Wednesday 1st to Sunday 19th July 2020
The biggest open-access Fringe between Brighton and Edinburgh, Buxton Fringe hosts some 600 events with music, theatre, comedy, spoken word, dance, film, children's events, street theatre, visual arts and more.
www.buxtonfringe.org.uk Facebook.com/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.
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!
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.