Tuesday 27 June 2017

Buxton 'Pumps It Up' for World Fringe Day

Buxton Festival Fringe will join fringe festivals across the globe on Tuesday July 11th to celebrate the inaugural World Fringe Day. Buxton’s own event – “Pump It Up!” – will also be the first chance for many to see one of the town’s great old buildings re-opened.

2017 marks 70 years since the birth of the fringe concept, with the founding of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 1947. The spark that was ignited in Edinburgh has circled the globe and there are now more than 200 fringes worldwide – and Buxton Festival Fringe, which began in 1980, is one of the oldest. This year’s Buxton Fringe runs from July 5-23 and World Fringe Day will be marked with 12 hours of events in Buxton’s historic Pump Room.

Keith Savage, from Buxton Fringe, said: “World Fringe Day is a fantastic opportunity for people to come together and celebrate all that is great about fringe. Fringes come in many different shapes and sizes but are united in their dedication to providing platforms for artists to bring their work to new audiences, allowing them to share their ideas and develop their skills. We can’t wait to join with our sister fringes for a very special day of worldwide fringe fun.

“We are especially excited to be able to tie this in with an important phase of Buxton’s re-development and the restoration of the Crescent and Pump Room. The Pump Room which will opening as a Visitor Experience in 2019 and run by the Buxton Crescent & Thermal Spa Heritage Trust, will be hosting events for World Fringe Day. We will be putting together a rich and varied programme of events including music, theatre, visual arts and spoken word from 10am till 10pm."

Liz Mackenzie – Engagement and Events Manager for the Buxton Crescent & Thermal Spa Heritage Trust– said: " We are thrilled to be part of World Fringe Day. Buxton Fringe has been so important for the town's cultural scene for many years and we look forward to working with the Fringe during the next exciting phase of the Pump Room and Crescent's history".

Full details of “Pump It Up!” will be published on the Fringe website shortly –

Buxton Fringe

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

Losing some, winning one

Photo: Harold White Collection

It is in the nature of Festivals like ours that there will always be late changes to the programme originally announced. Sometimes shows get cancelled; sometimes shows are added late on.
See this page for our Fringe updates:
So far, this year, three shows have had to be cancelled: South African Voices; South African Gumboot Dance; and Tomorrow is Your Hope.

On the plus side we are pleased to announce a new show - On Behalf of the People which is presented by The Melting Shop who tell us that:

‘On Behalf of The People’ is a rich, engaging story of a post-war mining family coming to terms with their rapidly changing world and lives, commissioned by the National Coal Mining Museum. We follow miner George Mason and his wife Connie, parents to their returning solider son Tom, and his fiancée Liz, from the immediate aftermath of the war through the enormous social and political changes over the next few years which has a direct effect on them, their relationships and community.

The play has been created as part of the National Coal Mining Museum’s exhibition and activities marking 70 years since the nationalisation of the UK coal mining industry in 1947, and is a new and unique way of spreading the word of untold coal mining stories. The National Coal Mining Museum seeks to build their reputation by commissioning exclusive arts and culture events which will engage people in the history of coal mining and its stories.

The play, written by Ray Castleton, is based on his extensive research and the true stories of those who lived through the period. Through the Mason family ‘On Behalf of The People’ reveals how millions of people in mining communities in this country were affected by the end of the war, coal nationalisation and the huge period of social change which impacted on their lives, love, hopes and dreams. The play is laced with dry, northern humour and a sense of realism and seeks to keep stories of coal mining alive through all generations.

‘On Behalf of The People’ will tour in venues across Yorkshire and Derbyshire during July. Performances will be staged in a mix of spaces starting at the National Coal Mining Museum, Wakefield on 7th – 9th July and then moving onto a variety of village halls, social clubs, community centres and some established theatre venues.

Speaking about writing and researching the play, Ray Castleton said: “When I was asked to write a play about the nationalisation of the mining industry I knew it had to be about the people not the politics. To understand our history, it’s best to reveal it through the eyes and lives of those it affected the most – the workers and their families. Some of the content of the play is based on my own family’s true stories and also those of former miners who lived through the period and their sons and daughters.”

Commenting on the commission Mike Benson, Museum Director at the National Coal Mining Museum, said: “We are delighted to team up with The Melting Shop and Ray Castleton to produce a new piece of theatre which helps to tell the story of the human impact of the nationalisation of the mining industry on the lives of those it affected the most – the miners and their families. This play is part of our wider activity to engage with arts companies to perform their work at the museum and beyond to tell stories that connect us to our industrial past and future.”
‘On Behalf of The People’ is directed by Charlie Kenber, former resident assistant director, and director at Crucible Studio. The cast includes Sheffield-based actors Ray Ashcroft as George, who many will remember from his TV role in The Bill, and Kate Wood a well-known theatre performer with credits including a national tour of The Full Monty and Brassed Off at Derby Playhouse. Tom will be played by Adam Horvath from Derby and Doncaster’s Lizzie Frain will play Liz.

There is a single performance, at the United Reformed Church on July 19th at 7.30pm.

Buxton Fringe

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

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: EdisonIsALie.com

Buxton Fringe

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

Website: www.buxtonfringe.org.uk
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

Website: www.buxtonfringe.org.uk
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: www.richardnavarro.co.uk/information-for-singers

Buxton Fringe

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