Glasses half full in Buxton
The baton of Fringe Blogger (or should that be Binge Flogger?) is not an easy one to pass on. Not so much the baton, perhaps, as this particular Blog site which is not always the easiest or most intuitive one you'll ever find. For the time being no pics but just a few words.
In three months time we'll be in the midst of Buxton Fringe and Festival 2012. Tickets for the main Festival are now on public sale and some events are sold out already. We can't know who or what floats your boat but to avoid disappointment check it out soon.
The Fringe now has over 100 entries and 300 performances or events listed. Entries close in less than 2 weeks but it is likely that we'll have a Fringe of similar size to 2010 and 2011 - that is around 150 entries and 600 performances. Whatever gloomy news there may be, The Arts in Buxton are flourishing. This optimism on the part of musicians, actors, writers, artists and performers of all sorts is welcome and exciting.
Mind you the mindset in Buxton is pretty positive right now. Regular visitors will be aware that the architectural jewel and centrepiece of the town - the Crescent - has been closed for the best part of 20 years and umpteen proposals for its development have been aired. Finally contracts have been signed for its development as a Spa Hotel. Work starts soon and completion in 2014 is scheduled.
Whatever you might think about the Olympics - and it is fair to say that reports of unconfined excitement would be premature - the fact is that the Olympic torch will be carried through the streets of just one town in the High Peak - Buxton on June 29th. That will be excuse enough for widespread jollity and the Fringe will be playing its part.
Finally, for now, local traders and businesses in the town have put together a bid for funding through the Portas Project to begin some developments that would help 'rebrand' the town and bring a stonger sense of purpose to town life. Even if the funding bid fails there are grounds for optimism that Buxton will thrive rather than wither. So we look forward to seeing you in Buxton in July confident that you'll find us with our glasses more than half full.
Welcome to Fringe 2012
Oranges (naturally) and Pomegranates (oh, well).Just because it's been quiet here for the past six months it doesn't mean that nothing has happened but it is time to break our silence. It's mild and windy - hibernation is over.
Fringe 2012 is well and truly up-and-running and there are some cracking events to look forward to. The Military Tattoo is back - for the third year. It is the biggest indoor event in town and tickets are already selling fast at the Opera House. It sold out in 2010 and 2011 so don't hang around - get your tickets NOW! Saturday July 7th at the Dome.
The biggest event underground last year was the rapid version of Macbeth in Poole's Cavern. All nine shows sold out in double quick time. I for one missed out. Anyway the same company - Butterfly - is returning in July. A Midsummer Night's Dream this time - with a software busting 27 performances. That will be over 1000 tickets but it will still be sold-out if the excitement of last year is repeated. First performance on Wednesday July 4th which, it so happens, is Day 1 of Fringe 2012.
Other things to put straight in the diary are: the Jet Collective's music offering The Derbyshire Suite. A jazzy affair at the Methodist Church on July 18th - for one night only. A new musical - Prophet - is at the Burbage Institute on July 14/15. Looks good for all the family.
Finally, for now, the Olympic torch will be carried through Buxton on Friday June 29th. It will be a day of celebration and some chaos (which can be a good thing). Contributing to the event will be some sort of musical offering on the Bandstand in the Pavilion Gardens. A whole host and plethora of local musicians will be entertaining early evening - come rain or shine. Keep looking out for more news.
Fringe Sunday Programme - exclusive!
Fringe Sunday is now firmly established as one of Buxton's entertainment highlights for the whole family - and it's free!. Fringe Sunday is on the first Sunday (no surprise there) of every Fringe - so this year's event is just a week away. Join us in the Pavilion Gardens around the Bandstand from 2.00 on 10th July to be entertained by:
On the Bandstand - Local Vocals (Buxton's own community choir); Ed Billingham - a virtuos classical guitarist; Kooky Babooshka - a comic quartet from Manchester; the Belly Dance Flames - crowd-pleasers making a welcome return to Fringe Sunday; Richard Taylor - a guitarist on a Harmony Tour; Perry Huntsman and Hilary Felstead - a popular local folk duo; the Ashrow Theatre Company with extracts from Being Nice a play by Mark Niel who performed on Fringe Sunday in 2010; Glass Ankle a band from Manchester with Japanese influences; Victor Barstool (pictured above) with songs from Flat on my back seeing stars will close the show from the Bandstand.
Elsewhere - in the Gazebo you can see/hear: Birdy Chick Chick doing time travelling comedic nonsense (their words); extracts from physical theatre by Nose2Nose which promises tears and cheers; there will be close-up magic from High Peak Magicians; GC Morgan will performing excerpts from Witzelsucht & Moria a new play.
Finally - and perhaps bravest of all - a number of performers will be promenading around the Gardens looking for an audience and performimng wherever they find one, so look out for: jwpoetry with Our Little Green Book of Children's Verse; little GIANT productions with The Enormous Turnip and Other Stories; High Peak Magicians will be stopping and amazing all around the place; Catfoot Theatre Compnay will be doing bits from their show Cowboy Baby; members of the Arden Theatre cast will be introducing us to their play Gold Flower's Story which retells events from the Chinese revolution. Three of these acts come from the For Families category in the Fringe programme and we're delighted that free entertainment will be so widely available for children and their carers.
Did I say 'finally'? - what was I thinking of! In the children's tent their will be balloon modelling and face painting - two different people, but who is to know, they might change places.
Let's leave the final word with Victor Barstool, who - if he can stay on his feet - will bring the whole thing to what can only be described as an unforgettable climax:
Victor Barstool’s long-running dispute with his girl backing singers goes public when Barstool and his band appear at Buxton bandstand on Fringe Sunday.
The girls Bubble & Squeak are fed up of doing Sha La La’s and Doobie Doos and want stardom themselves.
Victor and the girls will be promoting ‘Flat on My Back and Seeing Stars’ the third successive Buxton Festival Fringe Show for Dolls House productions. It stars Deirdre Costello as Victor’s long suffering girlfriend Wanda K Lutz, backing singers Emma Shanks and Victoria Plum. Music is by Jim Lampard, who also plays sax and Alan Charnley who also plays Victor.
The story of Barstool who claims to have influenced music all time greats including Bowie and Kraftwerk, but struggles with his personal life, is showing at Buxton’s Grove Hotel on Saturday July 23, 8pm.
Last year Alan played Elvis Presley, John Lennon and Karen Carpenter in ‘Come Back To Blackpool Karen Carpenter’ which sold out at the Fringe and transferred very successfully to the Pavilion Arts Theatre.
Deirdre has had a long career in television, film and radio and is best known for her performance in ‘The Fully Monty.’ Jim plays sax locally in the Boogiemen.
Flat on My Back Seeing Stars is a flashback through Victor’s life and features original songs about his battles with paranoia, drink, serial-killer girlfriends, stage fright and fear of nursery rhymes. Tickets are available from the Opera House or by calling 07960 647 814.
Crime in the Gardens
Those of you local to Buxton have probably been scouring the pages of the Advertiser looking for news of this Blogger's death. Disappointed to find no news no doubt you've tossed the paper into the re-cycling box. Well don't do that to this week's paper for it contains a 16-page bumper pull-out feature on your favourite Festival and its attendant Fringe. I'm glad not to be in the obituary pages of course. It's all been busy, busy, busy.
Part of the busyness has been in getting out and about promoting the Fringe. A week today and we'll be on Day 2 of Fringe 2011 already - Day 1 forever just a memory fading like a favoured old tee-shirt. But enough of this poetry.
Buxton is emphatically not the crime-capital of the universe but the pinching of posters from public railings was never going to make the headlines even here. However, apparently it is true. Honest people have been putting up clean and decent posters promoting local events only to find that the next day some scoundrel has removed them. You could call it tidiness; some prefer to brand it theft.
Anyway here we present photographic evidence - not of theft - but of lawful postering. Stephanie Billen - our glamorous and ever-youthful Chairperson - has been out and about talking to people about the Fringe in general and Fringe Sunday (July 10th) in particular. Currently posters advertising Fringe Sunday are to be seen in the Pavilion Gardens. A very full programme for Fringe Sunday is promised - details to follow very soon. We can also promise a sensational new feature - the Bandstand will be decorated with its own Orange Fringe, the product of art workshops held with young people across the High Peak in recent weeks.
A couple of events open next Wednesday on Day 1 of the Fringe and don't hang around for long. So make sure you don't miss:
- Music and the Muse at the Methodist Church from 6-8 July. Singer Susie Self joins cellist Michael Christie in an exploration of life in England at the time of George V
- Our Little Green Book of Children's Verse can be heard at the United Reformed Church from 6-13 July (and on Fringe Sunday too).
No doubt you've been keeping up-to-date with our trendier, younger friends on Buxton Fringe Facebook where there are links too many to mention to video and music clips from some of the many artists about to transform Buxton.
The Fringe Information Desk will be set-up in the entrance to the Conservatory adjacent to the Opera House next Monday, 4th July. See you there!
2011 Programme Complete
Chapel-en-le-Frith Morris Men - Coombs, June 2010
The Buxton Fringe 2011 programme is now pretty much complete and the proof-read design is now with the printers. The programme will be ready in about 2 weeks and the formal launch takes place at the Pavilion Arts Centre of Friday June 10th. Tickets are still available for the Fringe First show featuring some recent Fringe favourites. Sam Dunkley comperes and there will be music by Fordante, comedy from Gerry Howell, magic from Piff the Magic Dragon plus proper acting from the Shakespeare Jukebox, Shadow Syndicate and After Dark Entertainment. Tickets are £8/£10. Friends of Buxton Fringe get discounts of £1.50 - so there'e an early reward for all Fringe Friends. To book go to the Opera House Box Office. You should also be able to get tickets for some Fringe shows from the Opera House Box Office now.
Fringe 2011 has over 160 shows and events and more than 550 performances to entice you over a period of just 19 days (6-24 July). Among the smaller categories are Film and Dance - so let's review your options here. There is just one entry in Dance this year - if that is disappointing, the good news that dance will be taking to the streets of Buxton on Saturday July 23rd. Our good friends from Chapel-en-le-Frith Morris Men are organising their annual day of morris and there will be 8 or so sides dancing around the town. Yes, people laugh at morris dancers and the dancers are hard enough to take it. All I can say is if you think it laughable try it out and see what hard work it is. Most Morris sides will rehearse through the autumn and winter and dance out many weekends in the spring and summer - often for local charities.
Much of the film on show has been chosen or presented by Buxton Film. There are half a dozen full length features - all uplifting in their own way. They range from Mike Leigh's most recent (with national treasure Jim Broadbent), a darkish comedy (Skeletons) filmed in the dales around Bonsall (20 miles south east of Buxton) to a high-energy Bollywood comedy Three Idiots. Films entered for this year's Open Shorts competition are to be screened at The Railway on Saturday July 16th. Also being screened are some archive-based documentaries about ice-cream makers in Manchester and a social history of the River Derwent from Hathersage to Derby. This has footage from the 1950s and anyone who has enjoyed times by or in the river will love the film. Go to www.buxtonfilm.org.uk for full programme details and film reviews.
The other film being screened provides an opportunity to see again a play from Finge 2010. The Last Laugh is on at The Railway on July 10 (8-9pm). The play deals with some difficult mental health questions and at the heart of it is a powerful performance by Fiona Paul.
Finally, for now - the Military Tattoo (Saturday, July 9th at the University of Derby's Dome building) is selling fast. In fact the evening performance is sold out and less than 100 tickets remain for the afternoon show. This is phenomenal and makes it the biggest show in Buxton this summer!
Brian, Helen and Ed
Graham Chapman - in The Life of BrianAmongst the very many pleasures of the Buxton Festival Fringe is the sense of anticipation created as the programme unfolds and new shows are announced. As the March 31st deadline arrived two shows in particular took the eye of some of us.
Three's Company and George Telfer are working together on a new play written by Tom Crawshaw. Not the Messiah tells something of the life of Graham Chapman - whose early death accounts in part for the fact that his contribution to the Monty Python legend is often so overlooked. Anyway the combination of some of Buxton's favourite young sons (3s C) plus the much loved and equally talented George Telfer and the life of the enigmatic Chapman make this a mouth-watering prospect.
Radio 4 fans - and we suspect that there are at least several among you - have two special treats. Helen Keen - fresh from her It Is Rocket Science! triumph - brings (Robot) Woman of the Future to Buxton. The ever-complaining Ed Reardon (brought to perfect life by Christopher Douglas) is also in Buxton this summer. Chapman, Keen and Reardon will all be on at Underground Venues - actually three separate venues. Full details of these - and all UV events - will be confirmed after Easter. So keep an eye on the website.
Finally, for now, spare a thought for the cast of Butterfly's Macbeth. Apart from all the superstition attached to the Scottish play the actors risk frozen digits. They are putting on three shows a night in Poole's Cavern (temperature 8 degrees celsius). They have put together a brisk 60 minute version which shows some consideration for the audience but more than three hours in the caves, for 5 nights (11-15 July), will be an endurance test.
There are now 109 separate events entered for Fringe 2011 - more than ever before at this date. We're on course for around 170 shows all told. There are many, many delights and curiosities to be explored. Start looking before the diversion of Easter egg hunting arrives.
Fringe 2011 is little over 100 days away - someone might give me an exact number but I'm not counting on it. Before we attend to Fringe matters though we should point out that the Buxton Opera festival programme is now available. Sporting an excited cover
by local artist Rob Wilson the programme is impressively designed. Tickets go on general sale on April 4th - there is still a week left for Festival Friends' to make priority bookings. No doubt some celebrity recitals are sold-out already. For those that are not regular opera goers and are nervous at paying up to £57 for trying it out - well the £10 tickets are OK. The view can be a bit limited and the back support isn't great (you'll have to make your own judgement as to whether your body can stand this - don't sue us) but you're unlikely to come away feeling that you've wasted your money. In recent years the Festival has presented opera by Donizetti to critical acclaim. Last year's Luisa Miller
was fab - though I don't think that was the word the Times
critic used. This year's Donizetti is Maria di Rohan
. Also on offer is Handel's Saul
with TV star and early music heart-throb Harry Christophers conducting. Now Handel died in 1759 and even my limited history education tells me that he could not have set his opera after World War II.
No doubt Handel will survive the updating.
Absolutely free at the Festival are the Sunday morning masses at St John's. Haydn masses are sung on 10th and 17th July and on 24th is Victoria's O magnum mysterium
Amongst the literary events this year is Betsy Tobin talking about her novel Crimson China
which is set around the experiences of Chinese migrant workers of Morecambe Bay. Betsy is at the Lee Wood Hotel on July 14th at 3pm. One of the intriguing events at Fringe 2011 makes use of Betsy's novel. Titled BOOKS IN THE PARK
members of Books in the Peak
will run a free workshop on setting up a book club. Join them in their teepee for a sample meeting where they will discuss the first chapter of Crimson China
. Find out more at www.booksinthepeak.wordpress.com
and be at the Pavilion Gardens, on the Old Bowling Green on 23 July at 11.00 to 12:30pm or 1pm to 2:30pm.
Quite, quite different but exciting will be the shows by Mart Rodgers' trad jazz outfit. Their programmes will include classic jazz tunes and inspiration from Fats Waller, Louis Armstrong, The Ink Spots, evergreens, ballads and even some band originals. Catch them at The Railway on 8th and 22nd July 8pm to 10:30pm.
Blogrades and Blogradeship
Landscape by Alan Bailey
I thought the Buxton Advertiser
had put a shiny new link to this Blog on its website the other day. That being the case I thought I should do some housework in case some new visitors turned up. However the link seems to have gone again - so it's back to dossing around on the sofa.
Before we catch up with any Fringe news - supposing we do - here's a link to a Buxton-themed Blog I came across today. It won't appeal to everyone but we Bloggers need to stick together so in the spirit of Blogradeship (see if we can get this new word into the Oxford dictionary this lifetime) I offer it up:
http://europeanfootballweekends.blogspot.com/2011/03/buxton-v-fc-halifax-town.htmlAnyway Buxton Fringe is temporarily resting with 73 entries for this July - the closing date is just 38 days away, which is considerably sooner than the start of the 2012 Olympics so you won't have to contain your excitement for too much longer.
Day One of the Fringe does feature a strong medal contestant though. And it's not in Buxton either. At The Packhorse Inn, Crowdecote - where they do very decent food - you can see and hear poetry legends Roy Fisher and Ian McMillan. So that's Wednesday, July 6th, 7.30-9.30. Crowdecote is south of Buxton on the A515. You'll probably need a car - and a driver who won't drink.
You've got no excuse for missing an exhibition of painting and photography in Buxton itself. Alan Bailey has been part of the Fringe since the very beginning - and chaired the Fringe Festival for many years. I first met hime about 20 years ago when he sang, accompanied by a pianist, as well as exhibited his watercolours. I don't think Alan would mind my saying that his professional singing days are probably behind him now - but he does have a special birthday this year and is marking it with a new exhibition. He is sharing the space with his photographer daughter Judith Kelly and the exhibition is at 134 Green Lane. Check the programme for dates, hours and contact details.
On the Visual Arts front there are at least two other interesting events going on in Buxton homes. Kate Aimson is leading a textile mosaics workshop. You are invited to be inspired by Kate's design and pattern library, and make your own textile mosaic picture to take home. All materials and equipment provided. Lunch, tea/coffee also included. There are limited places, so for further details and to book, phone Kate on 01298 24897. The workshop will be at 4 Wyatville Avenue on 15-16 July, 10am to 4pm and costs £25.
Not from from Alan Bailery and Judith Kelly you'll find Dawn Featherstone displaying her work. Dawn's work includes prints and paintings with a strong local landscape influence.
13 Ecclesbourne Dr, Buxton. 16-17 July 11am to 4pm.