Chair Keith Savage welcomed performers and supporters, paying tribute to a notable absentee, the late Peter Low, a long-standing Fringe chair through the 1990s who remained active behind the scenes and is much missed by the committee.
He went on to thank all the Fringe entrants as well as the enthusiastic audiences who had attended the nearly 600 separate performances.
He said: “It has been about coming together – to sing, to laugh, to watch, to tell stories…. What has happened in this Fringe represents us at our best.”
The awards process, he said, was “more of an art than a science” but he explained that the judging panel had worked hard to acknowledge the “especially imaginative, creative, exciting and stimulating”, whilst trying to avoid the term “best”.
In an exceptional theatre category, the production award went to the exhilarating Around the World in 80 Days from Curious Grin Productions. Acting awards went to Jamie Robertson for War of the Worlds and Ellie Wade in Around the World in 80 Days. Katharine Armitage picked up the New Writing accolade for the superb After Party.
In youth theatre the production award went to Two Yolks Theatre for The Small Things while Ellie Burke from the Buxton-based REC Theatre received a Young Actor award for The Ash Girl.
Other local winners included Buxton Drama League’s The Shakespeare Jukebox for Street Theatre and Buxton Film’s Open Shorts for Film .
The phenomenal Dotdotdot dance won the Dance Award for the second year with their flamenco while in other smaller categories, Jemima Foxtrot won Spoken Word for Unholy Mess and Belper-based Vintage Café from the Past Lives Project, a late entry to the Fringe, won Other Events.
Music was as ever a very large section and several awards were made. The Peak District String Orchestra Concert won Large Ensemble, Manchester’s Partita won Small Ensemble, Sheffield’s Albion won Vocal Performance and Dale Storr, also from Sheffield, picked up Solo Musician for his New Orleans Piano.
A large and diverse Visual Arts category resulted in an award for the ambitious Buxton Art Trail and awards for two artists: Zen Zamojski, whose work can be seen in the Derbyshire Open at Buxton Museum, and Buxton-based Sarah Brindley who won a Community Artist award for her exciting 3-D work with adults with learning difficulties.
In Comedy, TV and radio stars Max & Ivan won the Show award while Rob Gee walked away with the Individual award for his show Fruitcake: Ten Commandments from the Psych Ward.
In other areas, The Kagools won the For Families award, the hardworking and creative FoolSize Theatre, ubiquitous during the Fringe, won the Spirit of the Fringe award and Sparkle and Beast’s imaginative I am Beast picked up the John Beecher award for original, challenging work with high production values.
The event ended with a heartfelt vote of thanks and a tribute to Fringe chair Keith Savage from John Phillips, representing the Fringe’s sponsor, The University of Derby.
The full list of awards and nominations can be found on the Fringe website: http://www.buxtonfringe.org.uk/awards2015.html