Tuesday 28 May 2013

Programmes, programmes: get your programmes...

I've heard it tell that the Buxton Festival Fringe 2013 programme is available on the streets of Buxton and it is Free! Well not literally "on the streets" of course. Try the Tourist Information Centre, the Library, hotels - e.g. The Old Hall. It is a glorious 52-page riot of colour and information.
Hats off (again not literally) and thanks to our designer - Eric Tilley - who has done an absolutely fab job.

We're having "a bit of a do" formally to launch the programme. This will be on Friday June 7th at The Green Man Gallery. We'll be starting at 8pm. Artist and badge-maker extraordinaire Mr Hope will be host. There will be live music and limited quantities of wine supplied by Portland Wine, a local independent wine seller. Everyone is invited. We hope you'll come and take away quantities of programmes to give to your friends near and far.

I've been asked to let you know of a very handy way of finding out about all sorts of other things going on in the Peak District. Try this link - http://www.visitpeakdistrict.com/events/

Planning has begun in earnest for Fringe Sunday - our spectacular free party in the Park which offers an alternative to watching the men's final at Wimbledon. Sunday, July 7th - 2.00-4.30pm in the Pavilion Gardens, Buxton - the town's 'Crown Jewels' - 23 acres of historic gardens. Already we can promise belly dancing and magic. We're also pretty confident of Morris dancing and Art In The Park and on the Railings (of Broad Walk). If you want to perform during Fringe Sunday please get in touch - we'll be putting a programme together over the next few weeks.

On you way over to the Gardens on July 7th you can take in some live music performed from the roof of the Pump Room in the Crescent. Such deep, deep joy!

Friday 17 May 2013

Brilliant Adventures start here

Pssst... while Keith has nipped out of Fringe Towers to have a coffee, a cigar and get his feet nibbled in those fish tanks I've grabbed control of the blog.

We like to tell people that the Fringe is a great place to see new young talent as it starts to make itself known. We offer the opportunity to see tomorrow's bright young things today. It's also pretty gratifying to us when we can say "hey, we spotted them and knew they were going to be great!" So when we have an example of that, it's nice to shout about it.

On now at the Royal Exchange in Manchester is Brilliant Adventures, a new play by Alistair McDowall, which won the 2011 Bruntwood Prize for playwriting and is getting some great reviews from The Guardian and on BBC Radio 4's Front Row (about 11mins in), where Charlotte Keatley says 'Any really great play breaks stereotypes..this takes them apart'.

Back in 2009, Alistair received the Buxton Fringe Award for New Writing for his play Eighteen Stupid Reasons Why I Love You Lots and Lots which was about a man using his new-found ability to time travel to keep hold of his memories of his girlfriend, it was funny, innovative and touching. I saw it twice, and as I wasn't reviewing that meant I paid both times - that's a pretty good recommendation from me.

Brilliant Adventures also uses time travel, and explores the relationship between science genius Luke and his hard man brother Ben in a near-abandoned Middlesbrough housing estate.

Playwright Simon Stephens (Punk Rock, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time) says "Alistair McDowall is, I think, the most exciting playwright to emerge out of English theatre in the past five years. BRILLIANT ADVENTURES is a bold, touching play."

Definitely looks worth a trip into Manchester, it's on until May 25th.

Monday 13 May 2013

Never Speechless

We have a section in the Fringe called "Spoken Word". As a title this always seems a bit cold to me - and doesn't really do justice to the passion and excitement often to be encountered. Last year, for example, we had a moving selection of TS Eliot's poetry and a few years ago we were in stitches listening to 'Mark Twain'.

If it is drama, excitement - with a hint of madness - that you want then make sure you catch up with Mark Gwynne Jones in this year's Fringe. He is at the Clubhouse on 10th and 17th July (and in Litton Village for the Poetry Festival too). With Mark you can't have too much of a good thing. His show - Just For A Moment - "This is it! All that exists is this moment...plus the 1001 things you've invented to distract you from it! Combining comedy, poetry and film."

In the first four days of the Fringe you can see and hear Palabras Latinas with their show Souvenirs. At a different pub - The Railway - Anamaria Lines and Mike Payton tell stories accompanied by tango and bolero. An intriguing and passionate show is to be expected.

Matlock isn't Buenos Aires - I think it is fair to say. However, with a show called Fire & Ice The Matlock Storytelling Cafe promise to capture our attention. They will be at The Source on 19/20 July. (You can always get yourself down to Matlock on the first Friday of the month. The cake at the cafe is highly regarded!)

On 14-16 July in Underground Venues Jim Higo insists That's Not How You Spell Pedantic. "A poetic, comedic rage through the trivialities and irritations of modern life. A show of biting wit, wry humour, blatant vulgarity and the occasional smidgeon of social conscience. Join Jim in his quest to rid the world of all the things that have ever angered, annoyed or aggravated you."

So far as "Spoken Word" is concerned that's not even the half of it - make sure you check all the entries and plan your Fringe. There are only 50 days to go!

Thursday 9 May 2013

Family Fringing

We hope that there is something in the Fringe for all to enjoy. It also matters that there are things for families to share and enjoy together. In the Fringe programme there is a section of events especially suitable For Families. This is what we have in Fringe 2013:
ABSOLUTE IMPROV STORIES! - To Be Continued... Family Friendly
Come shout out zany ideas... if you're brave enough, maybe you can get on stage too! This interactive improvised story is based entirely on suggestions from the kids - who knows what could happen! Will giant bogies take over? Maybe it will star a wolf dentist - come find out!
Underground Venues: 12 Jul 4:45pm to 5:30pm, 13-14 Jul 11:30am to 12:15pm £8 (Child and Conc £7), Ages All
LIONEL BART'S OLIVER! - Harpur Hill Primary School Family Friendly
Lionel Bart's famous musical Oliver! is back by popular demand following sell-out performances earlier in the Spring. Join us for an excellent evening of fun-filled family entertainment by the students and staff in a musical extravaganza 'that has to be seen to be believed.'
Harpur Hill Primary School, Trent Ave, Buxton, SK17 9LP: 16-17 Jul 6:30pm to 8:15pm £5 (Child £2.50, Conc £2), Ages 6+
Bookings via 01298 23261

PAN-O-RAMA by Tom Crawshaw - REC Youth Theatre Company Family Friendly
Harriet is a child, but has lived among adults all her life. That is, until a strange visitor delivers her invitation to a magical land beyond the sea. Multi-award-winning REC Youth Theatre presents a Peter Pan/Harry Potter/Lord Of The Flies mash-up comedy for all the family. (New Writing)
Arts Centre - Studio: 16 & 18 Jul 7:30pm to 8:30pm, 19-20 Jul 6pm to 7pm £9 (Child £5, Conc £8), Ages All
Bookings via undergroundvenues.co.uk. Bookings (noon-3pm) & info: 02081 440 070. Other prices/discounts available.

RETURN OF THE TINY! PIRATES - stone & water Family Friendly
Fresh from treasure-hunting around the world, the Buxton Pirates are back. Join the stone & water crew to make your own miniature pirate and tiny ship and venture off into Pavilion Gardens looking for Tiny! treasures.
Pavilion Gardens: 6 Jul 2pm to 5pm Free, Ages All
Join Sigurd, the greatest Viking of them all, on an epic adventure! Slaying dragons, capturing gold and conquering a forest of flame - all with his faithful horse by his side. But when a cruel witch's spell betrays his true love, Sigurd faces his toughest challenge yet. (New Writing)
Arts Centre - Studio: 15 Jul 7:30pm to 8:30pm, 16-18 Jul 6pm to 7pm £8 (Child and Conc £7), Ages 9+

The Smiley Face appears against all these events and is used to indicate shows that the entrants think are particularly suitable for children and family groups. You will find plenty of other events on the website - and in the full-colour 54 page printed programme - with the Smiley Face icon attached. We hope this helps everyone choose the events that they think suit them best.

Wednesday 8 May 2013

Fringing for Free

The Buxton Fringe website can do all sorts of clever things - it's 'interactive' so I'm told. One thing it does is to list all the Fringe events that are free to enjoy. Follow the link and you'll find over 30 events that offer free admission to all - or to children.

If you Register as a regular user of the website you'll get the occasional email telling you what is going on in Fringe land - you'll also be able to plan your own Fringe on-line. Put together your own programnme of events and activities making sure that your schedule doesn't overlap and that you see and hear all that you want to.

We have three events in the Street Theatre category this year - and they won't cost you a bean (though donations will be welcome). On Sunday July 7th, around and about the Bandstand in the Pavilion Gardens, will be our annual family party and picnic - Fringe Sunday. From 2.00-4.30pm there will be free entertainment from a range of Fringe performers. Expect magic, bellydancing, music, song and drama! It will also probably be the day that Andy Murray doesn't quite win Wimbledon.

The following Sunday lunchtime (14th at 1.00pm) - on Broad Walk on the south side of the Gardens - the St John Street Theatre Company will be doing  a one-off piece of fun. In I Don't Call That Art pillar of the community Marjorie Mountjoy commissions a piece of public art, she little knows what she has unleashed. A lively farce, mixing satire with unrepentant silliness, and using a host of larger-than-life characters. A popular hit at local festivals in Ashleyhay and Wirksworth.

Our other bit of street theatre is a firm Fringe favourite - the Shakespeare Jukebox. "Join Barrie, Dick, Maria and Paul for one of the Fringe's most popular events - whatever the weather! Pause for ten minutes or stay for the hour and enjoy a selection of the Bard's greatest hits selected by you and performed in our own unique way. Proceeds to charity." Nine Jukeboxes throughout the Fringe on the Buxton Opera House Forecourt: 5-7, 11-12 & 17-20 July 6pm to 7pm.

Tuesday 7 May 2013

Dance & Film at Fringe 2013

Dance and Film are always among the smaller categories at the Fringe - a shame, but a fact. So it is easy and quick to preview the 5 events we have for these catgories this year.

We kick off on July 4th with the award-winning film Beasts of the Southern Wild. This is screening at the Whaley Bridge Mechanics Institute - about 8 miles north of Buxton. We have a number of events outside Buxton - notably in Litton this year. Whaley Bridge has a regular community cinema - one of half a dozen or so in the High Peak. Beasts of the Souther Wild was one of the most discussed films of 2012 and was prompted in part by the devastation of New Orleans by Hurrican Katrina in 2005.

The other film event is Buxton Film's annual short film competition - the winning films from entries to the 5th Open Shorts are being screened at the Pavilion Arts Centre Studio on Saturday July 6th from 8-9.30pm. Entries haven't closed yet - and judging doesn't take place for another month - so we can't tell you what is on offer, but expect 90 minutes of challenging, provocative, witty and informative films from young (and not so young) filmmakers.

There are three dance shows. First up is A Rose By Another Name - being performed on July 12th & 14th at the United Reformed Church. A take on Romeo & Juliet Brick Wall Ensemble promise to challenge homophobia in a fresh adaptation. Brick Wall Ensemble is made up by former students from the University of Huddersfield and this is their first touring production.

The Nottingham-based Green Robin Dance Company are at the URC from 19-21 July with a piece called The People Next Door. You are invited into the home of Georgie, Hayley and Conrad - three people living together, in relative peace. Discover their personal memories, secrets and experiences. Watch their stories unfold and compare them to your own, perhaps over a cuppa, as you are welcomed into their family home.

Finally, for now, on the final Saturday of this year's Fringe - July 20th - there will be Morris Dancing all around the town from around 10am right through to 5pm. Favourite venues include the bottom of the Slopes, at the end of Broad Walk, outside the Opera House and on the Promenade in the Pavilion Gardens. There will be 10 different sides dancing - displaying the full-range of Morris Dancing traditions. And it is free - but please give generously if you see a bucket being shaken.

Thursday 2 May 2013

International Performers [Part Deux]

Yesterday we highlighted some of the performers who'll be travelling to Buxton from other continents - so what about the Europenas who'll be with us (incontinent so-to-speak)?

In March Buxton's Club Acoustic was pleased to host a special gig headlined by Elrieke & Poldy - two singers/musicians from Holland. They went down a storm and they're back in Buxton in July (and possibly again in August at Beltane). During the Fringe they'll be at Underground Venues - doing four shows A Touch of the Dutch.

As part of the theatre programme - and performing in the Arts Centre Studio space - is a French company, La Petite Famille. Their musical play is called Tomorrow's Dawn and is described as "An original work by a young, fresh and sparkling French company. Lively, funny, sensitive, sometimes delirious, this musical is about love and friendship. It also explores inter-generational relationships. A kind of immersion into the heart of today's youth, in all its complexity." La Petite Famille are here from 8-10 July.

Finally, for now, is a homecoming of sorts. Steve Bellwood lives in the States now but grew up in Yorkshire. Part of the Spoken Word programme Steve is 'Intelligent, articulate, unique, hilarious.' (California Rogue). A seasoned stand-up story-teller, Steve revives his North country roots. A lively narrative and imaginative musings on mortality and time-travel, inspired by the recent passing of his Yorkshireman father.
Steve will be at Underground Venues during the last week of the Fringe.

Wednesday 1 May 2013

An International Festival Fringe for 2013

We're always delighted to welcome people to Buxton for the Fringe. We get many visitors from the UK and each and every one will - we hope - leave with happy memories, looking forward to returning.

For Fringe 2013 we have a number of performers who will be making longer journies to take part. On the Comedy front we shall see and hear Daliso Chaponda from Africa. Now Africa is a big and diverse place so let's pin Daliso down a bit - he comes from Malawi but began his comedy career with appearances in Canada in a show called "Feed This Black Man". Anyway he's appearing at Underground Venues and doing 4 shows - he promises to be a contender!

Africa Entsha are all over Fringe 2013 - appearing on the Pump House Roof, St Peter's Fairfield and at St John's Church. So it will be hard to miss these guys - and there is no reason to want to miss them. They are here - from Soweto - for a short British tour. When they played in London it was reported that they freely blend western pop elements of the male vocal harmony tradition into their performance, making for a diverse set which draws on the vibrancy of 1950s doo-wop, the all-singing, all-dancing presentation of the 1960s soul groups and the more saccharine tendencies of the modern R&B outfits as much as the soft, healing invocations and exhilarating spirit of their own tribal cultures.

From Brazil we'll be welcoming pianist Emma Souza Lima - follow the link for a clip of her playing. She is playing at the Methodist Church on July 18th - so don't miss the chance to hear her.

Also from Brazil is Ana Maria Lines who is perfroming with Mike Payton in a show called "Souvenirs" which combines story, music and dance. They will be performing at The Railway on the first four nights of the Fringe - 3-6 July - so get yourselves organsied!

We'll have a look at some other international performers tomorrow!