoirs of her mother who escaped Naz-occupied Poland in Rula Lenska: From Dzikow to Willesden Green at the Rotunda.

Rob Rouse - Bottom in BBC Two’s Upstart Crow - is appearing twice at the Fringe, performing his own stand up show Underground at the Old Clubhouse, and, intriguingly, also co-starring with Fringe Award-winning Helen Rutter in her hit play The Ladder, Underground at the Arts Centre Studio.

With the printed programme due out at the end of this month, we are excited about our bumper Fringe featuring the biggest ever comedy section and joint biggest theatre category (2013 was a a biggie too). Look out for more blogs and comprehensive Fringe press releases highlighting the fabulous acts we have across all categories.

Following last year’s successful programme redesign, we’ve made some additional tweaks to make it even easier to see ticket information. A big print run of 20,000 is scheduled with our distribution team going into overdrive!

Why not join us at our celebratory programme party at The Green Man Gallery, Buxton on Saturday June 2nd, 7-9pm? It is a free, open-to-all event with light refreshments (donations encouraged!) and extracts from shows. We look forward to seeing you. 

Buxton Fringe

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Twitter: @buxtonfringe

Saturday, 7 April 2018

Pre-Fringe Grand Carnival (and our new badge!)

It is less than 3 months to the start of the next Buxton Festival and Fringe. Last Sunday it snowed heavily across the Peak District, today it almost feels like Spring. The notion of Summer may seem fanciful but let’s trust to forces more powerful and reliable than we are.
One of the last events of Fringe 2017 took place at Buxton’s United Reformed Church when Marianne Kelly and Heather Sargeson played a stunning piano duet recital. The URC piano is a Broadwood grand and dates back to 1899. The instrument is a fine one but was in need of refurbishment. Thanks to a generous grant from Bingham Trust the piano has now been completely restored and is back in the Church.
To celebrate this exciting development Marianne and Heather are returning to the URC on Saturday 14th April to give the first public performance on the restored piano. Their programme includes arrangements of Saint -Saens’ Carnival of the Animals, Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue and Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on Greensleeves. The recital starts at 7.30pm and tickets will be available on the door (£10, £8 concessions, £5 children). It will surely be a happy and exciting occasion and we look forward to seeing many of you there. It will also be a first chance to collect your new Fringe badge!
Other events using the Broadwood are scheduled for later in the year and will be announced soon.
The 39th Buxton Festival Fringe begins on Wednesday July 4th. Already over 140 different events are listed on our website and we expect another 30 or so to be registered in the next 8 days when we reach our final deadline. Our three ‘managed’ venues - The Green Man Gallery, The Rotunda and Underground Venues  - have strong programmes announced already and will be finalising their schedules in the next week.
If you are looking to put on a show this July and have yet to negotiate a venue then we can tell you that the Rotunda currently has some weekday afternoon slots at very reasonable rates. If you are interested contact soon.

Buxton Fringe

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Friday, 6 April 2018

Buxton International Festival - tickets on sale

Pianist Joanna MacGregor - playing in Buxton Festival, July 7th.

Sorry that we have neglected this blogging malarkey for a while. On the other hand no one has asked to see if we are still alive. So perhaps we aren't much missed?
There is a lot to catch up with and we'll do that in bits over the next day or two. Important news from the Buxton International Festival - tickets for the opera and music events are now on general sale and tickets are selling very quickly for some of the the recitals. Hurry to avoid disappointment. (If you wanted to hear Roderick Williams - well, unsurprisingly, his Schubert recital is sold out already).

It has also been announced that this Festival will be the seventh and last for Stephen Barlow as Artistic Director. That's a pretty good stint and he has helped bring some world class performers and productions to Buxton. In its press release the Festival said:

"2019 sees the 40th anniversary of the Festival, and new CEO Michael Williams is delighted to confirm that Stephen will conduct one of the Festival opera productions in this special anniversary year.
"Buxton International Festival Chairman Felicity Goodey said 'The Board of Buxton International Festival, the staff and I are incredibly grateful for the tireless work Stephen has undertaken to steer and support the Festival over the past 7 years. His imaginative artistic planning together with his remarkable skill and energy as a conductor will be sorely missed, but we wish him very well with his future plans.” 
Stephen Barlow commented “It has been my special pleasure and privilege to bring so many fine artists and ensembles to Buxton’s beautiful Opera House and surrounding venues, in a mix of the lesser and well known operatic and concert repertoire for a festival audience whose curiosity and enthusiasm has been truly gratifying. I shall miss enormously the exhilaration of the festival atmosphere and the scintillating immersion in Operas, Concerts and Books that enlivens the lovely spa town and wider region each summer, but look forward to returning as a visitor in whatever capacity. I wish the newly appointed Chief Executive every success in the next chapter of Buxton Festival’s development.”
As for our own Festival - we have 140 events lined-up already and there are still 10 days left to enter shows and guarantee being included in the printed programme. We'll be back tomorrow with a focus on the Fringe.

Buxton Fringe

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Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Fringe Venues: Free and Underground

St. Peter's, Fairfield

It's the end of the European football transfer window today which will spell excitement and heartbreak for some - but we have other things to concentrate on here in Buxton.

For many Buxton regulars - artists and audiences - Underground Venues is of huge significance. So the good news is that the Underground Team can confirm that everything is in place to secure a return for this July. Once again there will be a host of brilliant performances upstairs at The Old Clubhouse on Water Street right opposite the Opera House. There will be music, comedy, theatre and much more all day long. In the evenings Underground will present shows at the 90-seat Pavilion Arts Centre Studio. Keep an eye on the UV website and twitter feed for more information.

Buxton Festival Fringe is in its 39th year and over that time it has grown into a vibrant arts event - one of the biggest of its sort in England. At the heart of the Fringe is a cluster of venues within a stone's throw of the Opera House and this guarantees a constant buzz of excitement.
It also means that for some Buxton residents there are few Fringe events within comfortable walking distance. For 2018 the Festival Fringe organisers are taking some steps to try and bring the Fringe closer to home for some. It is hoped that performers and artists will take their shows and talent to residential areas a bit beyond the town centre.
The Fringe has identified some good performance spaces that have been underused in the past and is offering to cover the cost of room hire and rental for Fringe entrants putting on events during this July's Festival. The venue are:
The Town Library - on Kents Bank Road;
The Working Men's Club on Lightwood Road, Fairfield;
St Peter's Church, Fairfield.
The intention is that the Fringe will refund the hire fee after an event has taken place - subject to a maximum of 20 separate performances. For those who have already entered for Fringe, or are planning a show at other venues, this means that you have the chance to put on another event for a different audience at little cost.
The Library has set aside Thursday July 5th and 19th as Fringe days (from 1000-1700 hours) - though other dates may be available.
The Working Men's Club is generally available from Monday-Thursday.
St Peter's Church, Fairfield may be available all day on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday (after 3pm).
For full details about these venues and how to contact their managers please see the Fringe page here.
If you have any questions about how this scheme will work or if you want to discuss whether or not your show or event might be suitable for either of these venue please contact Keith Savage via

Buxton Fringe

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Twitter: @buxtonfringe