Tuesday 30 November 2021

Artists! The Fringe needs you!

I used to love art at school and I am amazed and impressed how some people have the skill to capture a scene or a mood with just a few strokes of a pencil or make a sculpture out of a piece of wood or transform a hank of felt into something beautiful.

My childhood enjoyment of painting has developed into a love of visiting galleries, exhibitions, art fairs and even art shops where I love reading the names of the colours and holding the pencils. Whenever we go on holiday a visit to a local gallery or studio is always top of our list.  We love finding unique pieces that remind us of our trips, even if it is just a postcard. Mind you we don't always agree and some heated debates have taken place!

So I'm very excited that the Fringe has launched a competition to design the programme cover for the 2022 festival. Local artists and enthusiasts (professional and amateur)  are being asked to come up with designs that portray the spirit of the Fringe in their own personal style.

There are just a few rules and some hints on what the committee would like to see but mostly its up to the artist.  "We don't want to stifle creativity; we are really keen to see what ideas people will come up with", Steph Billen Fringe Marketing Officer told me. "We are lucky to have lots of artists and art groups locally so we are hoping for a good response" she added.

I can't wait to see the entries; how do artists perceive the Fringe and how will they convey that?  What medium will they choose? Will their work be abstract or traditional? 

The closing date is 10th January 2022, and as well as seeing their design in print the lucky winner will receive £100 prize! 

Now where did I put my tin of Smartie Orange paint?

For full details on how to enter see https://www.buxtonfringe.org.uk/artcompetition2022.html

Carole Garner
Buxton Fringe

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

Sunday 7 November 2021

Everyone needs friends and Fringe Friends are the best!

Picture credit Ian J. Parkes

Like lots of small local charities, the Fringe relies on the generous support of our Friends.  The last 18 months have been difficult for everyone. With theatres and venues closed, the arts were very hard hit.  With no live performances and no income from entry fees, the Fringe was especially grateful to our Friends for standing by us.

We are fortunate to have a loyal group of over 170 Friends. Some have been Fringe Friends for years and some have only joined recently. Many are local but we also have friends in Scotland, Yorkshire and London.

We really missed seeing our Friends in 2020 - although our zoom catch up with Friends was good I think you'll agree its just not the same as meeting in person.

We were lucky that we were able to put on a successful Fringe this Summer, albeit with limitations;  it was not possible to hold our usual Launch Party, Fringe Sunday had to be cancelled and the Awards Event had to be scaled down although everybody really enjoyed the chance to get together in the open air in the beautiful setting of the Serpentine Community Garden.

Thankfully things are slowly getting back to normal (whatever that may mean). We are planning to hold a face-to-face  AGM on November 17th and hopefully our usual Christmas party - news on this to follow!  We can't wait to see all our old Friends and catch up on their news.

We are also keen to make new Friends. So if you know anyone who likes music, theatre, comedy and art then point them in our direction.

Alternatively a Friends subscription would make a great gift! Benefits include invites to exclusive events, getting the scoop on what's on, reductions in ticket prices and the (orange) glow of supporting a worthwhile cause, all for just £10 per year.

If you want to know more go to https://www.buxtonfringe.org.uk/fringefriends.html or join up at the AGM or Christmas party.

So a huge Fringe thank you to all our Friends, past, present and future.

Carole Garner

Wednesday 28 July 2021

It's a Wrap! Fringe Awards Ceremony 2021 Chair's Speech

Fringe chair Stephen Walker (credit: Ian J. Parkes)

The Fringe has come to an end, we have held our Awards Ceremony, packed up the Fringe Desk, and all gone for a well-deserved rest.

The awards and nominations are published, and the Chair's speech from Sunday is reproduced as follows:

Three weeks of fabulous Theatre and Art, Comedy and Music, and it all culminates in a speech by me. You deserve better.

One of the things I have been asked most this Fringe, and I guess it would be the same in any Fringe, is “How’s it going?”. My answer has been, “Well, it’s going, and I’m just happy that we have achieved that”.

But while I am delighted that we have been able to go ahead after 18 months of COVID (that’s going to be my only use of the C word), and that we have reached the end of the Fringe without major incident, which is something for us all to be very proud of, we have, or should I say, the performers have made this an excellent Fringe. Given the difficulties of getting together to rehearse and prepare shows, let alone finding anywhere to put them on, the quality of work on offer at this Fringe has been wonderful. We will recognise that in the awards very shortly (I promise), but first I want to thank everyone that has done anything to help make this event happen.

Before I get going, I’d like to thank Carole Garner for organising this venue for us, and the Serpentine Community Garden for hosting this awards ceremony. It is a great place to be, and nice to be in the open air. Thank you also to Ian Parkes who is doing photography of the Awards for us.
There are so many people I need to thank, but to start from the beginning, I want to thank the Fringe committee, as capable and enthusiastic a bunch of people as you could find. Over my two years as Chair, I have delegated more and more, and they just keep absorbing all the jobs that need doing. I am very grateful to each and every one of them.

It has been great to see the new initiatives that come up every year, even more so when I have nothing to do with them! So, thank you to Viv, Carole, Pam, Sandra, Linda and all those involved in our Orange floral hotspots this year. Thanks also to Rob Harrison, committee member and also Morrisons Community Champion who organised some flowers from Morrisons for us, Kinders Garden Little Shop of Flowers - the new Florist where the Fringe desk once was, and all the shops and businesses that have hosted Orange hotspots!

You’ll know that we didn’t publish listings in the programme this year, simply because the programme was so volatile right up until the Fringe started, but I would like to thank our designer Jon Tromans, who working with Steph, put together our new format guide, and has dealt patiently with lots of changes this year.

During the Fringe itself the face of the Fringe is the Fringe Desk, and as you will have seen we are in a new location this year. We are very grateful to Paul Kelsall and Parkwood Leisure for making this space available, it has worked very well.

Thank you to Gaye for leading the efforts to get set up in our new space, and to our desk managers Alice, Denise, and Cameron. You have made a great team, and I appreciate how much you have done this year. Also, to all the volunteers who also help out at the desk, some are members of the committee, but others are just here to help the Fringe and do their bit. Thank you.

Tomorrow we’ll be back there for the get out, and then Ian Hamilton has the job of getting our archive sorted out.

During the Fringe, there is a lot of work to keep the programme up to date with late changes, and making sure Reviews are covered and published on time so a special thank you to Steph, Ian and Robbie for staying abreast of everything, and particularly to our webmaster Dan, who deals with so many changes without complaint. Many thanks also to our army of Reviewers who have made sure we have covered every show once again.

This year has been particularly difficult for venues. The changing rules in the run up to the Fringe have been a constant challenge, not to mention the changing rules during the Fringe! I think we all appreciate the efforts that they have gone to to make their venues both safe and welcoming.

Underground Venues have come and built their theatre above the Old Clubhouse as usual, but it has been a massive commitment to come here in the circumstances. It meant a lot to the Fringe that you were here, so many, many thanks to Tom, Zoe, Dylan, Gemma, Nina, Oliver and all the team there.

The Green Man Gallery has become a real stalwart of the Fringe and a cultural hub all year round. Caroline at the gallery kept slots open for everyone who wanted to come in 2019 and wasn’t able to, and despite performers’ and artists’ changing plans, has kept a full programme of events going. Thank you to Caroline and all who have helped at the Green Man.

Buxton URC and the High Peak Bookstore have come into their own as venues this year and we have seen some great performances and healthy audiences at both. Thank you to Lesley and the URC, and Louisa at the Bookstore, and all our venues for your support this year.

Financially, the last couple of years have been difficult. We waived all entry fees last year, and have kept them low this year, and we have also lost some of our sources of funding, so I would like to thank High Peak Borough Council who continue to support us.

For two years now our Fringe Friends have been our main financial contributors. We are very grateful to all who support us in this way, and if anyone would like to become a Fringe Friend, please have a look at the forms within our Fringe guides, or have a look online. It is a small individual contribution, but collectively it means a lot to us. Thank you to Jeanette who looks after our Friends for us.

I know many people have not felt ready to go out to shows and it has had an impact on audience numbers, but we respect everybody’s individual decisions, we all have to make our own judgements on what we feel comfortable doing, and we hope to see all our regulars back in future years.

But I would especially like to thank all the audiences who did come out to see our events this year, and trusted our venues and performers to keep them safe. It has meant the world to us to see people at shows and engaging with the Fringe. As audience members ourselves we have been so glad to be able to go and see Theatre and Art, Comedy, Music and Spoken Word, and all the other events that have made up this Fringe.

Of course, none of this is possible without all the performers and artists who have created and performed for us this Fringe. It would of course be nothing without you. The last 18 months have been particularly difficult for the arts, as work has dried up, and many have gone without government support. In the run up to the Fringe it has been hard to meet and rehearse, there have not been as many opportunities to perform prior to Buxton, and of course you have had to perform in socially distanced conditions.

We are so grateful for your resilience and perseverance, and for bringing your work to us. In Buxton, we consider ourselves very lucky to be among the first to enjoy a festival of art this summer. We are about to recognise excellence at these awards, and of course, we can’t mention everyone, but more than ever, I would like to thank every single artist, performer, writer and backstage crew who contributed to this very special Fringe.

Thank you. Here’s to a continuing recovery in the arts, and to all the Fringes to come.

Buxton Fringe

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

Wednesday 21 July 2021

Madam Renards presents Battle Cry by Matt Fox

Steve Cowley in Battle Cry

“For those who’ve witnessed the worst things imaginable, the world can never be the same again; and for those that haven’t the least we can do is listen”

High Peak Bookstore, July 23rd & 24th as part of the Buxton Fringe Festival, 7pm doors, 8pm performance

This is the story of Adam, a British soldier who after 25 years of service now suffers with PTSD. Finally, he has agreed to attend a support session…but why doesn’t he want to talk about it? Maybe discussing the details hasn’t helped in the past? Maybe he feels misunderstood? Maybe he’s just not a guy who talks about his feelings? Or…maybe talking and reliving it is part of the problem? Adam feels alone and alienated; he believes that no one can possibly understand the problem as they weren’t there. They didn’t see the things he saw…it doesn’t come flooding back to them every time they close their eyes…

Some wounds are invisible. Adam’s certainly are. But is this a story where all hope is lost. Or could there be a future for Adam?? Maybe being heard is the first step?

Battle Cry is a play which gives a chance for such voices to be heard. Adam tells a story that will strike a chord with every military sufferer of PTSD, based on the true story of real-life people whose lives have been torn apart by the condition. The play is stark, uncompromising and most importantly genuine…as only true authenticity is appropriate for such subject matter.

Through diligent research with PTSD sufferers, Matt Fox & Steve Cowley have distilled the poignant, universal truth from the voices of many who have and do suffer every day from the effects of this condition. Battle Cry creates an authentic fiction from fact that will speak to every PTSD sufferer. This play is desperately needed as even now, these sufferer’s voices are not being heard. Why? Is it part of the training? Is it culture? Or are military personnel just expected to keep this quiet? Maybe the world believes they wouldn’t make good soldiers if they dealt with the emotional ramifications of their day job? Battle Cry is not a political piece of work; we make no comment on why these people have had to do the job they do. Rather we look at the results of these decisions, to speak to a wide audience and bring about awareness of this most pressing of issues through storytelling. A true, emotive human story being the most powerful way to get this message out. These soldiers shouldn’t have to explain themselves, but the world needs to hear their story.

We are thrilled to be finally returning to a live theatre tour after an unimaginably difficult period for the industry. We have kept ourselves busy during the lockdown with writing and online performances, but nothing compares to the experience of standing in the same room as your audience and delivering a play.

Battle Cry is an intense, emotive piece that brings the audience right into the mind of a man on the brink. The pandemic has brought mental health to the front of everyone's mind, and we can't think of a better subject to kick off our touring schedule with.

We hope our audience revel in the unique experience of a live performance and remember why theatre matters so much to us all.

Matt Fox - Writer

Matt Fox has written plays, opera’s and musical adaptations, which have been performed in the UK, U.S, Canada, Mexico and Australia. His most recent piece, ‘Fred Ted, Jack & Harold” toured the UK in 2018/19 before transferring to the USA in Autumn 2019. Matt’s work is published by Roister Doister Publishing Ltd and Off the Wall Plays in the UK and JD Drama Publishing in the USA.

Matt started writing for the theatre as a teenager when he joined a writer’s group at Plymouth Theatre Royal. He was the founder of Swindon Fringe Festival, runs the production company Madam Renards Ltd and is trustee for the JTP Trust, a South West music education charity. He regularly lectures on playwriting and theatre production at a number of UK universities.

Matt has written extensively on subjects, which the world really needs to discuss; whether it’s the ever-growing issues of suicide (To Sleep 2013), poverty (Family Play 2015) or the way we deal with death (The Life We Lived 2016), he has always wanted to cast a light on those areas where real stories need to be told. During the writing process the tales told by the soldiers he interviewed struck such a chord with Matt that he became certain this was one of the most important writing projects he had ever undertaken.

Steve Cowley - Actor

Steve Cowley has enjoyed a long and varied career as an actor, director, lecturer, workshop practitioner and writer. His passion, love and belief in the value of theatre and performance remains as strong and firm as ever.

Steve’s theatre credits include; Michael in (Ab)solution, Macbeth in Macbeth, Landlord in Two, Michael in This is Living, John Proctor in The Crucible, John Merrick in The Elephant Man. Steve created the roles of Soldier in Listen and Man in Dummy House, both of which were solo performance plays.

Steve is passionate about supporting new writers and has been fortunate enough to tour the UK and abroad with many new pieces of work including To Sleep, The Life We Lived and Fred Ted Jack & Harold. In addition to this, Steve has also worked on numerous corporate films and events.

Steve is delighted to not only be working with Matt again, but to be given the opportunity and honour to be the voice of so many PTSD sufferers.

Buxton Fringe

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

The Bus Stop

The Bus Stop

A one act play written and directed by Margaret Holbrook, The Bus Stop, is coming to Buxton Fringe.

The play focuses on two people whose paths cross at Bolton Interchange. It's Sunday lunchtime. Jacki and Keith strike up a conversation, share secrets and fears, become friends for the time they're at the bus stop. But that's just the beginning . . .

The Bus Stop will be performed twice at St Mary's Church, Dale Road, Buxton SK17 6NL on Thursday 22nd July a matinee at 2.45pm and in the evening at 7.45pm and there will be a short Q&A after the performances.

Tickets £8, £6, concessions, available from Buxton Opera House, telephone 01298 72190 or on the website: www.buxtonoperahouse.org.uk 

Alternatively reserve tickets by calling 07958 079583

Buxton Fringe

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

Tuesday 20 July 2021

Fringe 10 to 5 how's it going?

Darren Poyzer

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the makeover we were giving Fringe at 5, which has now been transformed into Fringe 10 to 5. 

Luckily our call for performers and local artists has proved popular and visitors to Pavilion Gardens have been saved from my out of tune croaking.

I caught up with a couple of the buskers to find out what they thought of the new format.

Fringe regular Darren Poyzer was quick off the mark to book a slot; he tweeted me within hours of the blog being posted!

Darren explained that owing to Covid he would be performing his show online again this year. He really liked the idea of doing a busking session to promote his show.  Darren set up on a sunny Friday afternoon and was soon surrounded by a (socially distanced) foot-tapping crowd. "Its great to be performing live again"  and "What a wonderful welcome!", Darren told the audience, before thanking them in song for "the gift of their precious time".

In contrast, Nik Lowe stumbled onto the Busking Spot by pure chance.
Nik Lowe

Nik who's Mum was orginally from Buxton was visiting the town with his girlfriend Jo. As an event singer and songwriter, Nik always has his guitar with him. Given the nice weather he though he'd set up in front of the cafe and entertain the customers. He was quickly signed up to the ""official" Busking Spot by Fringe volunteer Sandra.  "I really love Buxton; it's such an attractive town. We used to visit a lot when I was kid", Nik told me. "The crowd are really lovely and the Fringe Festival is a great event".

The Busking Spot is right by the Fringe desk and volunteers have seen artists performing poetry, theatre, magic, classical and popular music.  Tommy Cooper even stopped by one day.  "It's a great way to promote your act and get people's attention", said desk manager Gaye. "And of course the new hours match the opening time of the Cafe and Gin Garden so you can be sure of an audience", she added.

And with another week of the Fringe to go and the sun set to shine, there's still plenty of time to grab a slot and add to the party atmosphere.

To book your slot call into our friendly Fringe desk at the Pavilion Gardens or email fringedesk@buxtonfringe.org.uk


Buxton Fringe

Thursday 8 July 2021

Buxton Art Trail takes to the Boulevard!

The Fringe Award-winning Buxton Art Trail is reinventing itself as an outdoor exhibition on Buxton’s beautiful Broad Walk this year.

The Pavilion Gardens event, entitled Art on the Railings, is designed to capture some of the atmosphere of the Montmartre art district in Paris, and takes place on Saturday July 10th from 10am to 4.30pm as part of the Buxton Fringe.

A host of local artists will be showing a wide variety of work on the railings and selling cards and artworks, often at bargain prices.

The Art Trail is free to attend but visitors are invited to contact info@buxtonarttrail.com if they would like to donate. Any funds raised will go towards what they hope will be a full Buxton Art Trail across the town for 2022.

Organiser Linda Rolland says, "It should be the biennial Buxton Art Trail this year but, because of Covid, we had to completely rethink what we could do. We have brought back Art on the Railings, one of our earlier ventures, which will be something really fun and low Covid-risk as it is all outdoors. Last time, in 2014, we basked in sunshine as people strolled, browsed and bought artworks in the beautiful ambience of the Broad Walk. With the Pavilion Gardens alongside and Fringe events, including the Sculpture Trail, happening  at the same time, it will be a promenade of delights for art lovers."

Linda added, "We even have alternative dates, 11th, 17th or 18th July if it should rain… but it won’t!"

Confidence... That's what we like to see!

Buxton Fringe

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

Tuesday 6 July 2021

Snapshot Stories: Local Lockdown Project comes to the Fringe

‘Live & Local: LivingRoom’ was launched in early summer 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic when the UK was subject to lockdown. Created and managed by Live & Local, the project aimed to connect communities during this difficult time by pairing local community groups with professional artists to work on a creative project together. 

The community of Meon Vale (near Stratford-Upon-Avon, Warwickshire) was paired with spoken word artist Naomi Paul to create a collaborative film celebrating this new community’s sense of place, recent history and the importance of the environment during first lockdown period. 

‘Snapshot Stories’ was entirely filmed and recorded by members of the community, with poetry and music by both Naomi (based on interviews with residents) and residents. It features an entertaining ode to the village shop and a musical call to arms with a protest song ‘The Promise of the Woods’ as the community prepares to fight and save a well-loved area of land which is under threat from development. 

In December 2020, following a very active and public residents’ campaign, the community in Meon Vale learned that the development plans for the woodland had been withdrawn and that the woods would be safeguarded for the community. 

This spring the film was shown online at the Brighton Festival Fringe with the SpaceUK. It is now being shown online at Buxton Festival Fringe and is available for free viewing throughout the festival period 7-25th July. 

Find ‘Snapshot Stories’ in the film section here.

Donations to the Meon Vale Residents Association to support the community can be made here tinyurl.com/Mvragofundme

Participants’ comments include:
  • ‘The final outcome is a wonderful piece of work, and like all good artwork, I keep returning to it and thinking.’
  • ‘It’s acted as a catalyst to make new friends on the estate.’
  • ‘It’s brilliant. Well done to you. I am happy to have been a part of it.’

Audience members’ comments include:
  • ‘I loved it - words, music, poetry. It really captured the essence of that slice of lockdown and the importance of woodland to our well- being.’
  • ‘Brilliant and very moving. Enhanced by the beautiful photography and the community voices in the background.’
  • ‘You have drawn together the statements so poetically. And your delivery and the photography is wonderful. Congratulations to all involved.’
Dionne Sambrook, Community Engagement Officer, Live & Local said, "The creative works produced by the community group and artist pairings through the LivingRoom projects have been utterly uplifting and inspiring. In many cases, the process has led to new relationships, new opportunities for learning and a lasting legacy for the communities involved."

Buxton Fringe

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

What's making that buzz buzz buzzing noise?

Billy with their friend, the artist Pam Smart

It's the sound of Billie the Bilberry Bumble Bee and his friends! Billie has a bright orange tummy and he lives on the moors high above the town. He and his friends like to visit the town to eat the pollen from flowers in our gardens.

But Billie and his friends need our help. Sadly there aren't enough flowers to feed all the bees. We can help by planting lots more flowers and not cutting the grass too much because the wild flowers in the grass have lots of tasty nectar that the bees love.

In July Billie is visiting Buxton and he is going to be living in Potters department store and he'd love it if all the children came to see him!

What's more, lots of Billie's friends will also be in town; you can follow a trail to find them all.  Pick up a bee safari leaflet from the Pump Room, The Crescent,  if you would like to draw or make your own bee you can copy the photo below of Billie with his best friend artist Pam Smart.

While they are here on holiday, Billie and his friends are going to feast on all the orange flowers that the Buxton Fringe and our friends have been planting around the town. Can you spot any of the orange flowers?

We would love to see your drawings and your photos of bumble bees or orange flowers. Ask Mummy or Daddy to post photos and tag us in at @BuxtonFringe and #FriendsofBuxtonStation.


Wednesday 16 June 2021

📣 Shout out for Buskers!

The inimitable Sam Slide (pic credit Ian J Parkes)

Forget Euro 2020 the real countdown to this summer's highlight has just started! Its under four weeks till the Buxton Fringe Festival kicks off.

This year there are a few changes; the Fringe desk is on the move and Fringe@5 has had a make over -  its become Fringe 10 to 5!

This means we will be hosting a busking spot on the promenade in Pavilion Gardens between  (yes you guessed it) 10 to 5. 

At last I have the chance to showcase my talents! My Mum once told me I sing like a frog but who listens to their Mum? 

But what should I do? I'd dance but I have two left feet, timing is not my strong point so telling gags is out, I know music!,  but to be honest I'm tone deaf so playing or singing are also out (maybe Mum had a point after all). 

OK time for a rethink. 

Calling all our performers and local artists, musicians and buskers, we really really need you.

Come and sign up for a slot at the Fringe Information Desk, now in the Pavilion Gardens conservatory just before the restaurant, between 7th and 25th July. Feel free to bring your hat for donations but please leave the heavy duty amplifiers at home.

You'll be helping us celebrate as well as saving local people and visitors from a fate worse than death, yes unfortunately that's me I mean!

Carole Garner

Buxton Fringe

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

Monday 7 June 2021


haywire Theatre will bring Adam Barnard’s wonderfully morbid play, Buckets, to this year’s Buxton Fringe Festival, to be performed at the High Peak Bookstore & Cafe on the 9th, 10th, 16th and 17th of July, doors opening at 7:30pm. 

buckets is a story about why you shouldn’t go skydiving with your hamster. It is a story about video games. About how to pull off a successful mugging. About how to tell someone you love them, and how to make sure they say it back. But mostly, buckets is a show about the weight we have on one another's lives, and the world we leave behind once we’re gone.

Making their festival debut with Adam Barnard’s 2015 play, haywire will take audiences on a journey of loss, affection, laughter and absurdity through thirty-three intertwined scenes. Some connected, others stand alone, but all attempt to answer, in their own way, the thoroughly unanswerable question: what do you do with your time if you know your time is running out?

Building on the success of haywire’s digital season, which was described as “Powerful” and “Brilliant”, the amateur production (by arrangement with Nick Hern Books) will be an excitable dance through the highs and lows of everyday life, reminding audiences of the simple joy of connection and the weight we have each other’s lives. 

Director: Liv Clarke

Producer/Designer: Lucy Haslingden 

Cast: Lisa Jayne, Will Griffiths, Lucy Haslingden

All tickets available through the Buxton Opera House (https://buxtonoperahouse.org.uk/event/buckets) , £10 standard, £8 commission, as part of the 2021 Buxton Fringe Festival. For more details visit www.haywiretheatre.co.uk, or head to @haywiretheatre on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter

Buxton Fringe

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

Friday 28 May 2021

Him Indoors - an absurd Comedy Horror...

Absurd comedy-horror from the mind of comedian Sonja Doubleday

Think The Mighty Boosh meets The Wicker Man, but with a northern woman who looks a bit like the girl from The Exorcist with a better sense of humour. Welcome to Tittitutar Town. An unusually odd place, 2,000 miles up North (somewhere near Manchester) where some of the weirdest characters you’ll ever come across live. Him Indoors (written by award-winning comedian Sonja Doubleday) is a laugh-out-loud, absurd comedy horror show, attracting alt-comedy fans and horror-heads alike.  

In the quaint Northern town of Tittitutar, something’s not quite right, and a very serious journalist is determined to get to the bottom of it. A spooky woman claims she has a small man living inside her. A tiny little man trapped in her belly. Don’t believe it? Come along on the journalist’s journey and find out for yourself…

Him Indoors is performed by comedy powerhouse Sonja Doubleday, along with co-stars Nina Atesh (playing a handful of equally strange Tittitutar inhabitants) and Christian Cascone as the ambitious, cocky, yet slightly exasperated journalist. 

 ‘A woman talks to a two-inch man without any explanation, clouds sing pop songs for no reason, two shop attendants dance to a robot cat because they could; absolutely nothing followed any set of rules that I’m used to and I laughed out loud constantly’ (Sam Esame)

‘I might have proposed marriage as it's such a delight. As it is it's inventive, imaginative, insane and probably many other fantastic words that begin with i, and definitely worth seeking out,a stunning piece of absurdity' Alex Finch (comedy to watch)

After some dates at Brighton Fringe, Him Indoors can be found in Buxton on July 15th, 16th and 17th at Underground Venues at The Old Clubhouse @2:30pm

Find Sonja Doubleday on Twitter and Instagram at @cheekykita1 

Buxton Fringe

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

Sunday 23 May 2021

Q. What's Orange and Green and uses the Bus?

A. Buxton Fringe!

Yes, this year's traditional orange Fringe is going green in a big way!

I don't know about you but I love getting the bus - someone else does the driving, no need to fill up with petrol and best of all no need to worry about parking, and with the beautiful views on routes around Buxton I can sit back and enjoy the ride.

So imagine how excited I was to learn that the Fringe has teamed up with D&G and High Peak buses to promote travelling to the Fringe on public transport. Our lovely Fringe posters are going to be on display on 150 local buses and in bus stations at Derby, Hanley and Macclesfield.  

Keep your eyes peeled for the posters and if you spot one please post a pic and tag us on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook (@BuxtonFringe) using the hashtag #FringeOnTheBus.

What's more we've signed up to the Plastic Free Pledge to help our friends at Transition Buxton reduce single-use plastic.  

And what perfect timing as our Fringe information desk is on the move - all of which has given Gaye, our lovely desk manager, the chance to have a sort out and reduce our single-use plastic.  

I predict it's going to be reusable cups and recycled bunting all the way!

We can't wait to see our live performers and welcome live audiences back so do pop in to say "Hi". 

But before you leave home, help us and the environment by remembering:

Bus pass/fare - Check! 
Reusable cup - Check!
Fringe app on phone - Check!

Let's make this the biggest Green Orange Fringe yet!

If you want to know more about our environmental policy go to https://buxtonfringe.org.uk/environment.html

Carole Garner

Buxton Fringe

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

Wednesday 12 May 2021

Painting the Town Orange

Buxton's floral displays might have more than a hint of Fringe orange this year
(credit: Stephanie Billen)

Yes you read that right; I know it's more traditional to paint a town red but this is Buxton and we like to do things a bit differently here! 

I think everyone would agree that we can all do with a bit of cheering up this year and the Fringe has come up with a simple and fun way to do this - by encouraging shops, businesses, care homes, public spaces and residents to create “Orange Hot Spots” across the town throughout July.

The Fringe has joined forces with a number of local groups to organise displays of orange flowers, orange bunting, flower pot people with orange hair, orange-bottomed Bilberry bumble bees or even just orange Fringe posters. The Bilberry bee is a very special bee. It lives high on the moors surrounding Buxton and it helps to pollinate lots of plants but sadly it is in danger of extinction. So let’s give it a helping hand by planting lots of orange flowers to give it a feed and keep it going. You can also support the Buxton Garden Trail (24-25 July) at the same time by purchasing marigold and fuschia plants from them - contact buxtongardentrail@gmail.com.

Everyone can get involved including the kids. Good and easy orange flowers to grow include Nasturtiums, Marigolds and Calendula but there are lots of others. And what’s more, by planting flowers, even one or two on a small windowsill, we can help encourage butterflies, insects and especially bumble bees. 

Don’t have green fingers or any outside spaces?  Create your own display for your window with tissue paper, coloured pens and paints or Fringe posters, or have a go at drawing the Bilberry bee with its distinctive orange bottom! Contact fobs.buxton@gmail.com if you would like further information on making or displaying the bee!

So what are you waiting for? Grab your paintbrush or gardening gloves, get creative, have some fun and let's turn Buxton Orange!

Carole Garner

Sunday 4 April 2021

Zi-Zi Taah Taah Taah - Who’s making a noise at this year’s Buxton Fringe?

photo credit: The Wildlife Trust

Calling all wildlife lovers, poets and conservationists. You won't want to miss this!

Live at this year's Fringe, Yorkshire poet, writer and conservationist Steve Ely will be sharing his poems dedicated to two of the UK's fastest declining species, the Willow Tit and the European Eel.

Steve will read from his books Zi-Zi Taah Taah Taah (the words to the willow tit's song for the uninitiated) and The European Eel at the events, which are sponsored by Milners Law, who  have offices in Leeds, Harrogate and Pontefract.

Also a big Ted Hughes fan, proud Yorkshireman Steve will reveal how his home county shaped the work of the former Poet Laureate.

For full details of these events see the full press release below. With entries starting to build up, we hope to bring you the inside stories on a host of other shows in the coming months. In the meantime don't forget to check out the Fringe website.

Carol Garner

Press Release: 

Yorkshire poets and poetry at Buxton Festival  

Poet and writer Steve Ely will be sharing some of his passions with  audiences at this year’s Buxton Festival Fringe. 

The European Eel and the Willow Tit are two of the fastest declining species  in the UK. Their populations have crashed by 95% in 50 years. As it happens  Willow Tits do relatively well on some brownfield, former industrial sites and  Steve Ely lives close to a former coalfield in Yorkshire and is able to monitor  bird numbers locally. 

He published a small volume of poems Zi-Zi Taah Taah Taah: the song of the  Willow Tit three years ago. This year sees publication of his book-length  poem The European Eel. For the Buxton event Steve will read poems from  the books and talk about how autobiography and interests in conservation  and literature came together in their writing. 

Steve’s observations of the natural world sharply inform his writing and this  is evident in a further collection published this year, Lectio Violant - ‘profane  readings’ that were the result of contemplative study of parts of the New  Testament in the King James’ edition. 

Steve also teaches creative writing at University of Huddersfield where he is  Director of the Ted Hughes Network. Hughes - who was poet laureate from  1984 until his death in 1998 - was born in the Calder Valley village of  Mytholmroyd and the moorland landscapes where he was born are often  associated with his writing. Hughes moved to live in the South Yorkshire  industrial town of Mexborough between the ages of 8 and 21. 

Steve Ely published a study of this period of Hughes’ life and the place  where he wrote his first poems. Steve argues that it was Mexborough that  formed Hughes as a poet. It was the place where he encountered the  influences that shaped him as a poet, leaving a lasting impression on his  personality, sensibility and practice. For the Buxton Festival Steve will reveal  this still too little-known story. 

These two Buxton Festival Fringe events are sponsored by Milners Law, who  have offices in Leeds, Harrogate and Pontefract. 


Notes for editors

The Buxton Festival Fringe was established in 1980 and takes place every  July. This year’s Festival runs from 7-25 July when hundreds of events  embrace the visual and performing arts. 

Steve Ely will be at the United Reformed Church on Tuesday 13 July. His Eel  and the Willow Tit is from 3-4pm and Made in Mexborough: Ted Hughes’  South Yorkshire from 5-6pm.

Monday 15 February 2021

Even the wrong shoes won't spoil my fun!

Does anyone else miss being jammed in a hot, dark, smoke-filled room, warm drink in hand waiting for the next act to start?

Most people in these Covid days shudder in horror at the idea of sharing indoor space with a group of strangers, and you can understand why.

But I have to admit I miss the days of being in a live audience, the excitement of waiting to see and hear a new show. Will the gags be good, will the band hit the right notes? How will the audience react - will they heckle or get behind the performer?  I even miss the discomfort of standing still for ages in the wrong shoes.

I know there isn't real smoke anymore.  But the idea of heading to a club, cafe, bar or theatre to see 'live' entertainment always makes me feel that I'm off to somewhere sophisticated and slightly edgy. Like the old days of black and white films; say Rick's bar in Casablanca or a jazz club in Harlem.

So I was really pleased to hear that a large number of Fringe venues in Buxton have announced their support for this year’s festival. Old favourites such as the Green Man Gallery,  Underground and the Rotunda are all wanting to be involved and a host of new cafes, church halls and sports facilities have also registered.

Of course there will be lots of safeguards in place. Fringe performers are working on contingency plans - marquees and tents are being mooted (a good idea for any British summer!) as well as online or mixed activities.

As entries start to arrive there are whispers of large open air venues also being interested which all adds to my excitement.

I only have one concern, where did I put my favourite heels?

Carole Garner

Buxton Fringe

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