Buxton Festival Fringe

Layout 1When you pick up a Buxton Festival Fringe brochure you cannot fail to be impressed by the sheer number of events being staged in the town during the 18-day arts spectacular.

There are more than 150 acts and a staggering 600 individual performances across more than 30 venues.

And the brochure itself is a work of art, featuring the winning cover design, above,  by Derby University Illustration student Helen McIvor.

Comedy, as always, is top of the bill, with many comics performing at underground venues and bound for Edinburgh.

This year the highlights include Terry Christian with his Naked Confessions of a Recovering Catholic, Morgan Berry (aka Joe Rowntree from Dave’s One Night Stand), ‘Invisible Woman’ Maxine Jones and Alfie Moore (both from Radio 4), ‘sweary Joyce Grenfell’ Claire Cogan, Three’s Company with two family-friendly comedies, and John Cooper, who was a cult hit a few years ago as Danny Pensive.

Fun for families includes five-times Fringe Award-winning poet Mark Gwynne Jones, Theo the Mouse, from Sooty writer Wink Taylor, and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland from Box Tale Soup.

There are also masses of acts in the music, theatre spoken word and dance categories and visual arts displays all over the town.

Among the diverse music treats are Fringe favourites, Partita with renaissance and baroque music, Amaretti Chamber Orchestra, Aprille and the Shower with American bluegrass, Tideswell Male Voice Choir, City of Manchester Opera, Mart Rodger Manchester Jazz, Sovereign Saxophone Octet and from South Africa, a cappella group Simply Soweto Encha, a hit last year on the Pump Room Roof.

The musicians of award-winning early music ensemble Partita will celebrate their 20th anniversary of performance with two different programmes – Jewells of Sounde which includes music from Hildegard to Handel and will be performed at St John’s Church on July 17, at 7.30pm and Soundes and Sweete Ayres, which is music from early renaissance to baroque, at Buxton Methodist Church on July 24, at1pm.

Theatre is also very strong with the return of acclaimed groups such as Butterfly with Dracula’s Women Underground, enticingly performed in Poole’s Cavern, and Freerange Theatre, this year reprising Spoonface Steinberg as well as bringing a new show, Phillipa and Will Are Now in a Relationship.

Amercians Bern and Betsy Budd who were at the Underground Venues the first year it opened are returning to the festival with  Mark Twain’s The Diaries of Adam and Eve.

In this piece, adapted by Budd from Twain’s musings, we come to understand how Adam and Eve actually felt about each other and their surroundings.

Fringe chairman, Keith Savage said: “It’s also great to see artists and performers returning year after year and exciting to welcome new and young performers who see Buxton as a good place to present their work – often for the first time.

“You will be able to see a taster of what’s on offer at Fringe Sunday in the Pavilion Gardens on the afternoon of July 13.

“We have a new venture – Fringe at Five – also based in the Gardens. From 14-26 July, every afternoon from 5pm, for about half-an-hour, performers will be entertaining the crowds.”

Full details of all events can be found at http://www.buxtonfringe.org.uk   

Here are details of some of our favourites:

In a family show of wild imaginings, award-winning poet and performer, Mark Gwynne Jones invites you to meet the boy with the eye on his index finger, learn to escape school by becoming a cat and make friends with a giant toad.

Mark will be performing Wordworms! at the Buxton Pavilion Studio Theatre on July 18, 23 and 24.


The Haylo Theatre Company, founded last summer by Hayley Riley and Louise Evans, will be performing Over the Garden Fence.


Join rising star Joe Rowntree for an evening of character comedy – Morgan Berry: Pet Bereavement Counsellor.

Ever wondered when the problems in your life started? When things got so confusing and out of control? Join the world’s first 24-hour Pet Bereavement Counsellor to find out. He will cure all your problems. Come get and fixed and set yourself free. Underground Venues July 9, 16 and 23, 8.30pm.


Clouds Harp Quartet   are Angelina, Elfair, Esther and Rebecca and will be performing folk music written by Esther at the United Reformed Church, July 9, 7:30pm; Buckingham Hotel, July 14, 8pm; Buxton Museum and Art Gallery, July 17, 2pm (free entry)

and St Mary’s Church, July 17, 7:30pm.


Creative and joyous sound sensation from South Africa. Embark on a capella journey to feel uplifted and inspired by the unique fusion of soul, jazz, doo-wop, gospel and R ‘n’ B.

They were the winners of a Fringe Music Award in 2013. St John’s Church, July 21-24, 7.30-8.30pm. Bookings via the Opera House.


Charles Adrian Gillott as Samantha Mann presents Stories About Love, Death and a Rabbit –  an hour of tales about the life and loves of a well-meaning spinster librarian whose best friend has left her holding the rabbit.

He is performing at Underground Venues on July 10 & 11, 8.30-9.30 and July 13 & 15, 10-11pm. It follows the story of Annabelle and her grandmother Dolly and their heartfelt, amusing and often frustrating journey as they come to terms with the onset of dementia – July 23, 7.30pm at The Pavilion Arts Studio.


Roland Gent – Would you give up a high-flying sales job to manage England’s worst radio station? One music fan rocked on against an inner city background of gangsters, burnt out cars and illegal dog fighting. Radio isn’t as glamorous as it sounds – comic tales of the airwaves. Underground Venues July 14, 8.30pm; July 19, 5.45pm; July 20, 10pm and July 21, 8.30pm.


Trace Taylor has a growing reputation as an inspiring song-writer and engaging performer. Trace, from Congleton and her band bring you a feast of self-penned material, along with some covers that will leave you wanting more. She is performing at Spring Bank Arts Centre, New Mills, July 12, 7.15pm. A pound from each ticket sale goes to CAFOD.org.uk.