Friday, 23 June 2017

Jane Austen and Thomas Edison: what do they have in common?

 "Edison": 18 & 20 July at the Pavilion Arts Centre

The short answer to our own question is that you can original productions about them by touring American companies at this year's Buxton Fringe. Chamber Opera Chicago will be at the Art Theatre, New Mills on 16 July for their musical drama based on Jane Austen's "Persuasion". This will be a special night out and a perfect excuse to visit New Mills' lovely theatre. For one night only, book your tickets at Buxton Opera House.

"From Philadelphia, USA’s vibrant theatre scene comes "Edison".  Following a sold out University production in Philadelphia, USA and a successful run at the Prague Fringe Festival, Edison finds its next U.K. tour stop at the Buxton Festival Fringe with future tour stops including the Greater Manchester Fringe Festival and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Edison is made possible, in part, by the Corzo Center for the Creative Economy at the University of the Arts, Philadelphia, USA.

This genre­bent, spiritually invigorating play explores the American dream, the American immigrant, and a box of Cracker Jacks. Alternating between the fluorescent shine of an industrious America and the faded glimmer of a forgotten home: hypnotic factory foreman, Thomas Edison, puppeteers the employees of the Edison company in chronicling the life of “the man who invented the 20th century,” Nikola Tesla. Meanwhile, the bitter feud between Edison and Tesla bubbles up at the water cooler and culminates in one of the biggest stand offs in scientific history. Join our assembly line and experience the fire and brimstone of a scientific revolution.

Static Assembly's vigorous collision of corporeal music and movement fuses with Joshua Logan Walker’s text in a brilliant synergetic concoction. Michael Calcott (Fringey Bits, Prague Fringe) says of Sandy d’Oria’s direction, “The staging is clever, inventive. It is no easy task moving that many actors around a small stage and it works.”

See "Edison" at the Pavilion Arts Centre on 18 & 20 July. Tickets available from Underground Venues.

For more information and past production photos please visit:

Buxton Fringe

Facebook: buxtonfringe
Twitter: @buxtonfringe

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Small is, well, rather beautiful

Picture credit: Tom Mason

Some of the smaller categories at this year’s Fringe offer the biggest thrills, from award-winning flamenco to pot-luck fun at free showcases such as Fringe at Five and Fringe Sunday.
A healthy Dance section includes Los Nacimientos, a new collaboration between composer Tom Randle and the electrifying Fringe Award winners dotdotdot dance company offering flamenco-infused choreography plus songs performed by soprano Gillian Keith. The event is also part of Buxton International Festival.
Equally exotic is Wallflower Dance’s A Night in Havana where Fringe-goers can watch or join in Cuban salsa and enjoy authentic tapas and live music. Dancer Paulette Mae meanwhile offers a surreal and visceral, water-themed, multi-art performance at the Green Man Gallery, and Chapel-en-le-Frith Morris Men, together with other Morris sides, take over the whole town for July 15.
There is more free outdoor entertainment with Fringe Sunday on the bandstand at the Pavilion Gardens, a free showcase of Fringe performers on July 9, and Fringe at Five, which also offers 5pm busking opportunities for musicians and others. The Fringe will be taking to the streets during the Carnival with its award-winning float. Also listed under Street Theatre is the ever-popular Shakespeare Jukebox raising money for charity with scenes from the Bard performed outside the Opera House.
The usefully weather-proof Film category boasts Buxton Film’s selection of BAFTA recognised Programme of Short Films, as well as Working with Pinter, a special screening featuring an audience with filmmaker Harry Burton himself over at new venue the Rotunda in the Pavilion Gardens.
The catch-all Other Events section is wonderfully diverse this year. Cupid and the King: The King’s Courtesans is a bawdy, genre-defying entertainment with readings, music and more from the days of the Tudors and Stuarts. Possibly not immune to naughtiness is Stone and Water’s Buxton Pride Picnic celebrating Queer Buxton and friends, while Monk Cocktail Bar boast two events, one beer-themed, one cocktail-based and both with live music.
Offering something slightly more cerebral, Buxton Museum and Art Gallery invites us to Meet The Museum Experts while creative writing graduate Blythe Aimson is offering a special, one-off poetry workshop. Book lovers are also invited to exchange some unwanted tomes at a Book Swap in The Springs shopping centre.
The eclectic Other Events also includes a whole other festival over at Chelmorton, quirky micro-performances in a disused industrial fridge courtesy of Underground at The Old Clubhouse, and an audio visual feast of shared memories of the town from Present from the Past.
It is also worth remembering that the Fringe bookends its festival with the open to all Fringe Launch Party on the eve of the Fringe (July 4) at The Old Clubhouse, featuring extracts from shows, and the by-invitation Fringe 2017 Awards, this year at the Rotunda, on the last day.
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.
Buxton Fringe

Facebook: buxtonfringe
Twitter: @buxtonfringe

Monday, 19 June 2017

Pilgrimage and Lachrimae with Partita

The cathedral - Santiago de Compostela

Partita has become something of a Buxton Fringe institution - having been a part of more than 20 consecutive festivals. Every year the ensemble brings something fresh and intriguing and 2017 will be no exception. Read on for full details of the two concerts planned.

"Early music ensemble Partita – twice recipients of the Fringe ‘small classical ensemble’ award – will be presenting two concerts in the 2017 Fringe: Wednesday 12th July, 1pm and Thursday 20th July, 1pm (both in Buxton Methodist Church).

The first concert (12 July) has medieval music by two English kings – Canute and Richard the Lionheart - and music on the theme of pilgrimage (to Santiago de Compostela) collected by the 13th century Spanish king Alfonso the Wise. Music by John Dowland will include a preview glimpse of a work that can be heard fully, in its original format for five viols and lute, in Partita’s second concert on 20 July [more details below]. The first concert also features Spanish renaissance and baroque music including songs on the themes of: a pilgrim who lapses from his high ideals when, while resting under an oak tree, he has a tempting encounter; a disappointed lover (waiting under another tree!) who waits in vain for her lover to arrive; and a robust expression of indignant pique from a gentleman who is just not getting what he would like! And – from France: Petit Jacquet happens to see something he shouldn’t and is told in no uncertain terms to clear off; a lively shepherd is also told to clear off; a lady with a toothache is offered an unconventional cure; and we hear from an a exceptional couple who are actually happy with each other and suffer only “an excess of pleasure”. To round off this first concert, we have music by Vivaldi and Bach.

Partita’s second Fringe concert (20 July) is a rather special event for us (and we hope of course, for our audience!) In addition to Partita’s regular line-up we have invited members of Chester Viol Academy to join us for a special recreation of a landmark Jacobean composition published by John Dowland in 1605 and written for the unusual combination of five viols and lute: ‘Lachrimae, or Seven Teares figured in Seven Passionate Pavans’. The seven pavans have latin titles which denote different forms of tears: ancient tears, new ancient tears, groaning tears, sad tears, forced tears, lovers’ tears, and true tears. The form of the pavan has a particular musical architecture of three repeated sections. Sometimes Elizabethan and Jacobean composers wrote elaborate variations or ‘divisions’ for the repetition of each section. When composed divisions did not appear in the printed music (as was the case in Dowland’s Lachrimae Pavans) there was a vigorous tradition of performers, especially lutenists, ‘making their own divisions’. For Partita’s version, lutenist Roger Child has taken up the challenge to recreate this practice so the performance will incorporate this new and unique addition to the original score.

Partita will also be taking up the opportunity presented by having five guest viol players (one of whom is also a distinguished lutenist and theorbo player) to include music for voice and viols, lute and theorbo duets and, as ever, music with our indispensable harp and harpsichord players.

In addition to the Dowland Pavans the concert will include music by Orlando Gibbons, John Wilbye, Martin Peerson, Athanasius Kircher, and Antonio Vivaldi.

Over the two concerts we will have an array of medieval, renaissance and baroque instruments including lutes, theorbo, vihuela, renaissance and baroque guitars, harp, harpsichord, viols, gemshorn, recorder, and sinfonye.

Please join us if you can for one or both of our Fringe concerts."

Buxton Fringe

Facebook: buxtonfringe
Twitter: @buxtonfringe

Monday, 5 June 2017

Singers - be part of something extraordinary!

On Saturday 8th July, Buxton Fringe will feature a performance by the extraordinary vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Richard Navarro. 

Along with Nicholas Thurston (double bass/guitar/synths), the duo have regularly supported Joan Armatrading on her UK tours and are touring their powerful new collection of songs - 'Firewatching' - throughout 2017, working with hundreds of singers across the UK and Ireland. 

For their July concert in Trinity Church, they are inviting singers from Derbyshire to take part in the concert, attending a 'scratch' rehearsal at 1pm on the afternoon of the concert, followed by the evening performance. 

Evocative and uplifting, Richard's songs take the folk traditions of melody and storytelling and supercharge them through live looping and improvisation. The choral parts for the songs - which have a strong element of gospel and soul - are available to listen to online in advance of the show, and all levels of ability are welcome. The only qualification needed to take part is an enthusiasm for singing. 

For further information, including a link to a sign-up form for the event, visit this page on the musician's website:

Buxton Fringe

Facebook: buxtonfringe
Twitter: @buxtonfringe