Friday 26 June 2020

The New Volunteer

The verdant (and orange obviously) Fringe Desk (credit: Dave Upcott)

One of our newest commttee members, Carole Garner, has written this lovely blog about her experiences since joining us. Many thanks, Carole! 

If, on reading this, you are interested in helping out, find out more here.

The new Volunteer 

I’d been living in Buxton for 8 months and was looking for opportunities to meet people and make a contribution to my new town. Flicking through Pure Buxton I saw an advert for Fringe volunteers, this sounded good, I’d loved all the Fringe events over the summer. Only problem was I was already busy on the meeting date. 

Had I missed out? Definitely not was the swift answer from Fringe chair Stephen. Why didn’t I go along to the Christmas Carol workshop to chat with some other volunteers? But I can’t sing for toffee was my nervous response. “Never mind nor can I but its great fun!” long standing volunteer Viv assured me. She was right it was and by the end of the workshop I was joining in happily. 

After that I went along to the monthly committee meetings, held in the Cheshire Cheese. I met lots of friendly people who were passionate about Buxton Fringe, many had been involved for years. It was fascinating to listen to the discussion, I’d attended lots of fringe events but never thought about the behind the scenes organisation and planning.  Of course there were other newcomers like me, but unlike me they seemed to have skills or areas of interest that would be useful to “getting the show on the road”.

Don’t worry, both Stephen and Steph assured me, there will be lots to do in the run up to July and you’ll find your role. Over the next couple of months I helped out delivering leaflets, making phone calls and joining a lively group discussion about how to make the Fringe more inclusive. But I still felt I hadn’t quite found my niche.  

Then Covid 19 arrived, lively meetings in pubs and cafes switched to Zoom meetings which sounded like they were at the bottom of a lake. There were debates about what to do, could we save the Fringe and if so how, should we cancel, how could we best protect performers and audiences?

Over the following weeks Edinburgh was cancelled then the Buxton International Festival was cancelled and it became obvious that venues for live events would not be able to operate by July. 

Slowly the idea of the Online Fringe developed and performers came up with creative ideas as the programme took shape.

Last week I helped send badges to participants, so far there are over 80, lots are from Buxton and wider Derbyshire but there are also entries from London, Manchester, Scotland and even Australia!
Our friends and family who were going to stay with us to attend the Fringe will now be streaming from their sofas as will I.  Its not going to be the Fringe that I was expecting but I’m definitely excited to see what’s on and its going to be fun and we can all do with some fun right now.

I’m still not sure what my role in Buxton Fringe 2021 will be but I do know that the Fringe will be back next year better than ever and I’ll be supporting it, having fun with a great bunch of people and contributing  to one of the many things that makes Buxton such a special place to live.

Carole Garner

Buxton Fringe

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Twitter: @buxtonfringe
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