Wednesday 20 July 2022

Laid up during the Fringe!

Having avoided it for so long, I have picked up Covid and am - shock horror - confined to barracks unable to continue my usual mad dash round Fringe shows.

This calls for creative thinking. Being a viral kind of thing - well a virus in fact - it seems to hit me in waves so that sometimes things feel quite possible and other times the darkened room beckons. At these times, watching TV is effort (tragic I know…) but listening to a podcast with your eyes shut is rather nice. I’ve now binge-listened all the Fringe podcasts - see - and found them hugely warm, comforting and entertaining. And this afternoon I’m going to check out, the spooky online drama from fringe favourites, The Buxton Drama League. 

Over the next few days I’m going to have a good old pour through our entertaining, informative Reviews - - the next best thing to being there for anything you may have missed. Even though I’m part of Chapel Arts Creative Writing Group, I’m also going to have a proper read of all our contributions for our Reconnecting Fringe shows; the scripts are all available here: I also fancy a Shakespearean bedtime story courtesy of

It’s all a way of staying in touch with what’s going on. Anyone else in the same situation? Any recommendations, besides stop writing this blog and rest up the way you are meant to?

Buxton Fringe

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Thursday 30 June 2022

Riding High with the Fringe at the Carnival

Since joining the Fringe Committee I've been surprised by the range of tasks you can get involved in -  everything from delivering posters to planting orange flowers.

But I admit I was mystified when at the last meeting Pam reported back about her phone call "with the farmer's wife about the haybales". It turns out we need them for seating on the carnival float. But when Steph, our lovely marketing officer, then asked for volunteers to help make decorations for the float, I must say I was worried.

While I loved art at school I was never remotely crafty; a friend recently dragged me to an origami workshop where my decoration looked like a three-month-old chimp had made it! In fact a three-month-old chimp would have probably done a better job.

Luckily it turns out there's not a lot of skill needed to make paper flowers and bunting. And with six of us working (& chatting) we had a good sized pile at the end of the first session. Which is just as well as you need a awful lot of decoration to dress a 'float' AKA a lorry (kindly provided by Lomas Distribution again this year). 

This year's colour theme is a classy combo of orange (natch) and navy blue (for our friends and float partners BIF). 

I've been warned that it takes ages to do the actual decorating of the float and to get the haybales in place. But the end result should be worth it and you'll be able to spot us from a mile off!

So please lookout for us on carnival day 9th July. We'll be easy to spot in our orange T- shirts. Give us a wave and a cheer, but better yet please drop a donation in our Well Dressing charity buckets; every penny is really appreciated. 

Carole Garner

Thursday 23 June 2022

On the Buses

Last year I wrote about our work with local bus companies to promote travel to Fringe events by bus as part of our efforts to be more environmentally friendly.

We are really pleased to say that our friends at D&G and High Peak buses are supporting us again this year.  Our posters are already on display on bus stops around Buxton, and will be shortly going up on D&G Route 16 from Leek & Hanley and route 108 from Leek and Ashbourne. And on High Peak Buses in and around Buxton with bus services including the Manchester Airport Skyline, the Transpeak to Bakewell, Matlock, Matlock Bath and Belper, Route 58 to Macclesfield, number 61 to Glossop and the 422 to Ashbourne.

I think the best things about getting the bus are that someone else does the driving and there's no need to worry about parking, plus it's good for the environment which gives me the warm glow of doing a good thing while having fun.

Keep your eyes peeled for the posters (pictured above) and if you spot one please post a pic and tag us on InstagramTwitter or Facebook using the hashtag #FringeOnTheBus.

We can't wait to see our performers and welcome audiences to what should be a bumper Fringe so pop in to the Fringe desk 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 environmentally friendly Fringe yet!

If you want to know more about our environmental policy go to

Carole Garner
Buxton Fringe

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Tuesday 14 June 2022

Hold the front page… More news from our Fringe performers

Joann Condon (credit: Cat Humphries photography)

Every day we are learning more about our exciting Fringe performers. Below follows extracts from press releases giving a flavour of what’s in store from Little Britain actor Joann Condon, the revitalised Buxton Art Trail and Chapel Arts Creative Writing Group, making its live Fringe debut.  For full details of their shows see our listings on If you are a Fringe performer who would like to be featured in our blog, please send your press release, or even just a quote from you, to

Joann Condon: Little Boxes - alphamum productions

Little Boxes is a comedic and inspirational, self-penned story.  It follows Joann Condon (Little Britain, The Last Letter from Your Lover), as she explores the boxes she has “found herself in” throughout her life:  The hopes and dreams of a child, the frustrations of an acting career, the tensions of being a parent, the grief in losing loved ones, the fear of being...herself.

Condon promises we will laugh and cry … and laugh and cry we did

Phoenix Remix

Described as “funny, touching and at times heartbreaking,” by London Pub Theatres, Joann uses personal anecdotes to highlight assumptions and judgements made about her based-on looks, age, gender and background.  The phenomenon of classifying people is called ‘social categorization’ by psychologists and can impact how others view and treat us and vice versa. Most of us can relate to experiences such as these.

“It's natural for people in our lives to want to force us into nice little boxes,” says Condon, “but the scary thing is, you often end up putting yourself in that same box."  

Little Boxes is the first time she has written and starred in her own production. 

BAT2022: Buxton Art Trail

Buxton’s hugely popular, award-winning Art Trail is back! The sixth Buxton Art Trail, BAT:2022, will be taking place during the final weekend of the Buxton Fringe from 23-24th July. In a first for the Art Trail, there will also be some venues exhibiting at other times during the Fringe giving BAT an even wider reach this year. Art lovers should look out for the free BAT guide brochure which lists each of the participants and events with details of all times and venues.  

As ever, the event will present a huge variety of work from artists of all ages from 6 to 96, both professional and amateur and from community groups based in Buxton, but in a new feature for 2022, BAT will be based round two central venues: Buxton Infants School and The United Reformed Church on Hardwick Square. Displays will also be exhibited in artists’ studios and homes around the town, all clearly marked on the BAT map inside the brochure. With the Buxton Garden Trail running from 23-24th July as well, visitors can combine both pursuits, calling in at BAT venues at the same time!

A free event, BAT:2022 also offers a chance to join in activities and to watch artists at work. There will be plenty of work for sale but organisers stress that it is fine to come along to look and to chat and, most of all, to enjoy! Further exciting additions to the event will be announced on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, which will offer sneak previews and hints for trail-goers. 

Says BAT Chair Linda Rolland: “Following on from our much appreciated outdoor event Art on the Railings in 2021, The BAT team is delighted to be able to once again present the Buxton Art Trail in its most popular format. We have a really great variety of work being shown in and around the town so we hope townspeople and visitors will visit as many venues as possible over the weekend.”


Reconnecting: Chapel Arts Creative Writing Group

Chapel Arts Creative Writing Group from Chapel-en-le-Frith in the High

Peak has announced that it will be treading the boards at Buxton Fringe for

the first time.

The local writing group will be performing its poetry, mini-plays, stories, monologues and more at two special events during the Fringe both taking place at Rems Cafe Bar and Restaurant in Chapel-en-le-Frith. 

Led by author Mark Henderson, the group is open to all but includes

professional writers and award-winning talent among its ranks. Members of

the group recently scooped first and second prizes plus a longlist

commendation for stories submitted to a national horror competition run by

Fantastic Books. The resulting anthology, Dread Cold, featuring all three

stories, will be published on Halloween this year.


The multi-faceted theme for the group’s Fringe performances is

“Reconnecting”. Says Mark: “We’re all learning to ‘reconnect’ since we

came out of lockdown. However, ‘Reconnecting’ can be interpreted in many

other ways, too – and we’re exploring a lot of them! This is a great

opportunity for attendees at the Fringe to enjoy the group’s creative talent.”

A registered charity, Chapel Arts was formed to encourage the

development of a broad range of arts in the Chapel-en-le-Frith area.

Buxton Fringe

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Thursday 9 June 2022

Fringe Benefits for Friends!

Back in November I wrote about how grateful we are to our Fringe Friends who stood by us during the last two years, despite the constraints on our usual festival.

With this year set to be a bumper Fringe, now is the time that we can repay our Friends!  

Friends enjoy 10% off full price tickets on all Fringe entries. They also receive invites to parties and events throughout the year, including our awards ceremony, and get early copies of our programme while it's still hot from the press, to name just a few of the benefits of being a Fringe Friend.  

What's more this year, Jeanette, our Friends officer, has been talking to local cafes and businesses and negotiating deals just for our Friends. 
Jeanette says "We are really grateful to all the businesses who have supported the Fringe by offering discounts during the festival period (6th to 24th July)."  

Take a look at the detailed list below and I'm sure you'll be impressed!

If you aren't already a Friend it's not too late to get your hands on one of our membership cards, just follow the link below or contact Jeanette on

A Friends subscription would also make a great gift for anyone who likes music, theatre, comedy and art.  We love making new Friends! Plus you'll enjoy the (orange) glow of supporting a worthwhile cause, all for just £10 per year.

Friends discounts will be available between 6th to 24th July from the below (don't forget to show your membership card);

Milton’s Head a traditional pub on Spring Gardens is offering10% off main courses

The Hydro, a traditional café and just the place for a cuppa on Spring Gardens - they are giving 15% off food
Sam’s Plaice, for fish and chip fans, are offering 10% off food and drinks, Spring Gardens

The Chakra Lounge, Indian style café with fab cakes are giving 15% off food Spring Gardens

Everything’s Rosy café, are giving 5% off food. Don't forget to have a look in the shop too, off Spring Gardens 
Lubens, the friendly bar and bistro who do a mean G&T on Hall Bank, are offering 10% off food and drinks with food bill 

High Peak Bookstore & Café, Brierlow Bar are giving 10% off in the books section, where you will be spoilt for choice.

If you want to know more go to 

Carole Garner

Buxton Fringe
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Twitter: @buxtonfringe
Instagram: @buxtonfringe

Thursday 2 June 2022

Buxton Turns Orange for Festival Fun

Last year much loved committee member Viv Marriott came up with a brilliant idea to "cheer up the town and celebrate the Fringe" - plant orange flowers!  

The idea quickly caught on with care homes, businesses, shops, pubs and public and private gardens all joining in.  This year we are determined to spread orange flowers across the whole town.

Green-fingered members of the committee have been feverishly planting Marigold and Nasturtium seeds for weeks (we needed 140 flowers to fill the just Opera House planter last year - that's a lot of seeds!) 

We are grateful to our good friends Jo and David Holdway who have kindly donated enough marigolds for the Opera House planter as a lovely tribute to Viv. 

The team will be filling the planter in front of the Opera House on 14th June so keep your fingers crossed for dry weather followed by a quick shower to "bed" them in. Hopefully it will look as bright and cheerful as it did last year.

Our list of repeat Orange Hot Spots, as we call them, is already expanding with new sites and businesses joining in. So start looking out for our Orange Hot Spots from mid June, we hope that the lovely flowers will make you smile.

If you would like to create your own Hot Spot it's not too late to sow some seeds and plant a pot.  Marigold, Calendula, Nasturtium, Begonias and Busy Lizzy are all  easy to grow and will flower for weeks as long as you remember to take off the dead flowers and give them a regular drink of water.

To find out more or to become one of our Hot Spots contact

Carole Garner

Monday 23 May 2022

It's Party Time!

After two hard years we are finally back to a full Fringe Festival for 2022. And if like me you can't wait till 6th July - I have some good news for you.

On Saturday 4th June we will be hosting our usual Programme Party, yes that's right our full printed programme is back after last year's restrictions and it's a bumper edition!  52 pages covering 168 entries, so there's bound to be something to appeal to you.

If the chance to grab a programme hot off the press isn't enough to tempt you into a night out, there's lots more on offer.  

Naturally there will be food and drink but better still some of our performers - folk trio Rare Occasion, singer/comedian Angela Bra and stand up Henry Churniavsky - will be giving sneak previews of their shows. There will be an opportunity to meet performers, network with members of the committee and chat with old and new friends.

Personally I'm really looking forward to meeting people who love the Fringe as much as I do and I can't wait to see our programme in the flesh, the cover is so colourful and cheerful!

So put the date in your diary, find your party shoes and prepare for a night of fun.
Green Man Gallery Sat 4th June 7pm to 9pm Entertainment starts 7.15pm. 

See you there!

Carole Garner

Buxton Fringe

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Wednesday 18 May 2022

Read all about it… News from Fringe performers!

Charmian Hughes (credit: Steve Ullathorne)

We are so excited to see press releases coming in from our wonderful Fringe performers. Below follows some extracts giving a flavour of what’s in store from stand-ups Charmian Hughes and Henry Churniavsky and from playwright Margaret Holbrook. For full details of their shows see our listings on If you are a Fringe performer who would like to be featured in our blog, please send your press release, or even just a quote from you, to

Charmian Hughes: She! The Immortal Horror Queen’s Guide to Life

Charmian Hughes has been performing stand-up comedy for over three decades, in venues as varied as the Comedy Store, the Glastonbury Festival, the Houses of Parliament and HMP Wormwood Scrubs. 

She has taken her comedy to the Dublin Comedy Festival, Scilly Laughs Festival, Melbourne Comedy Festival, and the New Zealand Fringe- where she got stuck in their lockdown in 2020!

What does a Bond Girl, a Hammer Horror villainess and a Colossal Squid have in common? They all mentored Charmian in the game of life.

In 1965, as Feminism ‘s second wave lapped at the shores of a fading British Empire, eight-year-old Charmian Hughes (British Comedian of The Year finalist) saw the iconic Hammer Horror film ‘She’, starring Bond Girl Ursula Andress. 

The story of a mysterious and murderous queen who has endless beauty, power and immortality but wastes them on some English bloke who could be the reincarnation of her long-lost lover, filled young Charmian with horror. Is that what being any kind of successful woman looked like?  

But by the time Charmian was 17, idolising her older glamorous dollybird sister, and desperate for a boyfriend, she was trying those deadly womanly wiles herself. But what makes you a great girlfriend in 1000 years BC makes you a terrible girlfriend in 1973.

Now, all these years later, for Charmian, happily married and a comedian, running into that old boyfriend again unleashes old obsessions, resentments, and jealousies. 

As we get older and our future contracts, does the immensity of the past hold answers?

Can an encounter with a Colossal Squid save Charmian from herself?

‘I LOVE Charmian Hughes.’ Bridget Christie.  ‘Pick of my fringe.’ Arthur Smith.

Charmian also runs comedy workshops, and this year assisted comedian Angie Belcher in her daring new NHS backed Comedy On Referral project, where comedy is used as therapy. As his former comedy teacher, Charmian also appeared in Micky Flanagan’s TV show Peeping Behind The Curtain.

Charmian has also acted in plays at the Edinburgh Fringe for Comedians Theatre Company and Kazzum Theatre.

Charmian was a finalist in British Comedian of The Year, nominated twice for Buxton Fringe Festival’s Best Comedy Show - including last year with this show. This is her tenth solo show at the Edinburgh Fringe and is directed by Amanda Baker.


Scouse Comedian Offering ‘Laughs for Life’ at Buxton Festival Fringe.

Jewish/Scouse stand-up comedian Henry Churniavsky has two shows on Saturday 23rd July 2022. Both shows are to raise awareness and funds for Mental Health Charities. He came up with the idea after his best friend’s son attempted suicide, and never recovered. He is now an Ambassador for The Mental Health Charity. Jami UK and he also supports YoungMinds Mental Health Charity.

With All Jew Respect: Henry’s first show for the charity is an afternoon solo show of his best Jewish humour. See how he survives his 88 year old ‘Non-Filter’ Jewish mother (who still lives too near him) and his extended family. Covering topics such as growing up, school (losing his virginity), marriage, managing the menopause (his wife’s not his), mid-life crisis, Jewish lockdown (yes it’s different), being Jewrotic (Jewish & Neurotic), now being a sexagenarian and having many surgical procedures. But most importantly, the influence of his Jewish mother.

Laugh For Life Comedy: Compilation show for Mental Health: A team of award-winning comedians will be aiming to raise funds and awareness for the mental health charities.

Join Henry and the crew for some laughs and at the same time support a great cause. 

Henry has eight years of Comedy Stand-up experience performing all over the UK, performing also in America and Amsterdam.

His solo shows have been at The Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Buxton & Brighton Festival Fringes, Leicester Comedy Festival and Camden Fringe.

Henry’s aim through his charity ‘Laugh for Life Comedy’ is to raise awareness and funds. His website includes help lines, advice, supportive blogs and links to his podcasts ‘Laugh For Life Comedy’ which combines mental health issues and comedy. He also posts about comedy, which lifts the soul and raises the spirit and this should never be underestimated.


Empress Presents ANY OTHER DAY, a new play by Margaret Holbrook. It is set a few days following the death of Alan Turing at his home, Holly Mead, in Wilmslow on the 7th June 1954. There will be a short Q and A following each performance. 

Says Margaret: "I've been wanting to write something about Alan Turing for several years but couldn't visualise how I could set it to make it accessible, and I didn't want it to focus too much on numbers and codes. Then, in November 2021 a lightbulb moment and ANY OTHER DAY was the result. It is set in the garden of Holly Mead, Alan Turing's home, in the days following his death."

Margaret is widely published in poetry magazines and anthologies and has 3 poetry collections published and several novels. Her latest novel creation is Jack France, a landed amateur sleuth and racing driver. 

Her poetry collection Hobby Horses Will Dance (folklore/myth/nature) has found its way to the library at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.


Buxton Fringe


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Friday 8 April 2022

How do I get to meet the stars?

Here at Fringe towers we couldn’t be more excited to be organising a big live festival - just like the old days - but with what looks like a bumper Fringe in July, we are also aware that we are going to need more volunteers than ever to make it all happen.

The Fringe Information Desk, now in the conservatory area of the Pavilion Gardens near the restaurant, becomes a real hive of activity in July with volunteers needed to help keep displays up to date, answer customer questions and - best of all - meet our talented performers including the odd famous name. 

Since we’ve had this new space, desk workers have also had the fun of seeing Fringe buskers performing on the paved area just outside. Plus it is absolutely the place to be if you want to find out which shows are going down a storm with reviewers and audiences.

Traditionally we have often had young people aged 16 and above helping at the Desk and it remains a brilliant way to get something really impressive on your CV. The variety of activities involved means you can gain experience in areas as diverse as marketing, events management, journalism, retail, arts administration, market research and much more. Here are some of the things young volunteers have said about us in the past:

"Volunteering at the Fringe desk is a fantastic way to gain an insight into how a major arts festival is run. I loved meeting the performers and being able to help the public, as well as having the freedom to be creative in decorating the desk displays."

"When I volunteered with the Buxton Fringe Festival, I was a part of a fun, helpful, engaging workforce.”

“The best moments that I had when volunteering for the Fringe were helping the customers and members of the public out with the questions that they had, and also it was the free flapjacks…”

It is helpful if you can offer to do more than one shift at the Fringe Desk because the more familiar you are with everything, the more useful you are and the more fun it all becomes! We’d also love to extend the invitation to out-going people of any age who would like to get involved at the desk and enjoy a little Fringe stardust. 

If you’d like to know more, why not email or see our website for further information on all the different ways you can support the Fringe - and not just during July.


Buxton Fringe

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Tuesday 22 February 2022

Venues - Vital Tips for Fringe Entrants

So you're planning on entering the Buxton Festival Fringe and need some inspiration for booking a venue? I get the lowdown from our friendly venues team.


“It’s a mistake to sit back and relax thinking July’s ages away”, advises long term Fringer, Pam. “If you want to get your ideal venue in terms of size, location and cost, you need to be quick off the mark.” And with dates at the popular Green Man Gallery already nearly fully booked, there’s no time to lose. As she says: "It's best to get the venue sorted and make your entry ASAP to take advantage of our discounted entry rates." 


Venues colleague Sandra adds: “We have over 50 venues on our books, with everything from pubs, cafes and church halls to outside spaces such as parks, woods and bandstands. There’s even a cave!”  


So something to suit any type of show? “Yes, the range is huge, performers can find the full list with details on our website”, she tells me. See


I ask the pair to pick out a few examples to demonstrate the wide range of choice. After a lot of discussion I beat them down to five examples


With a prime location in central Buxton, longstanding Fringe favourites Underground at The Clubhouse offer full technical support including lighting and sound as well as ticket sales. Underground have announced they are now taking bookings. Find full details on Underground at no.21 on our venues list.


Located just outside town on the A515, The High Peak Bookstore has been gaining popularity with Fringe performers over recent years. The cafe and store makes a lovely setting for spoken word performances but would also suit more intimate music and theatre acts. The Bookstore is listed at no.30.


Back in Buxton, The Arches is a brick-vaulted space set in an old corn mill. This quirky and unique performance space is under new management and they are keen to host Fringe events. Find the Arches at no.110 on the venues page.


The elegant Victorian Pump Room, located bang opposite the Crescent Hotel, houses Buxton’s Visitor Centre during the day and can be hired as a venue in the evenings. This year the Pump Room will be offering Fringe entrants free 20-minute daytime slots every day of the Fringe in which to advertise their events. The free showcase slots must be booked in advance. Email them at Full details are under no.84.


Meanwhile Higher Buxton is home to a new kid on the block, The Eco Cafe. The team tells me that this recently opened venue offers a range of rooms with intimate and alternative atmospheres. It is listed at no.130.


So any final words of advice for entrants?


“Make sure you talk to the venue and have a checklist of the things that are important for you such as size, lighting, layout, support as well as cost”, says Pam. 


“If possible, visit the venue in advance and don’t forget to look at our venues page”, adds Sandra.


So don’t delay, get your venue sorted today!


To contact the venues team, contact the venues co-ordinator via

Buxton Fringe

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Tuesday 18 January 2022

Volunteering is rewarding with the Fringe

The beginning of a new year is a great time to take on new challenges and reflect on the last 12 months.

Back in April 2020 I wrote about joining the Fringe committee and, whilst enjoying the experience, not being sure about what role I could play to help support the team. Since then I've been involved in lots of things from delivering leaflets to ringing care homes, planting orange flowers, helping on the desk, writing blogs and reviewing performances.

But it was in November 2021 that things really changed for me.  November's Fringe AGM coincided with my 2-year anniversary of volunteering with the committee.

Best of all after 18 months of Zoom, the meeting was held in person at the Green Man Gallery. It was so exciting to meet performers, supporters, Fringe Friends and other committee members face to face and just to be able to chat.  In fact everyone was having such a good time that Chair Stephen had to call us to order more than once.

Then the serious business got going.  Stephen thanked all the performers who despite the lack of opportunities to rehearse brought such great acts to the Fringe this year. He thanked the Friends for their ongoing support and venues for keeping audiences and performers safe.

Then it was time to elect officers of the Fringe.  Stephen seemed slightly surprised that no one wanted to stand against him as Chair (no fear, we've all seen how much work it is). 

Somewhat to my surprise I found myself nominated as Secretary, taking over from the lovely Gaye. Thankfully Gaye is still going to run the Fringe Desk so I just have to take the notes at meetings, which sounds easy doesn't it? But then I found myself getting caught up in the discussions as I usually do and only remembering just in time to write down decisions and actions!

There's such a range of activities that you can get involved in and the committee are all so welcoming, I've been able to use my existing skills and more excitingly, developed new ones.

So I really didn't need to have worried about finding my niche and for the next 12 months at least that's going to be as Fringe Secretary.

If you're looking for a volunteering opportunity then don't hesitate get in touch; we'd love to meet you!

If you would like to find out more about getting involved with the Fringe or becoming a Friend click here 

Carole Garner