Biggest Ever Buxton Fringe!
Buxton Festival Fringe is boasting its biggest Fringe ever and will be celebrating the launch of its newly-designed programme with an open-to-all party at Buxton's The Green Man Gallery on Friday June 3rd from 7-10pm.
The event will feature light refreshments and show extracts from Fringe performers plus a chance to sign up as a Fringe Friend for offers and invitations throughout the year as well as 10% off ticket prices.
Entries for the Fringe closed in April with a whopping 186 entrants offering over 500 individual performances. Now in its 38th year, the biggest UK Fringe between Edinburgh and Brighton takes place between July 5 and 23 in parallel with the Buxton International Festival and features substantial Theatre, Comedy and Music sections as well as Dance, Film, For Families, Spoken Word, Street Theatre, Film, Visual Arts and more in venues ranging from a state-of-the-art theatre to a disused industrial fridge!
Entrants come from all over the UK and beyond. Music and Theatre have seen the biggest increase in numbers. Some sparkling and diverse musical attractions include Chamber Opera Chicago with a musical version of Jane Austen’s Persuasion, South African voices from Africa Entsha; award-winning harpist Alice Kirwan; New Orleans jazz pianist Dale Storr; City of Manchester Opera; Annette Gregory celebrating Ella Fitzgerald’s 100th anniversary; 100 Young Musicians from Nottingham and Germany; Finnish songs from Enkelit; and several high-profile collaborations with Buxton International Festival such as the Jay Rayner Quartet.
Theatre explodes across Buxton in a number of different venues. Underground Venues has moved to The Old Clubhouse and boasts shows including Lucky Dog’s Hats Off to Laurel and Hardy; Breathe Out Theatre’s Dark Satanic and The Ladder by the award-winning Helen Rutter. New managed venue, the Rotunda, a geodesic dome, has a wide programme ranging from South African musical Stimela “The Gumboot”, to Grist to the Mill’s Call Mr Robeson drama. Elsewhere there is Alice in Wonderland Underground in Poole’s Cavern, a one-man King Lear at the United Reformed Church and avant-garde theatre from Jeu Jeu La Foille at the Green Man Gallery, among many others.
A large comedy category includes Canadian Bobby Mair and Australian stand-up Adam Vincent, Funny Woman Award Winner Harriet Braine and award-winning Fringe favourites such as Nathan Cassidy and cop-turned-comic Alfie Moore.
In smaller categories, the true variety of the Fringe becomes clear with everything from electrifying flamenco from dotdotdot dance (this time in a performance with soprano Gillian Keith) to circus-themed acrobatics in the forest from Whispering Woods. In Visual Arts, the spectacular Great Dome Art Fair returns while an eloquent Spoken Word section includes the popular Glummer Twins and psychiatric nurse Rob Gee’s Alzheimer’s Whodunnit.
Despite the international nature of this year’s Fringe, about a fifth of 2017’s entrants hail from SK or ST postcodes, so it is clear there is a large amount of local talent. Highlights include the return of Buxton Art Trail featuring local artists in their homes and studios, an eclectic selection of Short Films from the thriving Buxton Film, and an entire mini-festival at nearby Chelmorton where events range from a quilt exhibition to a crime writers’ forum. Several anniversaries are being celebrated including St Mary’s Church’s 100th year marked by Simon Mercer ‘s Centenary Organ Recital, and popular singer Darren Poyzer celebrating 30 years in the profession. Former Community School student and creative writing graduate Blythe Aimson will be offering a creative writing workshop for the first time at the Fringe, while regulars stone and water offer something new with their Buxton Pride Picnic. Marrying both the local and exotic, Wallflower Dance meanwhile take Fringe-goers to Cuba with their salsa evening, A Night in Havana, at South 16.
Art for all
Buxton Fringe's philosophy is that art is for all and Fringe organisers spread the word by entering a float in the Buxton Carnival and promoting a free open-air showcase of Fringe events called Fringe Sunday (this year July 9). Fringe at Five, a busking opportunity for performers; takes place at the Bandstand in Buxton's Pavilion Gardens at 5pm from July 10-22. Many other events are free, including most of the Visual Arts section, and these are listed on the website’s Fringe for Free page. It will also be helping to celebrate World Fringe Day on July 11 - watch this space!
The Fringe, a member of BAFA and the Derbyshire festivals organisation Festivity, also conducts community initiatives such as providing work experience for local students and encouraging entrants to perform in schools, care homes and youth organisations.
The free printed programme will be widely distributed from the beginning of June but there is no need to wait till then to know what is happening. Events are fully listed on the Fringe website www.buxtonfringe.org.uk.
Fringe chair Keith Savage adds: “In 2017 the world fringe movement is 70 years old – and there will be special celebrations on Tuesday 11th July. Buxton will be celebrating in style as part of what promises to be our most exciting festival yet. We work closely with the University of Derby - our long-standing sponsors - so that we can share and learn together. High Peak Borough Council and its staff at the Pavilion Gardens have also been brilliant in supporting us as has the Trevor Osborne Charitable Trust.”