Wednesday 19 March 2014

On the Fringes of the Fringe

When we asked our sponsor the University of Derby whether its third year design students could come up with a programme cover for us, one of the suggestions we made was that they should avoid making the Opera House centre stage in their picture. Don’t get us wrong, we love the Opera House for a whole host of reasons, not least for its fantastic ticketing support, but there has been a perception in the past that Buxton Fringe is ‘all about’ the Opera House in some way whereas in fact the Opera House itself never gets used as a Fringe venue though acts such as the popular Shakespeare’s Jukebox perform on the Forecourt and the Arts Centre is a wonderful Fringe venue for both us and the Festival.

It is not even true to say that Buxton Fringe is ‘all about’ the ‘posh’ bits – The Old Hall, the Pavilion Gardens and so on. This year more than ever our venues are refreshingly spread out with The Green Man Gallery offering a new space for musicians and artists alike and The Market Place breathing life into a very central part of town that hasn’t always ‘felt the Fringe’ as much as it should. There are also events happening in the atmospheric Poole’s Cavern, normally full of bats but boasting vampires for this year’s Fringe, and at Burbage Institute, a historic building at the heart of Burbage, a village in its own right though only 20 minutes' walk from the centre of Buxton.

It is also nice to see two events (so far) taking place in the Spring Bank Arts Centre in New Mills. I remember in the past advising a performer that holding a Buxton Fringe event in Manchester was perhaps a step too far, but the Fringe has always been supportive of its venues outside the town, listed on our website Venues page under ‘outreach venues’. We’ve had some truly exciting events outside Buxton in the past including a community drama about the plague in Eyam (The Roses of Eyam) and last year, the Litton Poetry Festival with John Hegley
I noticed in Waitrose (between Fringe proofing we still need to eat) that there is a collection for Chapel Arts, an organisation aiming to promote arts in the community in nearby Chapel-en-le-Frith and hoping in due course to create its own arts festival. It's great to see the spirit of the Fringe alive and well all over the High Peak. 

Buxton Fringe

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