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 www.buxtonfringe.org.uk, where there is a special page listing the many free events at this year’s festival.