Saturday, 3 October 2020

Winner of The Trail of Smiles!

Fraser Unwin wins the Trail of Smiles!



8 year old Fraser Unwin Of Buxton Junior school is the winner of The Trail of Smiles - an Art Installation created by Artist Lindsey Piper in collaboration with Buxton Town Team and launched during this year’s Buxton Fringe. 

The Trail of Smiles was created for the people of Buxton to discover 25 Smiles throughout their town in venues that included houses, places of interest and businesses. When Artist Lindsey Piper was asked why she had put this installation together she said ‘I was very aware on my daily walks during lockdown that other people like myself were discovering parts of their own town they may never have seen and wanted to mirror that experience of discovery with a reward of a cheeky smile. To make it more fun I decided to make it a competition.’ 

Fraser was thrilled to be the winner of the Trail of Smiles and when his Mum, Katy told him she said he had the biggest smile on his face. 

Lindsey is looking forward to Buxton Fringe 2021 to create another installation for the people of Buxton and visitors to the town, and we can’t wait to see what she comes up with next!


Buxton Fringe

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

Sunday, 19 July 2020

End of the Fringe - The Chair’s Review

The Chair ... in orange.


Buxton Fringe 2020 has come to an end and I think we can safely say that it was a Fringe like no other. Coronavirus has taken a heavy toll on us. We have had hardly any performances taking place “in real life”, there have been no venues open, no Fringe Desk and no programme. We haven’t been able to go out to shows, catch up with old friends and meet new ones, no chatting outside venues about what we have seen and what we're looking forward to seeing.

But we have still had a Fringe. We decided to go ahead at the usual time and see what we could salvage, feeling that by July audiences would be looking forward to something different from what was on TV. We also knew that creative people don’t stop creating just because of a lockdown, and that having an outlet for their work and something to work towards was important.

We feel that our decision to go ahead has been more than vindicated by the rush of entries that came in to the Fringe in June. We couldn’t believe that we hit 100 entries just before we opened!

We’re not doing the awards in our usual way this year, but I will announce a few picks of the Fringe later in this blog, no prizes (and no free entry next year, sorry), just kudos! But we are so grateful for everyone that contributed work this year, the online nature of the Fringe has enabled me to get to over 90% of the entries this year and it has been a joy to see the range and quality of work on offer.

We’ve had recordings and reworkings of old favourites - three former winners of our award for New Writing appeared in radio play form, last year’s Once Upon a Time in Trieste, The Gambit from 2013 and 2002’s Sounds like the NHS. New audiences have been introduced to such joys as Burbage Band’s Happy. 

We have seen people we perhaps wouldn’t otherwise have been introduced to, such as Stew Walker and The Book of Snorin’. There have been retrospectives and reminiscences about the Fringe from old friends like Darren Poyzer, Will Hawthorne and Sudden Impulse.

There has been innovative work like Despite the Monkey’s audio play, It Flows, which is to be experienced while walking around Buxton, and two events curated by Mark Reid, It’s About Time, a live event encouraging reflection and interaction about time, and a special Buxton edition of Summit featuring the avant garde and experimental.

The local community has been so supportive, there have been lots of local contributions, from writing groups, choirs, and community groups, many of which have made use of the local landscape, such as the wonderful Peak Voices. And the Visual Arts scene, which is predominantly local, has been as vibrant as ever with online exhibitions, and lovely innovations like the Sketchbook Trail. And who can forget Floella Flap-a-lot, bringing colour and joy as she perched outside Hawkshead on Spring Gardens as lockdown eased.

The success of this year’s Fringe can be partly seen in the attention we have received from respected voices on the Fringe scene, and I can’t pay better tribute to all our entrants that in the words of Fringe Guru, Richard Stamp, on Twitter, “I've been inspired and maybe a little humbled by how so many people have put so much effort into specials for @buxtonfringe - not because it's a stepping stone to anything else and certainly not because it pays anything, but just, well, because. 5* to all of you.”

To everyone who has brought their art, shows or workshops to the Fringe, we are so grateful. We would be nothing without you.

As I have said, there will not be any of our traditional awards this year, but we wanted to recognise excellence in original work that has been completed during Lockdown to be aired at Buxton Fringe.

So, in absolutely no order, our picks of the Fringe 2020 are:

  • Debbie Cannon - Three Voices - “Three women, nothing in common apart from the fact, that is, that they are all in Lockdown … Debbie Cannon is a very talented writer and actor … very special, new and relevant work”
  • Nathan Cassidy - Roses from Joe - Nathan was determined to put on a live show. And he did - properly socially distanced. He made the Fringe for me. “Nathan Cassidy has always had something of the magician about him. You can think you are listening to observational comedy only to realise by the end of his show that it has become - and indeed always was - something else entirely.”
  • Ray Castleton - An Ordinary Woman - “An ordinary woman, just an ordinary woman, her son Edward tells us on the day of his mum’s funeral. But nobody is ordinary. Everybody must count.”
  • Bloom - The Landscape Jukebox - “an intriguing, mindful piece of work, created with imagination and artistry, and well worth watching. Each piece is short, so the viewer is left with a collage of thoughts and images that force us to think about the landscape around us, and our place within it.”
  • Orange and Pip Theatre - Through the Screen - “the intensity of friendships at university, the obliviousness of love in your twenties, and the power that people can hold over others when there is a secret and a friendship at stake.”
  • Ian Bowns (with Carol Bowns and Sarah Owens) - A Song a Day - “Folk performers Ian and Carol Bowns and Sarah Owens have a novel idea ... Instead of a full concert they are posting a song every day of the Fringe ... dip in when you have just a few minutes but also really immerse yourself fully in the song,”
  • Adrian Lord - Journey to Sky Blue - “His music is just sublime; I lay back and floated on Adrian's piano picks”
  • Buxton Drama League - The Shakespeare Jukebox - “Utterly wonderful! The company of The Shakespeare Jukebox are regular street theatre performers at Buxton Fringe and this year have produced a series of short videos of their pieces. The online format works really well - it feels like Shakespeare’s characters have taken to social media and are producing their own TikTok videos.”
  • Three's Company’s Adventure Department - “Great acting and hilarious story telling will keep you chortling throughout, as will the half time ad break. Promising a different genre with each daily episode, this entertaining podcast is a perfect listen”
  • Egriega - Xuxu's Revolt - “Settle back and lose yourself in this beautiful, immersive experience, each Portuguese poster, mural or filmed bar scene hinting at stories within stories. A glass of chilled white Port can only help. As Xuxu says: 'You can do the bossa nova even if you’re falling over…'”
  • Two Left Hands - Alternative Well Dressing - “What a great idea! Superbly delivered, the project keeps alive a special tradition, proving that volunteers like Gill, and so many others who love this town, are the true beating heart of the community.”
  • Gordon MacLellan - TINY! Treasure Hunters, Lost Castles and Make your own Museum - Gordon has been both stalwart and star this year, making sure the TINY! adventures still went on in Pavilion Gardens, his craft videos, plus some great poetry in Buxton Spoken Words! “a storyteller, artist and all round good guy, proves the perfect guide … I think making these castles would cover art, English (storytelling), drama and just plain old fun on the home schooling front. Get the whole family involved and act out your stories”
  • The Fringe of the Fringe - “all the shows that aren’t here, the very best of what is not happening, and more importantly, reviews thereof … clearly knows what’s he’s on about; the reviews are knowing and the caricatures and comments reveal inside knowledge and a fine sense of satire. We’ll have to keep an eye on this chap.”

We are making one award this year. It is the John Beecher Memorial Award for original, challenging work with high production values. This is a cash prize and doesn’t entitle the performer to free entry the following year. This year it goes to The Affinity Initiative from But Why? Theatre. Our review said “be prepared to commit to the performance to get the most out of it. I decided to go for it, and at times was genuinely thrilled by what was happening … Featuring one-to-one immersive performance and real-time interaction, But Why? has brought something very intriguing and thought-provoking”

Of course, there wouldn’t be any point in putting on a Fringe if no-one came to see it, and it has been heartening to see the engagement of audiences with online shows. It has been hard to get feedback about the Fringe this year, as we haven’t been out mingling and hearing what you all think! But I think the sense is that alongside reaching new people, we have been greatly supported by our usual Fringe audiences.

We thank you all for joining in the fun, and we’re grateful for everyone that has donated to our artists and to the charities they have been supporting. If you can, and you haven’t yet had the chance, please seek out the performances you enjoyed and see if you can support the performer with a donation. No one gets rich doing this, and it is a very tough time for performers everywhere at the minute.

Our budget has been tiny this year so we thank High Peak Borough Council for their support. With no entry fees it has been our Fringe Friends that have provided the bulk of our income, you have really kept the show on the road and we are so grateful for your faith in us.

It is my first year as Chair and it hasn’t been an easy introduction! I have discussed at length elsewhere how much work the committee has put in this year to hang on to the hope of putting on a Fringe, and then the immense effort that it required to revisit every entry and venue, and to start to rebuild the programme. I can’t pick out individuals, but believe me when I say, I recognise and appreciate everything that each of you has done to make the Fringe a success this year.

We also managed to review every show. A great achievement in a year when there were no free tickets to shows to entice reviewers! We are very grateful to all those who gave their time and energy to do this for us.

As mentioned above, we had one live show this year from Nathan Cassidy, and I’d like to finish with a quote from him about us. This is exactly what we try to achieve: 

“The @buxtonfringe is incredibly special - wonderful creativity, innovative and supportive. And that’s proved whole-heartedly by going ahead when many would have cancelled. Creatives can only create with the right support and that’s what this Fringe gives us. A very special place.”

Thank you everyone.

Stephen Walker
Chair

Buxton Fringe

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


Saturday, 18 July 2020

Hello again from Floella

C:\Users\Viv\Pictures\floella 6 (2).jpg

We caught up with Floella the other day. She reported that she has really enjoyed being part of the Sculpture Trail for Buxton fringe. The people of Buxton have been so kind, stopping for a chat and a smile so, even though the weather has been slightly damp, she said she has felt warm and sunny.

The most exciting news Floella had to tell us was about the wonderful letters she has received from the Y3 class at Harpur Hill Primary. Here is one of them and you will find the rest on our gallery in the coming weeks. The children were so kind. They advised her about places to visit in Buxton and drew her pictures of friends. She certainly feels a lot happier now.

Floella has really enjoyed being able to catch up with Fringe events in the evenings when she goes inside. She particularly liked the bear and banana in Burbage Band!

Floella has been so happy here in Buxton that she has decided to stay a while longer. From 1st August – 31st October she will be joining a very special lockdown exhibition in the Cavendish Arcade. The exhibition will be open on a Thursday, Friday and Saturday so you can drop in and give her a wave. 

Viv Marriott


Buxton Fringe

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


Friday, 17 July 2020

The Shakespeare Jukebox – Un-juked!


The Shakespeare Jukebox are probably the most visible act in the Buxton Fringe, year after year come rain or shine they are outside the Opera House or on the Pavilion Gardens Promenade performing extracts of Shakespeare selected by an admiring audience. Here, Maria and Jayne from the Jukebox reflect on how different it has been this year.

Friday night at Buxton Fringe. Usually finds us in the ladies at the Club House, getting changed into long skirts and corsets. We always have a moment when we look at each other and say “Remind me, why are we doing this again?” And then we gird our loins, head out and join the Shakespeare Jukebox men, ready for our first piece, which has a rousing chorus of “Double, double toil and trouble...” Go on, join in; you know how it goes. 
Jayne Marling

It’s been different this year. We’ve missed getting together; working out the playlist, discussing new ideas. None of our usual rehearsals, which are always fun, good exercise and of course sometimes frustrating when the lines and moves for a new piece don’t come readily to hand. Seriously, I don’t think we ever got our scene from the Tempest right before the first live performance!

This year it’s been lots of emails, a couple of video calls and even one socially distanced meeting between the two of us in the back garden. Jayne rounded up and re-distributed our props, Maria contacted previous members of the Jukebox; Alex and Malcolm, who said ‘Yes’ far quicker and easily than we expected. It’s been wonderful having them back in the team. We needed an editor, and the wonderful Caroline stepped in. She’s been coming to the Fringe for many years and watches most of our performances. She’s filmed us live. So, we knew she ‘gets’ what we’re trying to do. She was up for it. So much so, that as she couldn’t come to Buxton for her usual holiday in July, she took time off before the Fringe to edit the videos! 
Maria Carnegie

The ‘day job’ has remained busy for some of the Jukebox team so we’ve had to make time to learn new lines and film ourselves. We’re clearly not film directors - as our editor will testify! We’ve headed to the hills, woods and gardens for our filming – and some of us still got rained on (well, it wouldn’t be the Jukebox if we didn’t get wet at least once!) We have guest appearances from Elyse, Caroline, chickens and Amy the dog. We’ve tried to deliver pieces differently, but still capture the Jukebox essence. And we had fun – just wait until you see the fairies; the sheer joy leaps off the screen. It’s been good for all of us to have a creative project to do.

We’ve all missed the audience engagement – reacting to and involving our audience is one of the joys of performing. And it’s strangely odd not having any applause at the end of a piece. Are people watching? Did they enjoy it? We really hope so. One of the biggest losses is not seeing the familiar faces who come back year after year to watch us (yes, really, people do!) and have a chat. We know some of them have found us online, which is just lovely. We have also really missed the sheer joy and mayhem of Tag Rude Mechanicals; audience participation at its best!!!

So why do we do it? Well, it’s a great group of people to work with, it’s fun (even when it rains), it’s energising. People enjoy it. And we do it to raise money for the Buxton Samaritans. As with many charities opportunities to raise funds have been reduced these last four months. And the need for their services has increased. We’re really proud to do our little bit, so if you would like to donate please click here, and thank you for your support.

Keep watching – join in with the bits you know. Share and like the videos. And come back and see us live next year!

Maria Carnegie & Jayne Marling


Buxton Fringe

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

Thursday, 16 July 2020

‘The Crooked Spire’ - a Medieval, Murder-Mystery Musical



A story of murder and deception and love set in Chesterfield in the aftermath of a global pandemic!

A developmental reading of a musical in the making, ‘The Crooked Spire’ is a story of murder, mystery, deception and love set in Chesterfield during the 1360 building of St Mary’s Church spire, in the aftermath of a global pandemic! Just a short few years after the Black Death ravaged the country the spire is rising above the tower of the Parish Church.

John Carpenter has come to help build that spire. He finds a friend in a young boy, Walter and falls head over heels for Katherine. But death and intrigue strike the construction site and John is suspected of murder. He is faced with a life and death struggle to clear his name and bring the guilty to justice.

Produced by Ashgate Heritage Arts ‘The Crooked Spire,’ is being presented online for the Buxton Festival Fringe on Friday 17th July and Saturday 18th July 2020 at 7pm. The creators have been collaborating from a distance to write the script, songs and music for this original piece and will also host a Q & A session at 8pm on the 18th to discuss their experience of working collaboratively during lockdown.

Chris Nickson’ novel, The Crooked Spire, has been adapted for the stage by Fringe award-winning writer, Mary Hennessy whose script brings the flavour and character of the story to life. Music and lyrics by Martin Coslett (Ferguson’s Gang, The Perfect City) and Peter Gray (Aliens in 6F, Mr Boltin and the Temple of Doom.) Martin and Peter’s music and songs blend traditional folk melodies with contemporary harmonies and rhythms to set your feet tapping.

A cast of professional actors and singers have been “filmed” for this unique production.


Buxton Fringe

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

Wednesday, 15 July 2020

Alice Goes Elsewhere


With theatres closed and social distancing still very much the order of the day, this year’s Buxton Fringe is largely taking place online. However, Buxton Drama League were ahead of the game in that they had already entered Alice Goes Elsewhere, a purely online play for this year’s Fringe. So when we had to revisit every single thing in the programme to see what could be made Covid proof, we had this single entry that didn’t require any revision!

Alice Goes Elsewhere is a musical fantasy written and produced by Will Blake. It tells the story of Alice, a creative and talented girl facing the challenges of modern life by entering a fantasy world populated by larger-than-life characters.

Will, who has been making music his whole life, previously worked in mental health, which informed the theme of this play, with its central character being on the Asperger’s/Autism spectrum. ‘Alice has a capacity for bluntness and obsessional traits, but remains engaging and good company.’

The play features a range of songs which range in style from country to 80s synth-pop, so musically there’s something for everyone. Will adds: ‘I wanted a setting where I could have lots of different musical styles from various decades, that were integrated into the story in the same way as in a musical. The alternative reality idea – loosely inspired on Lewis Carroll – seemed to make this easier.’

Will joined Buxton Drama League a few years ago, and has provided soundscapes for their productions including Enlightenment and Dracula, has exploited the talents of the group’s members – especially actress/singer Megan Davies (who plays Alice) – to create a memorable and captivating drama.

Alice Goes Elsewhere is available to download and listen to now at www.alicegoeselsewhere.com or via the Buxton Fringe website.

And look out for Buxton Drama League's other entry to the Fringe, the ever popular Shakespeare Jukebox!


Buxton Fringe

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

Monday, 13 July 2020

Phone@5 - Go on, treat yourself, you're worth it!



So Covid 19 really messed up my birthday this year, a milestone birthday at that, yes I was going to be 30 (ish). The plan had been a group of friends, Portugal, sun, wine, delicious fresh fish. Reality was a somewhat chilly and damp day in Buxton.  There were some great bits; a lovely walk, flowers from friends and family,  lots of cards (my husband even remembered) and a glass (or two) of champagne.

But the one thing that made this milestone unique was my contacting Steph @buxtonfringe to book a phone at 5 call. I'm a big opera fan and having listened to Stephs interview on BBC Radio Sheffield talking about the Phone@5 idea I thought why not?

Bang on the dot of 5pm the phone rang, Tora from Poperasops wished me a happy birthday and asked how my day had been. She then sang me a wonderful aria that made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.

Besides the song what I loved most was the chance to talk to Tora and to whoop down the phone and let her know how much I had enjoyed it.

Tora told me how much she was enjoying making the Phone@5 calls as a chance to talk to the audience, and was delighted at what a clever idea it was. I'm sure this must be the case for all our Phone@5 artists.

You don't have to choose opera of course, there are other musical choices, as well as comedy, poetry and stories. Call Steph to find out more on 01298 79351. Its not too late, Phone@5 is available till 17th July.

So go on treat yourself and support our wonderful performers at the same time - it doesn't have to be your birthday, you're worth it!

Carole Garner

Buxton Fringe

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

Sunday, 12 July 2020

The hills are alive with the sound of music - and lions…

Peak Voices

One question mark surrounding this year’s mainly online Buxton Fringe was whether it would manage to have a sense of place.

Interestingly, a combination of our performers’ love of the local area, plus a feeling that the great outdoors is a safer option for us all in this Covid year, has meant that a good number of our shows have been filmed using the Peak District as a fabulous backdrop.

Clearly they are onto something; Peak Voices has had nearly 200 views of its video in which their wonderful singers perform big musical numbers while socially distanced from each other in beautiful green fields with sheep as their only audience. With a full orchestral soundtrack, the effect is quite surreal!

Comedian Andy Quirk introduces his engaging musical parodies from the middle of a wood in a quite personal show that takes his move from London to a new life in the Peak District as its theme. Meanwhile the three witches from Macbeth (complete with inquisitive dog) can be seen at a very familiar reservoir as part of The  Shakespeare Jukebox’s locally filmed daily scenes. A different kind of jukebox - The Landscape Jukebox - urges you to engage both heart and mind as you select from a number of landscape scenes released in batches from July 11th.

One of the Fringe’s rare live events, The Lion and Albert (and Friends) is Zoomed to us from the heart of the Peak District - next show Wednesday 15th.  Performer Lewis Hancock places himself under a tree and with one of those stone walls we do so well round here just behind him - watch the trailer here. Again, it feels slightly surreal for him to be talking about a zoo in Blackpool from this rural idyll. Then again, the Peak District is the kind of landscape that wants to give you a warm embrace, much like Marriott Edgar’s cheeky poems - even when they do feature a lion that (spoiler alert) actually eats someone!

I’m still working my way through the Fringe’s delicious repertoire of some 100 shows. Have you seen any other shows with Peak District locations? Why not let us know?

Stephanie Billen

Buxton Fringe

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

Saturday, 11 July 2020

Geoff Robb - The Music of Trees


The Music of Trees is a unique show that blends virtuoso guitar music inspired by nature with tree stories and folklore, written and performed by guitarist Geoff Robb who blends his training in classical and jazz guitar with his love of Spanish and Celtic music.

Geoff has spent the past 18 months researching trees and spending time in our ancient woodlands, writing the music for the show. Each piece of music is inspired by a different tree and Geoff has tried to capture the essence of the tree and portray this through his guitar.  

Geoff Robb has performed at venues including Buckingham Palace, The Houses of Parliament and Glastonbury Festival and was the Winner of the 2018 Brighton Fringe Live Music Award. He was due to be performing live for the 1st time at this year’s Buxton Fringe as well as a summer tour of 40 dates ending at the Edinburgh Fringe.

The good news is you can watch this unique show for free via a live stream from his home in Sussex this Sunday at 7pm via this link: https://geoffrobb.com/buxton-festival-fringe/ 


Buxton Fringe

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

Friday, 10 July 2020

Binge Fringing or Fringe Binging?



So I think I've started a new thing. We all know about binge eating, binge watching box sets, binge drinking and of course binge streaming The Crown on Netflix (or maybe that one's just me).

Well I'm now Binge Fringing. To help you work out if you are also a Binge Fringer here are (some) of the symptoms;
  • Streaming events from the Buxton on line fringe, constantly.
  • Jumping from genre to genre
  • Watching at least two different events at the same time on two different devices
  • Wearing orange at all times
  • Posting links of events to all your friends and family, (even auntie Carrie who's 92) at midnight
  • Not listening to anyone in the actual room with you
  • Surrounding yourself with "healthy" snacks  to keep your energy levels up (in my case chocolate hobnobs)
  • Taking up position on the sofa after breakfast and not moving till dinner time.
  • Getting the jitters at the idea of waiting for a new event to be posted.
  • Flicking feverishly through the what's on section to see what you've missed.
If any of these sound familiar don't worry, I have the cure.

Take a deep breath, repeat out loud "its on till 19th July I have lots of time" make yourself a nice cup of tea, login to buxtonfringe.org.uk and sign up for the online planner. This will make sure you don't miss your must see's while still having a real life.

For those still Binge Fringing after 19th July there's always 2021 or think about becoming a volunteer and join us, see you on the Orange side.

Carole Garner

Buxton Fringe

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

What to do with the kids?

Stephanie's fab Make your own Museum!


This is the last week of term for children, and all that parents exhausted by home schooling have to look forward to are another six weeks of keeping the kids entertained! You may be looking for new ways to occupy them, and luckily the Buxton Fringe has some online Children's Events that do just the job.

Children are invited to use their imaginations to create the castle Buxton has never had in Creeping Toad’s online workshop in conjunction with Buxton Museum, Lost Castles - indeed there is an excellent castle created in this online workshop here at Fringe Towers. The same team is also offering a series of activities to help children to create their own display cabinets, turning their prized collections into miniature museums. A series of activities will help you make display boxes, prepare your own Cabinets of Curiosity and create guidebooks to show people round your wonders

An exclusive YouTube miniseries follows Curly the Clown at home in lockdown. Watch Curly tackle breakfast, painting, board games, gardening and more. A little treat for lovers of clowning every day, and you may learn a useful tip on how to make toast!

Families will also enjoy sitting down to see The Red Balloon, Lucky Dog’s take on the classic 1956 short film, judged ‘outstanding’ in its Fringe review last year and now available online.

Fun is never far away from the minds of Buxton Fringe organisers and a new Fringe & Community category features Fringe jigsaws and crosswords as well as a chance to revisit glorious Fringe Sundays past and last year’s spectacular Fringe 40 exhibition via online links. 


Buxton Fringe

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

Wednesday, 8 July 2020

Through the Window

Pam Smart at Green Pavilion Cafe

Staring out of the window wistfully has become all too familiar as an activity during lockdown but it is good to see that some Fringe entrants have turned that on its head by using windows as a lively means of communication and expression.

Buxton artist Pam Smart has an online exhibition - Buxton, Bangkok, Bollywood and Beyond! - at the Fringe but also spotted the opportunity to have a physical presence courtesy of the Green Pavilion cafe window. There is a nice synergy about the fact that you can enjoy her colourful, pattern-driven paintings inspired by Buxton’s buildings and architecture whilst also being not a million miles away from the artist’s actual subjects.

Trail blazers ACE Art quickly realised that exhibiting in the window of Hargreaves, rather than inside, was going to be less complicated in these Covid times and a great way of making the art accessible to all. Break Your Stride is a lively selection of animal, landscape and seascape paintings by members of Buxton Adult Community Education art classes (full disclosure, I’m one of them!) with bonus pictures on the web listing’s Gallery link.

Buxton needs some brightening up and artist Lindsey Piper has devised a trail of 25 bright yellow Smiles adorning many a window in Buxton in both shops and private residences. Not all are central; you may find one in your street! Email Lindsey (oshinoo@outlook.com) with the locations of all 25 Smiles and be placed in a draw at the end of August to win your own Smile!

Art is nothing if not inspirational and there is an opportunity here for us all to start painting the town orange with Fringe-related homemade bunting and festive window displays to make us all feel more cheerful. And with many shops now open for business, colourful windows might just tempt us inside too.

Buxton Fringe

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

Two Left Hands - Heart of the Community

Two of the panels at the Train Station


The third panel is at the Green Man Gallery

In the absence of the traditional Well Dressing Festival this year, Two Left Hands have created an Alternative Well Dressing Trail, fabric panels created by local people and community groups have been stitched into three huge, banner-style hangings. Two have been hung at Buxton Station (beside the iconic fanlight window) and one at The Green Man Gallery.

The theme was Heart of the Community and all the individual panels are made by people across the town between the ages of 2 and 73. The total area of the panels is over 20 sq. metres.

Read more about in our review, and do get out and see these panels, they are a fantastic achievement.


Buxton Fringe

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

Tuesday, 7 July 2020

Sheridan Shacklethwaite's Stalactites Secrets

Sheridan and Susie
Sheridan and Susie


Sheffield Live Radio presenter Sheridan Shacklethwaite will be leading a tour of Poole’s Cavern as part of this year’s Buxton Fringe (July 1-19) – but this year you can enjoy it from the comfort of your own home!

Sheridan Shacklethwaite’s Stalactites Secrets is a brand new online tour of Poole’s Cavern, which will be available to view on YouTube throughout the fringe.

Sheridan presents a weekly show on Sheffield Live Radio called the Susie and Sheridan Show. “Since we can’t go to the fringe this year,” says Sheridan, “we thought we’d bring the fringe to you. The tour lasts 12 and a half minutes, so why not put your feet up and join us for a cuppa?”

Poole’s Cavern in Buxton is a natural limestone cave, believed to be over two million years old, with spectacular geological formation. It is known as one of the wonders of the Peak.

“Poole’s Cavern is truly spectacular,’ says Sheridan. “Since we can’t visit the real thing, we hope you’ll join us on this light-hearted, thoroughly researched, entirely made up online tour!”

Sheridan Shacklethwaite’s Stalactites Secrets is free to view and donations are gratefully received.
 

Buxton Fringe

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

Monday, 6 July 2020

The online Fringe, how is it for you?


The long awaited Buxton online Fringe 2020 is live!  Four days into the Fringe I've enjoyed folk, opera, theatre, comedy, art and street theatre. I've been jumping seamlessly from genre to genre and artist to artist, sometimes while cooking dinner or watching TV or (pretending) to listen to my partner.

For me this is the great thing about the online nature of this years fringe. You can dip in and out of as many events as you like and re-watch your favourites.  Another plus is trying out new things you weren't brave enough to go to last year. All without leaving home. No need to worry about the weather or booking tickets. No tricky negotiations about who wants to see what with your friends and family. No time tabling to avoid double booking or running from venue to venue. No chance of being selected for 'audience participation'.

And the quality and creativity of what's available is amazing. Our performers have all risen to the covid 19 challenge wonderfully.

But what about any negatives? I miss the atmosphere of a live gig and the chance to interact with other members of the audience or the performer. Or being able to get up close to a piece of art. And to show my appreciation for taking me to another place or giving me a laugh.

And what's it like for the performers, without live interaction and feedback from the audience? Just liking them on Facebook or Twitter surely isn't the same as hearing us laugh or applaud.  I wish the internet let us broadcast our laughs, gasps, cheers, claps and whoops of approval to the artists.

On a more serious note many of our performers have been hit financially by Corvid 19, some indicate that they would be grateful for donations, please do give if you are able to.

The Fringe is a wonderful event and next year I'm going to make twice as much noise to show how much I appreciate their efforts not just for 2021 but for this year too.

In the meantime I just want to say a huge huge thank you and well done to each and everyone of our 100 entrants. Brilliant!

Carole Garner

Buxton Fringe

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

Sunday, 5 July 2020

Anne Goodwin is Becoming Someone


Anne Goodwin reads from Becoming Someone
Mansfield author Anne Goodwin loves meeting readers at summer book fairs, book clubs and bookshop signing sessions, but this year’s pandemic has put live events on hold. So she turned to social media, posting readings on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, her website and blog. But she hadn’t considered virtual festivals until a fellow volunteer from the Peak District National Park got in touch. Before long, Anne had a slot in the prestigious Buxton Festival Fringe, one of the country’s largest open access arts festivals.

Anne’s drop-in online session is on the theme of identity and fiction and runs throughout the Festival from 1st to 19th July. It includes readings from her short story collection, Becoming Someone, and a literary quiz. “People can listen at their leisure,” said Anne, “or challenge friends and family to identify the quotations from classical and contemporary novels in my quiz. I’m particularly excited about the third strand of my event when I’m hosting my first ever live virtual book group on 16th July.”

But Anne didn’t stop there. “Planning my session for the Fringe changed my mind about the cancellation of large gatherings,” said Anne. “I realised it opened new doors as it closed others. Like many authors, I have a network of fellow writers from around the world I’m unlikely to ever meet face-to-face. Covid provided the opportunity to invite someone to work with me here in the East Midlands.”

With less than a week until the start of the Festival on 1st July, Anne contacted a colleague in Michigan USA. Charli Mills has built an international community of writers to craft weekly flash fiction in response to a prompt posted online. “As an experienced workshop leader and advocate for literary art, I knew Charli had the skills and can-do attitude to rise to the challenge,” said Anne. “But it’s uncharted territory for both of us. Although familiar with each other’s writing, we’ve never co-hosted a live event.”

Their event, The art of the 99-word story, consists of an online tutorial and an invitation to join a Zoom get-together to celebrate the results at 5pm on 17th July. It’s free to take part and suitable for both experienced writers and those who have never written creatively before. “Anyone can write 99-word stories,” says Charli. “Go where the prompt leads! You can write in any genre, any style. It can be funny, sad, romantic, or weird.”

Both of these events can be accessed online throughout the Fringe from 1st to 19th July 2020. The virtual book group takes place on 16th July and the flash fiction readings on 17th July. You can register for these sessions up to the day before.


Buxton Fringe

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

Saturday, 4 July 2020

Buxton Fringe on the Crisis in the Entertainment Industry

Fringe bunting with the Opera House in the background (credit: Dave Upcott)

While our mainly online Buxton Fringe has got off to a great start, we’ve been deeply saddened to learn of the redundancies announced this week in the Theatre industry. 65% of staff at the Royal Exchange Theatre just up the road in Manchester and all Front of House staff at the National Theatre in London are to lose their jobs.

It is a devastating blow, to those that will lose their livelihoods and to the theatre and wider entertainment industry.

We’ve seen this year that while we have an incredible 100 entries this year, that is half of what we had last year, and all of last year’s shows were happening in real life. That is a lot of artists and performers unable to work this year, and alongside them, the directors, producers, designers, technical and venue staff that all get some income and experience at Buxton Fringe.

We are aware of our place in the entertainment ecosystem, and very happy with it. Fringes like Buxton offer a place for new and emerging artists to take their first steps in the industry, and to hone their craft in front of friendly and appreciative audiences. Our Fringe is also at the centre of Buxton’s cultural life, it’s a place for local artists and performers to showcase their work, and for youngsters to have a chance to perform outside the school environment for the first time. We offer work experience to many kids on our Fringe Desk and many young people also gain wonderful experience working at Underground Venues, and other venues around the town.

We are now struggling to offer those opportunities, musicians, comedians and performers of all kinds join those in the theatre at being unable to work, and now, even the biggest most important organisations in our industry are laying off vast numbers of employees. The Buxton Opera House remains closed, and an industry of which the UK can genuinely claim to be a world leader is in danger of collapse.

And this is not just a financial and jobs consideration, culture gives us a sense of ourselves, it enriches individual lives and the national conversation. What is our country without it?

We stand in solidarity with everyone in the industry who is struggling at the moment, but let us do more.
  • If you are able, please donate to any performers who offer that option.
  • Beyond the Fringe, donate to the cultural organisations that are struggling.
  • Get active. Write to your MP and sign petitions (there's one here). Our local MP in the High Peak, Robert Largan, has written to the Culture Secretary on this issue, we thank him for this, and encourage him to continue to hold the government to account on this.
Let’s keep our theatres and performance venues open, and support everyone in the entertainment and culture industry.

Stephen Walker
Chair
Buxton Fringe

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

Friday, 3 July 2020

Friday Night is Comedy Night






In a normal Fringe, which by now I think we have accepted the 2020 edition of Buxton Fringe is certainly not, Friday night was crammed full of comedy offerings, often at Underground Venues, and culminating in the always sold-out Barrel of Laughs.

But fear not, your laughter muscles can still get a work-out online. Underground may not be with us this year but Tom Crawshaw and Yacein al Shaater have teamed up with their old mucker, Michael Grady Hall in Three’s Company’s Adventure Department for their new serious theatre podcast (really?). Apparently things go a little awry in the first episode and they end up meeting a wizard on a magical island (sounds more like it). It’s even got star names like Les Dennis, Caroline Quentin, Rufus Hound and the great Youssef Kerkour from Channel 4's Home. It starts tonight (Friday 3rd July) at 7pm, with the first two episodes and the promise of more to come, but you an catch up at any time.

It is not always so clear where this year’s Fringe comedians are broadcasting from. Red Shed Readings presents Radio Free Kinsley, based in a bunker somewhere and presenting a high-pitched campaign for producing green-house vegetables with a guest appearance from possibly the biggest star on the Fringe this year, Orville the Duck!

Also tucked away, DNA scientist, Helen, is writing her PhD and invites you Inside the Labcoat to join her self-isolation, possibly in Cambridge, where she has yet to be asked to become a spy, or so she says. She invites you into her world of underconfident lifts, quirky buildings, and unconventional friends. She does this, in an attempt to prove that scientists are perfectly normal…honest!

There’s also plenty of comedy with a uniquely local flavour. Andy Quirk’s Parodies From the Peak District has been attracting a lot of early attention and features musical parodies capturing his experience of moving to the area and with subtitles so that people can sing along.

Later in the Fringe, Richard Pulsford hosts It Just So Happened, an alternative history panel show with stand-up sets based on Buxton’s local history and events that happened on the same day in history (it’ll be on July 18).

Sheridan Shacklethwaite’s Stalactites Secrets is a thoroughly researched, if entirely made up, virtual tour of Buxton’s Poole’s Cavern.

Deluded poetry teacher Andy Gilbert meanwhile invites Fringe-goers to join in a quirky lockdown poetry lesson with references to his hometown of Tamworth as well as Buxton.

Some performers are in confessional mode. Australian comedian Stew Walker, who made his sold-out debut season at the 2019 Melbourne International Comedy Festival, shares his musical quest to treat his sleep apnoea and bungalow blues.

It is good to see the return of popular Fringe regulars. The acclaimed Lucky Dog Theatre Productions presents The Laurel and Hardy Cabaret while madcap Mike Raffone offers a rip-roaring, highly interactive session of Lockdown Bingo live-streamed via Facebook every Wednesday night. You'll certainly need to participate and that requires a bit of preparation. There's a need to choose yourself 24 numbers beforehand and lay them out in a particular way on your very own Bingo Card, so check out the full details in advance.
Buxton Fringe

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

Thursday, 2 July 2020

Will You Take Floella Under Your Wing?

Floella outside Hawkshead on Spring Gardens
We came across Floella in town yesterday. She has taken up residence outside Hawkshead for the duration of the Fringe. She is really colourful and will look at you when you walk past.

We found out that Floella has been self-isolating and is very miserable because she is missing all her friends. She is very happy to be part of the Buxton Fringe's Sculpture Trail and to watch people walking by in Spring Gardens. She would be even happier if some of the Buxton children could send her poems or little stories to cheer her up. You can write to her at



She has promised that she will reply to all emails. Even if you are not able to send her an email do walk past her and give her a wave.

Tuesday, 30 June 2020

The Shakespeare Jukebox takes to the web for Fringe 2020


Malcolm Lomax


One of our longest running shows, since 2005 The Shakespeare Jukebox has been a fixture of the Buxton Festival Fringe, entertaining crowds with scenes from the Bard’s work, winning an amazing 10 Buxton Fringe awards, and earning thousands in pounds in donations to the Buxton Samaritans.

Maria Carnegie
This year, with the Fringe going online to keep audiences and performers safe, the Jukebox wanted to reach out to their audience in a new way. Maria Carnegie, who has been a mainstay of the Jukebox since 2006 explains: ‘The Jukebox has become something of a Buxton Fringe landmark, so we wanted to make sure we could still take part. So, each day of the 2020 Fringe, from 1 to 19 July, we’ll be posting a different scene from the Bard’s work online, for audiences to enjoy from the safety of their homes.’

Jayne Marling
Maria goes on, ‘Recording the scenes has meant we’ve had to approach them in new ways. The speeches have been relatively straightforward, but we also wanted to include some the Jukebox’s most popular multiple-actor scenes, like the Three Witches from Macbeth and the Rude Mechanicals from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, so a bit of technical wizardry was needed to bring us all together remotely. The beauty of doing the scenes this way is that as well as members of our regular team, we were able to welcome back former Jukebox actors who no longer live in the area.’

The Shakespeare Jukebox will be posting online here, and there is a link to make donations to the Samaritans if you’ve enjoyed the show. Maria continues, ‘This has been a fun exercise, but we aim to be back in the open air performing live in 2021.’


Buxton Fringe

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

Instagram: @buxtonfringe


Sunday, 28 June 2020

Even Further Out... A Fringe of the Fringe!

Image may contain: text
The Fringe of the Fringe!
If an online Fringe is strange enough, well, things are getting even odder with the announcement of the Buxton Fringe of the Fringe 2020, an event running for the full duration of the Buxton Festival Fringe.

This could be a world first: nowhere else can a town boast so many layers of festivals, fringes and fringes of fringes, could even further tiers of fringes come to the town in the future?

Despite billing themselves as “stranger, audaciouser, fringier” the Fringe of the Fringe have nevertheless found themselves humiliated by reality, and nothing could be weirder or more unusual than real life at the moment. As more of the actual Fringe has moved online it is imperative to remember that although this was always the plan for the Fringe of the Fringe, they claim that they in no way begrudge the Fringe stealing their thunder and heaving themselves into their territory.

“The Fringe of the Fringe is all about the best events you won’t see on the Fringe” said a
BFOTF spokesperson, “and, as many people won’t be seeing many events at all this year, this is all the more important. We know that for many performers the most important thing about putting on a great show and entertaining audiences at a Fringe is getting a great review. Well, we’re literally putting this as our top priority.”

A Launch Party will be held on 1 July, and the first exhibitions and performances also start on that date, and more importantly, the reviews of those shows.

Further information can be found at the BFOTF Facebook page @buxtonfringeofthefringe








Buxton Fringe

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


How to Navigate a mainly Online Fringe

Diary page from the Buxton Fringe App

A few days ago I wrote about how we’d come to this point and a Fringe that is mainly, though not entirely, online. Now, it’s time to look forward to what Buxton Fringe will look like this year and how it will differ from every year gone by.

The obvious difference is that we won’t be going out as much to see shows and exhibitions, and that will also impact how we find out about performances or art that we might like, and how we connect with artists, performers and each other. And importantly, it affects how those who create the work can be recompensed for it.

Anyone who knows Buxton Fringe will know how ubiquitous our programmes are, we have a well-oiled machine that gets the programmes out and about and keeps those stocks regularly topped up. But there is no programme this year.

So, as well as most of the Fringe events happening online, how to find out about them will also be online on our trusty website, and on the app (available for Apple and Android) which we introduced last year.

Filter button top right
We appreciate that with most of the events being online, they will be available all day every day, and that could make our diary pages look rather crowded, so there are new filters available to help you to exclude or include events that are online or happening every day. Look out for the filter button on the app (pictured, it looks like three sliding knobs), and the new option buttons on the website’s diary page.

App Home Page
An alternative method is to go straight to the category pages, which will list all the events in each genre (e.g. Music, Theatre, Comedy, Visual Arts etc), links are obvious on the app’s main screen, and on the event descriptions page of the website.

To actually access an online event, click the link(s) provided in the event description.

If you would like to create your own schedule fo the Fringe, you can use My Fringe on the app, or make use of the website planner which now has an option to Synch Your Plan to the app.

Of course with watching at home, or on the move (there are quite a few audio productions), on your phone, tablet, laptop, or even TV screen if it is internet connected or via screen casting, then we don’t get to see each other to talk about the things we’ve enjoyed. So please be active in sharing, whether that’s on social media, or within WhatsApp groups, or emails. You can add comments for each show on the description pages on both the website and app. Let us at the Fringe (social media tags below), and your friends know what is worth catching up on.

Audiences also won’t be able to connect with the artists and performers in the same way. Usually, the beauty of the Fringe is that it is easy to hang around and chat to a performer, or you might run into them in the Fringe Bar upstairs at the Old Clubhouse. The performers are isolated from that kind of feedback, so do leave comments on performances you liked, tag them on social media, or contact them by whatever means they make available.

Let’s all talk plenty this Fringe!

Of course, we are used to buying tickets for shows, and that will be a rarity this year. Many performers will be asking for donations, so if your income is unaffected by the Covid 19 crisis, please consider thinking about what you would normally spend during the Fringe and making a donation. Many people have been hit financially this year though, so if you feel unable to donate, please just enjoy the Fringe and the great entertainment available away from the mainstream. Let’s put away our iPlayer and Netflix for a couple of weeks!

Enjoy Fringe 2020! It will certainly be different...


Stephen Walker
Chair
Buxton Fringe

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

Saturday, 27 June 2020

Famous voices join Buxton Fringe regulars to take their adventures online


Following 16 years of productions on the Buxton Fringe, award-winning theatre company Three’s Company are offering a new comedy podcast for this year’s mainly online coronavirus-proof Buxton Fringe (1-19 July).
The Buxton-born theatre company – Yaz Al-Shaater, Tom Crawshaw and Michael Grady-Hall – first appeared on the Buxton Fringe in 2003. Subsequent years have seen them perform all over the country, including a run at the West End, but have returned to Buxton each summer to produce new work. With the 2020 Buxton Fringe going online, their offering this year is an epic new genre-busting radio comedy in five parts.

They are joined in their online adventures by a host of top actors from previous projects, including some very special guest stars. Listen out for Les Dennis as a bungling wizard, Rufus Hound as a bankrupt space-ranger, Youssef Kerkour as an acerbic butler, and Caroline Quentin as an evil scientist who risks destroying the world.

Three’s Company’s Adventure Department follows the trio’s attempts to record a serious theatre podcast, which is unfortunately interrupted each episode by an urgent adventure. Series 1 sees them rescuing an island from a wicked witch, saving the Queen from aliens, solving a murder mystery, and taking down a film noir crime boss – all before attempting to stop a zombie apocalypse in the dramatic season finale.

Sound good? A trailer is available here.

The laugh-a-minute comedy premieres online on 3 July as part of the Buxton Fringe, with the first two episodes available to download from 7:00pm that evening. Subsequent episodes then follow each fortnight – all completely free.

All episodes can be found at threescompany.uk/adventure so be sure to subscribe and join the adventure!


Buxton Fringe

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