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Buxton Festival Fringe


4th – 22nd July 2918

The Fringe is now over for 2017. Our 2017 coverage is below.

Buxton was a huge Fringe this year, loaded with theatre, comedy, a lot of terrific music, spoken word and an impressive amount of local and youth arts making.

We are always happy to recommend shows we’ve seen elsewhere and work we value.

Essential  Links

Visit the main Buxton Festival Fringe web site.

Browse the programme

Join them on Facebook.

Follow them on Twitter.

Guest Blog: Nigel Osner shares his Unexpected Hazards at Buxton Fringe

Key venues:

Visit the Underground Venues web site

Visit the Green Man Gallery web site

Visit the Buxton Opera House web site (Also bookings for the United Reform Church and other venues – see the Buxton Fringe web site)

Visit the Rotuna Theatre web site 

Visit the Scrivener’s Bookshop web site

Our Recommended Shows at Buxton Fringe 2017

Angel to Vampire

We saw this at the Edinburgh Fringe and highly recommended it. “Gabriel has quit his job in heaven to play jazz in New Orleans, while a vampire eyes the audience for his next snack. Intimate and engaging cabaret journey through a lifetime of yearning, featuring original songs and a host of quirky characters.”


Hat’s Off to Laurel and Hardy

Also highly rated by FringeReview, “This is a play about the lives of Arthur Stanley Jefferson (Stan) and Norvell Hardy (Ollie). The show will guide you through their early lives, rise to international stardom, decline of their movie careers and their phoenix-like revival on the stages of Europe. It details their commitment, the appreciation of their fans, the love of their wives and – most enduringly – their unerring devotion to each other. Expect to laugh your socks off before having your heart broken.”


Call Mr Robeson

A FringeReview Outstanding theatre award winning performer, “Tayo Aluko revives one of the 20th Century’s most impressive but overlooked figures in this powerful, compelling tour-de-force performance, which was seen at New York’s Carnegie Hall in February 2012, and in London’s West End in October 2013. “

Also, a must see, is Aluko’s other show at the Fringe, Just an Ordinary Lawyer, “Nigerian Tunji Sowande quietly breaks through multiple barriers to become Britain’s first Black judge in 1978. Also a fine concert singer and keen cricket lover, he muses on international politics and history as they affect the Black world from Africa to the USA and Britain, from the point of view of one who would rather watch sports, and spread love and peace through the medium of song.Recalling heroic sporting achievements alongside epoch-defining political events, Tayo Aluko follows the multi-award-winning Call Mr. Robeson with another “brilliantly put together history lesson delivered as art.”


The Unknown Soldier

Rated Outstanding by FringeReview at the Edinburgh Fringe, here’s “A story of comradeship, betrayal and of promises both broken and kept following the carnage of World War One. An Official Edinburgh Fringe 2016 sell out show by award nominated writer of Casualties.”


Waiting for Gandalf 

credit: Esteljf, deviantart

It’s a free show. Chris Neville-Smith performs this Edinburgh Fringe hit, “Meet Kevin Brook, self-confessed fan of all things Lord of the Rings. On the night before ‘Gandalf’ signs a new movie companion book, Kevin waits for his idol. But what’s the real reason for his devotion?”


Twonkey’s Christmas in the Jungle

“Imagine if Malcolm McLaren had directed Rupert the Bear ,drunk, making it into an oddball curiosity set in a haunted theme park and you’re somewhere close.”

I want to see… at Buxton Fringe

Here’s our unique guide to help you find a show to see at Buxton. We’ve pulled out the popular, the weird and the eclectic. So, scan down and get booking!

I want to see…

… some improvised comedy. Then see Absolute Improv!

… a musical play. Then see Quilter and the Ghost

… some acclaimed solo theatre. Then see Mrs Roosevelt Flies to London

… sprawling, cinematic saga of mountains and monsters, revealing an intimate story of love, sin, and blinding ambition. Then see Peer Gynt

… a Buxton Fringe Individual Comedy winner. Then see Watch This. Love Me. It’s Deep.

… a play about fighting for justice. Then see Beerey

… a John Godber play. Then see Bouncers

… something dark. Then see Waiting For Gandalf. (At the United Reform Church)

… Tony Hancock. Then see Hancock’s Half Hour

… some Acappella Singers. Then see Acappella and Cake (see the Buxton Fringe web site)

… a quirky re-working of Austen’s Persuasion. Then see Persuasion Transposed

… some short films. Then see Programme of Short Films from Buxton Film

… a powerful and funny one-woman play. Then see The Ladder

… new cautionary tales told with puppets and song. Then see Sticky Ends. (see the Buxton Fringe web site)

… some award-winning dance, a celebration of the work of the Nobel prize-winning Chilean poet Pablo Neruda. Then see Los Nacimientos

… some traditional dance. Then see Buxton Day of Dance (venues around the town – see the Buxton Fringe web site)

… a Famous Frive spoof. Then see Five Go Mad in Buxton

… Laurel and Hardy. Then see Hats Off to Laurel and Hardy

… some youth theatre. Then see The Mobile Phone Show

… a theatre piece uncovering Austen’s long-lost (and strangely dinosaur-themed) lost theatrical work. Then see Nonsense and Sensibility

… some storytelling. Then see The Forgotten Tales

More to come



Link Collage

A new way to explore Buxton Fringe – our essential links to navigate the Fringe… Simply click on an image to reveal details of a recommended show. Follow your artistic instincts…


 Alasdair Beckett-King | The Alasdair Beckett-King Mysteries 

           What do Kim K and Mozart have in common? | Image by Tom Barnett

Annette Gregory - Ella - Celebrating 100 Years                   

 Mark Gwynne Jones (credit: Phil Richards)  

REC Youth Theatre | Lord Of The Flies  Sudden Impulse Theatre Company | Vincent River



Keyword Chaos

Another way to find a show at Buxton Fringe. We’ve trawled the programme and our own knowledge base and selected the most intriguing phrases in programme line up. SO, choose the phrase that draws you in, click on the link and get booking. Use your intuition…

dark, comic take on a time in Ireland when Bishop Joseph Cassidy said ‘the most dangerous place to be… is in the mother’s womb

Expect paper planes, racist romances and lots of sticky labels!

flicking a V-sign, giving the finger, and showing her arse to the consensus. Sacred cows will be prodded and a finale guaranteed to send you away shouting FREEDOM!

lays bare the liberation and heartbreak that co-exist in the souls of us all.

acts as a supportive shoulder to cry on, as she weaves a web of deception that spirals out of even her control.

From her childhood days suffering at the hands of her abusive mother to blossoming into a young woman of society, Constance’s story is intriguing and varied.”

The Zombie Teacher will guide you through how to spell tricky words, number bonds to 10 and what to do should zombie armageddon strike.”

A simple premise… its late, an industrial estate, a small band is rehearsing in the street. A large bag is wriggling with something in it. Various locals pass by on their way home...”

Jack stayed on when the guns fell silent, to search the battlefields for the boys that could not go home – for the dead and the missing, for both enemy and friend. And amongst the rusty wire and unexploded bombs Jack is looking for something – looking for someone.


More to come


The Ladder

After a successful run at the Buxton Fringe last year, which culminated in winning the Best Actress Award, local writer, actress and mum of two Helen Rutter is back with her latest one woman show -The Ladder.

When she finds herself stuck up a ladder for the morning Helen discovers new things about herself, her relationship and who she wants to be. A powerful and very funny play about vulnerability, marriage, pain… and being stuck up a ladder.

Performing at the Buxton Fringe last year was such a positive and creative experience for Helen, it even gave her the inspiration for this years show.

“I was on the way home after performing my play Human last year and I was struck with an idea for a new show. It was very exciting as it hit me almost fully formed. I started writing The Ladder immediately and here I am a year later!”

Helen began creating her own work after having children and moving back to the North from London 7 years ago. With last minute auditions and rigid touring schedules, she found the reality of being a jobbing actress less appealing. Producing her own work (especially for Buxton) gives her more flexibility and freedom than ever. Aside from creating and performing characters that she loves she gets to work to her own schedule. Writing after the kids have gone to bed in the evening, designing flyers and posters and handing them out in the local villages when she is out and about, and rehearsing between school drop off and pick up, with her husband (comedian Rob Rouse) helping out with direction.

This all adds to the enjoyment as far as Helen is concerned,

“I think that when things are homemade and come from a truly creative place they can be really exciting, raw and real. Which is what I hope this play is… as well as very funny!” she says

Helen’s most recent work was her short play The Green Chair, which was performed at The Crucible Theatre, Sheffield in April as part of the 4X15 project.

Her past credits include: Playing with Fire: National theatre, Cinderella:Theatre by the lake, A Taste of Honey: York Theatre Royal, Snow White: Hull Truck, Double Act: National Tour, Human: Edinburgh/Buxton, Wire in the blood ITV, Holby city BBC, Coronation Street ITV, The Lost Christmas BBC.

Dates and times for The Ladder
Friday 7th July 5.45pm
Sunday 9th July 8.15pm
Thursday 13th July 8.15pm
Monday 17th July 5.45pm
Underground at The Arts Centre.
Tickets can be bought at underthefringe.com


Jon Buckeridge from Parable Arts talks about The Forgotten Tales

What’s the theme of your show?

The British Isles are a tapestry woven with myths, legends and folk-tales. From Manx magicians to Cornish cats, the cultures of our kingdom are captured in our stories… but stories left untold will fade into forgetfulness.
The Forgotten Tales reignites the spark of the hilarious, heroic and heart-breaking stories that were once a steady flame across the land.

What’s new or unique about the show?

The Forgotten Tales comprises a collection of stories that were once commonplace in our Celtic cultures, with sources ranging from the Welsh Mabinogion and the Irish Finnean cycles, to local legend and folks-tales. Now one performer brings them back to life, presenting dozens of distinct characters across a range of artfully crafted adventures; playing multiple instruments at once, singing in three different languages, and seamlessly flowing through a range of accents and attitudes (and no small amount of perspiration) that will leave you utterly convinced there’s a cast of hundreds.

How did the show come into being?

Parable Arts is a collective of cross-disciplinary artists, with the sole aim of seeking, shaping and sharing stories. We firmly believe that stories are the basis of all communication, and they have the power to shape society. Recently the entire Western world seems to be going through a crisis of identity, with increasingly separatist and strong-border rhetoric becoming a lot of nations’ go-to policy. In the midst of that we wanted to explore some of the cultural roots of our nation, and the stories that helped ancient Celtic nations to know who they were, what they had in common with their neighbours, and what helped them grow and work together. Ultimately we wanted to rediscover that wisdom that our ancestors always knew; that sharing a story, no matter where it’s from or who tells it, will bring everyone that little bit closer together. Perhaps that sounds naive, but in ever performance we’ve done, so far, each audience has come in as strangers and left united, at least for that small moment – that, to me, is powerful.

Describe one of your rehearsals.

A one-man show is a lot of hard work to perform, and even harder to rehearse; whereas most performances have that brilliant sense of ensemble, with the team bouncing off each other to bring out the best in the text, that delightful luxury is removed from you when exploring this branch of the craft. Fortunately our wonderful director, Miriam Sarin, was able to work with me to push me through the physicality, musicality and sheer pace that the production required.

I’ve always been quite a gifted vocalist, and really handy with accents and dialects, so that side came quite quickly (though the Manx accent is really hard to get to grips with), so a lot of our rehearsals became about Miriam pushing me outside of that comfort-zone, and driving me to make my physicality as malleable as my vocalisations, and marrying the two together to get the sweet spot of story and pace to make this work to its potential. Fortunately Miriam has the patience of about four saints.

How is the show developing?

This show is pretty unique in that it’s a series of stories, which means we can add or remove stories and songs as we need to. This has been a great experience, because it’s mean that as we discover a new story, or a song that we really think should be included, then it’s easy to put them into the performance for that night, so in that sense this is the most continually evolving show I’ve ever performed. This offers a real sense of customisation and a unique experience for each audience. For example, we recently we went back to the town I was born in, and I brought to life a legend that’s native to the village I lived in as a child (the story of the Dead-Man’s Acre) – which everyone in the audience knew was a local story, so it was completely personal to them, as a crowd.

How has the writer been involved?

As the writer myself, I’d have to say I’ve been highly involved. One thing I’ve learned, though, is that each story will have a myriad of interpretations and variations, and quite often a lot of different areas will lay a claim to the same story or characters, so when re-imagining and presenting a story we’re careful to present this as *an interpretation* – not the Gospel truth, as it were.

How have you experimented?

We used a lot of physical theatre techniques, such as some great exercises from Gabriella Roth and Jaques LeCoq, to bring these world to life and populate them with a diverse cast of characters. This was complimented with a series of mask-work sessions, to make sure that I wasn’t just relying on an accent to do the work of a character, and a whole LOT of filming and reviewing footage, so I could really see where I needed to build and expand upon the craft and techniques of the art of storytelling.

Beyond that we experimented with different storytelling styles for each tale. It wouldn’t be as engaging if each one was the same style or technique, so we varied up the repertoire with song, verse, physicality and vocal-dexterity to make a diverse and interesting evening for everyone.

Where do your ideas come from?

As with most good ideas, they blindside you when you’re not expecting them. That was certainly the case with the writing and rehearsal process, and quite often I surprised myself with where on earth ideas popped up from. That said this show involved a lot of hours spent in libraries researching ancient texts and books of British myths and legends, and a great many hours listening to a wide array of folk-music and storytelling songs.

How do your challenge yourself or yourselves?

I think the whole team has learned a lot about the impact these stories can have. It’s easy to think they might be just silly little stories with whimsical value at best, but I’ve been amazed how quickly audiences bond to your heroes, and there’s one story from Scotland that has never yet failed to bring a tear to the audiences. There’s a reason why they’ve survived (in some form) for thousands of years, and so one challenge has always been to make sure that we do them justice and honour their heritage.

What are your future plans for the show ?

As I said, this is a continually evolving show, so I’d like to see it with a long shelf-life. It’s diverse and flexible and can fit almost anywhere, so I’d like to see it toured widely. I’ve come to realise how important these stories can be, and in many ways they’re the heritage of all the people who call this quirky collection of Islands home, so I’m quite keen to see this brought into environments where people will connect with it. I’d quite like to perform it in a castle… or lots of castles… though that might just be because I like castles.

Show times and dates 

13th July – 7PM – Scrivener’s Bookshop
14th July – 7PM – Scrivener’s Bookshop



The Glummer Twins return to Buxton

Stand up poetry, comedy and music from the Beat Generation.

The Glummer Twins (David Harmer and Ray Globe) return to Buxton Fringe with their  unique stand-up poetry double act that looks at the world from a particular generational perspective exploring the absurdities and indignities of ageing.

Back in the good old days they were part of a comedy poetry group Circus Of Poets with the Bard of Barnsley Ian McMillan. They toured Europe and appeared on TV reading out their words – angry, funny, politically angsty verse – to anyone who’d listen. One reviewer called them “the Four Tops of Poetry”.

Then they grew older, got respectable jobs and decided living out of a van in the name of verse was a younger man’s game.

Now, some 30 years after they first appeared on stage together as idealistic pups, the duo are back as the irrepressible Glummer Twins on a mission to put the 21st century to rights.

So what’s it all about? Well, a stand-up poetry double act delivering synchronised, rhythmic two-handed poetry, often using live looping and music to enhance the words. And the topics? Men in lycra, ageing mods, 70’s nightclubs, turning 60 [and taking it badly], middle class elderly rappers, foreign holidays, Trump, Brexit, buying a used car from a dodgy dealer in Doncaster and much more.

They were shortlisted Best Spoken Word Show Buxton Fringe 2016

‘They’re very funny men, those Glummer Twins.’ said our friends at Fringe Guru Buxton 2016

The Glummer Twins  plays at Underground at the Old Clubhouse
Water Street Buxton SK17 6XN.

They’ll also be heading up to the Edinburgh Fringe in August.

9th July 8.30pm
13th July 1pm
20h July 1pm

Book here

twitter @theglummertwins
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website www.theglummertwins.com


Whatever Happened To Brian


Plagued by spinal, lung and diabetic problems Tim King was told by a consultant he would not see 60 and was advised to get on with life. Tim did just that becoming Tina in 2009. Always considering himself in ‘the wrong body’Tim transitioned from male to female. At a boys school he was bullied because other boys considered him a girl. Now in pursuit of her stage ambition Tina has a starring role this month in Whatever Happened To Brian’ at the Green Man Gallery, Buxton in the Buxton Fringe Festival on July 12 & 20, 7:30pm.

Tina says: “Despite being female I am father of two sons who

have accepted me for who I am. I have always seen being gender dysphoric a transitory state and I am now just a normal female, albeit ugly with a gravelly voice.

“Being transsexual, life owes me nothing, and I have to take what comes, come what may. With acting I feel the blood pumping through my veins and I truly come alive.  As a post op transsexual I am now happily swimming in the current of normality.” Tina has worked on Peter Kay’s Car Share and appeared in all three Bridget Jones films. In the comedy musical ‘Whatever Happened to Brian’ written by Alan Charnley, she plays a madcap girlfriend, an oddball psychiatrist and also narrates.

“This show is a great vehicle for me and I think audiences will love it,” she says.


“After three years doing a degree in drama I worked in travel and other romantic jobs. Following the socially requisite marriage and two children I suffered spinal, lung and diabetic problems before being advised by a perceptive consultant that 'if I wanted to do something specific with my life I should get on with it as time was a waiting.”

“As I had always had the constant desperate niggle that I was in the wrong body, and with a different consultant telling me that I wouldn’t make 60, I took the relevant steps towards a new life.”

“I transitioned in 2009 at Charing Cross Hospital in Hammersmith, under the skills of Mr Phil Thomas. Other surgery there has included vocal chord surgery. Other hospitals have tried to hold my body together with reasonable success – with rather high doses of morphine and a disabled sticker as sticking tape.”

In ‘Whatever Happened to Brian’ at the Green Man Gallery in Buxton on July 12 and 20, part of the Buxton Festival Fringe, Tina narrates and plays an oddball girlfriend and a psychiatrist.

More details and booking here 


Jo D’Arcy – D’Arcehole

The Comedy Agency | Jo D'Arcy: D'Arcehole

Jo D’Arcy – ‘Funny bones and a clownish sensibility, a little like a female Rik Mayall’ (Bruce Dessau); ‘A formidable performer ‘ – (Steve Bennett, Chortle) – got called ALL the names in High School, then went back to teach and got them all again, but none of them are as bad as the names she’s called herself. Somehow though, she’s coming through it and learning how not to be such a f***king d**khead to herself (there’s still some work to do).


Venue:             Underground at The Old Clubhouse, 3 Water Street, Buxton, SK17 6XN

Date:                11th and 18th July

Time:               10pm

Tickets:            £7 (£6 concession)  



Josh Pugh: A Boy Named Pugh

Debut show from current English Comedian of the Year Josh Pugh, who won the much-coveted title after just two years of performing, establishing him as one of the UK’s brightest newcomers. Join him for an hour of left-field ideas as he invites us onto a very tame roller coaster ride through his childhood, much-loathed job and journey into showbiz. An hour of surreal autobiographical comedy. Chortle Comedian to Watch 2017. ‘A keen comic mind’ (BeyondTheJoke.co.uk). ‘Pleasingly off the beaten track’ (Londonist.com). ‘A peculiarly offbeat mind… certain future star’ (Chortle.co.uk).

Venue:             Underground at The Old Clubhouse, 3 Water Street, Buxton, SK17 6XN

Date:                Monday 10th July

Time:               8.30pm

Tickets:            £7 (£6 concession)  


News Wire

All the headlines from Buxton Fringe…


29 June: Buxton’s historic Pump Room to host World Fringe Day celebrations
(Buxton Advertiser)

24 June: Supergroup to air Celtic gypsy music at Buxton Fringe (Buxton Advertiser)

15 June: New pop-up theatre for Buxton Festival Fringe (Buxton Advertiser)

Check back for updates