Monday, 30 June 2014

Buxton Fringe - How do I love thee? Let me count the ways…

My daughter tells me that today’s blogs need lists, numbered if possible.

Well, I’m not going to give you a top ten of shows –  we leave that to people like Fringe Guru. But  having recently been into Buxton Community School to do a Fringe information desk workshop with our intrepid sixth form volunteers, I realise I might be able to give you, as I started to give them, a top ten of the kind of people who pass through our information area next to the Opera House. What I told them is that each of these people represent an opportunity for them to “sell” the Fringe, but hey, if I tell the world who you are meant to be and how you are meant to respond to our eager young volunteers in orange T-shirts, things might go even more smoothly. So here goes (in no particular order):

  1. Toilet seeker – this is a generic breed but often tends to be very young or very old. If very young, the opportunity is there for our volunteers to produce a free balloon, badge and Fringe programme plus a beautiful smile while pointing the way to the toilets – through the conservatory and on the right to save you asking. If very old, well it stands to reason they will soon need somewhere to sit down – cue any number of Fringe shows – what about a harp quartet?
  2. Opera Festival goer – yes they are here by mistake, but what a fabulous chance to introduce them to the opera, music and literature that is also a wonderful part of the Fringe? In a spirit of generosity it is also OK to direct them to the Festival’s portakabin where no doubt a Festival rep will be simultaneously redirecting a Fringe goer.
  3. Celebrity – wow! Surely they need a Fringe badge and don’t those mobile phone thingies take photos now?
  4. The ‘it’s nice to chat’-er. This kind of person is usually very fond of the Fringe, so fond that they would probably like to become a Fringe Friend. Just £10 – with 10% off Fringe shows and lots of invitations to chat-worthy occasions through the year. What’s not to like?
  5. The Fringe performer –  so they think they have come to perform? Ergo they like the arts. Ergo they are probably wanting to become an audience member too – what would they like to see?
  6. The explorer – Buxton is a mystery. Nothing is where it looks as if it might be. Volunteers: open that Fringe programme at its centre spread with handy map and make sure you point out all the Fringe venues en route.
  7. The ticket seeker –  Comes in all shapes and sizes. Volunteers - we can offer information galore but actual tickets are sold at the Opera House (for events with a star) or over the road at Underground Venues (for UV acts) or see the act’s individual entry for booking info. Just how many shows are you wanting to see? Why not save some money by becoming a Fringe Friend?
  8. The critic – You can rely on this breed to point out that it’s not clear how to buy tickets, that this poster is wrong, that one is out of date and x,y,z is simply not clear enough.  First point, the customer is always right. Second point, this sounds like somebody who should be on the Fringe committee. In fact are you sure she isn’t already?
  9. The plant lover – Just what are those flowers in the corner behind the Fringe desk and how do you get bananas to grow like that in the conservatory and what the hell did you do with that fish? You know, the one we always liked to see – the one that floated on its back but really wasn’t dead? Volunteers, it is quite hard to spin this one, but what I would say is that some of our visual artists have done some lovely flower and fish paintings, plus have you ever thought of making a paper flower for our carnival float?
  10. The good Samaritan – Doughnuts and cups of coffee are always welcome at the desk. Should the desk be in drought mode, an ice cream is a nice thought. Should it be under a few feet of water (this is not a joke) mops and buckets are very appreciated. Volunteers – the correct response as it is in fact to every single person who comes to the Fringe desk is a great big:

THANK YOU!

Buxton Fringe

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