The Buxton Fringe starts today!
If you don’t know The Buxton Fringe, it’s a great festival for audience and performers alike. Despite being relatively little-known outside the immediate area, it’s actually the second largest Fringe in England, and has seen a huge growth in the last ten years or so. It runs for three weeks, right before Edinburgh, so loads of great theatre-makers and comedians bring work for previews with a friendly audience on their way up, and the same ones return year on year.
The audiences are friendly and eager to drink in as much theatre as possible, and generally keen to offer feedback in the bars afterwards, often with discerning points to make! There’s not much press coverage outside the local area, but they’re working to change this, and both Fringe Guru and Fringe Review have been known to make an appearance.
But this year we are visiting as audience members. And we thought it might be useful to pick out some interesting highlights we’ve spotted in the programme, for other people who are fans of the same sort of work as us.
So, here are a few that caught our eye. They’re loosely divided into three categories:
- People we know (and know are good)
- Shows about Shakespeare (or by Shakespeare)
- All-Female Theatre (and shows about feminism)
The list may not be exhaustive – shout if we’ve missed anything. We put stars by the ones we’re most excited about. But those are just educated guesses…
People We Know
*Shakespearience (Three’s Company)
We don’t have a show this year, but this is the closest thing we have!
A loving homage to all things Shakespeare, this spoof is written and directed by one of our Associate Directors, Tom Crawshaw. The five-strong cast includes Yaz Al-Shaater (another of our directors) and Emma Nixon (who was in our Titus Andronicus), and our very own Artistic Director assisted on the project.
We’re biased, but this is going to be good…
*Hans My Hedgehog (Anna Beecher)
Created and performed by our amazingly talented in-house Dramaturg, Anna Beecher, we’re dead excited about this follow-up to her show at the BAC last year. Check out http://hansmyhog.tumblr.com for more info.
Around The World In 80 Days (Rec Theatre)
Tom also wrote this play for the local young people’s group.
The Adventure Machine (Three’s Company)
A choose-your-own-adventure-style piece of comedy theatre… and yet another play written by Tom! He’s in this one, along with Yaz, Emma, and the rest of the Shakesperience cast.
Back Door (Off-Off-Off-Broadway)
A reworking of Alfred Hitchcock’s “Rear Window” set in 1920s Paris, with cross dressing, beautiful sets, and video projection. We’re big fans of The Off-Off-Off-Broadway Company, whose work always manages to challenge gender and social norms while still being fun and oh-so-stylishly presented.
*Shakespeareance (Three’s Company)
*Coriolanus (Uproot Theatre)
Performed by only two men!? This is likely to be amazing. Uproot Theatre‘s show last year was one of our highlights.
The Shakespeare Jukebox (Buxton Drama League)
This fun event happens every year, playing outside Buxton Opera House to the bemused audiences of the “real” (opera) festival. Always great fun, and it’s free – just chuck in a few quid and it all goes to charity.
As You Like It (JM Youth Productions)
Don’t know much about this one, but it’s one of our favourite plays.
Shakespeare’s Music (K’antu Ensemble)
“K’antu Ensemble explores Shakespearian Songs and Dances evoking the spirit of Elizabethan England.” Sounds fun!
*Because She Loved The Lion (Lady Parts Theatre)
From a new writing company based in Liverpool which specialises in creating strong roles for women.
Because She Loves the Lion “uses fairytale, comic misunderstanding and storytelling to explore a mothers desire to protect her daughter”.
We reckon this’ll be a good’n…
Swan Canaries (Arletty Theatre)
We think it’s all-female, but either way this musical tells an interesting story: all about the women who filled shells during the First World War.
One Woman Shows
Would you believe, there are only two all-female theatre shows we could find on the fringe, with more than one actor on stage? However, one-woman shows count, and in this area the fringe excels!
*Hans My Hedgehog (Anna Beecher)
*Phone Whore (Cameryn Moore)
“A one-act play with frequent interruptions”. Tales from a Canadian phone-sex worker. “Listen closely: she may change your views on sex forever.” Sounds brilliant.
*Shrew (Ami Jones)
A one woman play about a woman who is often talked about but never spoken to.
“A play about what it means to be someone, what it means to be a woman, and what it means to be trapped in our own underwhelming destinies.”
Really excited about this one.
Toast (Ruth E. Cockburn)
We’ve seen Ruth at Buxton and few times and she’s a brilliant, bold, honest and hilarious stand-up. Definitely worth seeing!
Too Cool To Care (Lolie Ware)
About her “life as a carer for her father with Alzheimer’s and her wheelchair-bound mother”. Recommended by Female Arts.
Fashionably Late (Ginny Davis)
We’ve missed Ginny‘s shows the last two fringes, but they’ve always sold out and they’re supposed to be brilliant.
Invisible Woman (Maxine Jones)
Now she casts off her invisibility cloak and makes a scene. Typical woman. As featured on BBC R4’s Woman’s Hour
Finding Me (Carol Robson)
Comedy / Poetry about coming to terms with gender and sexuality.
When The Band Begins To Play (Patricia Hartshorne)
A World War I cabaret of horror and humour, from another Buxton Fringe regular, we’re told.
WOW (Craft Theatre Company)
A one-woman show about online gaming.
An Extraordinary Light (Breathe Out Theatre)
One woman show about the largely unrecognised work of DNA scientist Rosalind Franklin.
The Bite Size Show (Claire Cogan)
One-woman character comedy.
Feminism for Chaps
This is technically all-male. Well, it’s a one-man stand-up show. But the title caught our eye. It’s from Andrew Watts, who “didn’t realise he was a feminist – until now.”
What do you reckon? Have you been to the Buxton Fringe? How do you think it compares to Edinburgh and Brighton?
Let us know your thoughts below and what you’re excited about (or performing) – and shout if we’ve missed anything!