It is a core part of the Buxton Fringe's philosophy that art is for all and we recognise the need to spread the word in our local community. By making more people aware of the Fringe, we hope to bring the arts to a wider audience. We would also like to encourage more people to perform and exhibit.
As part of this commitment, we take a Fringe float around the Buxton Carnival and put on a free open-air showcase of Fringe events called Fringe Sunday. You can see pictures of these on our gallery pages.
In the last few years we have also conducted community initiatives including working with elderly residents at the Pavilion Care Home to come up with a Fringe wall display and conducting workshops with schools and community groups to create a giant orange fringe to decorate the Pavilion Gardens' bandstand on Fringe Sunday. The fringe is made up of embroidered panels and we hope to continue this on-going project thanks to the dedication of Fringe artist Gaye Chorlton.
The Fringe's relationship with schools is extensive. For our 30th anniversary in 2009 a team of artists led young people's workshops to create Vers@Tile, a mosaic triptych that went on to be displayed in Buxton Museum and the Pavilion Gardens' Art Café. For many years the Fringe has used volunteers from the Community School to help staff its Fringe Desk, in 2011, offering work experience to two younger students for the first time, something that has been successfully continued in the years since.
In the last three years we have trialled a link between Fringe entrants and schools in the Buxton area giving the opportunity for Fringe performers to bring their talents to school children. In 2011 we extended the participating groups to include not just schools but elderly people's care homes and youth organisations. Among those taking part in this initiative in 2011 were Planet Rabbit with their popular wartime comedy drama, Blitz Bride. Their performance at The Hawthorns care home was applauded by the manager, Major Elaine Holder, who explained: "The residents' attention was held throughout and that was down to the skill of the performers who made it so entertaining".
In 2011-12 we forged a new relationship with the housing association Adullam and have managed to enable service users to see some Fringe shows for free. Around 17 people saw nine different shows ranging from a military tattoo to Shakespeare. One user, Adrian, wrote of his attendance at a show at Underground Venues: Piff the Magic Dragon had me laughing all the way through. I didnt know magic could be so funny. I even got to stroke Mr Piffles the Chihuahua.
Adullam was also one organisation to benefit from Fringe performers coming to them. Comedians Seymour and Sykes held a comedy workshop about writing and performing comedy. This interactive experience helped raise confidence and self-esteem through group discussion and stand-up performance.
Service users also provided exquisite orange paper flowers for the Fringe carnival float and we are hoping to explore the idea of further artistic collaborations in the future.
In 2013 we had some delightful feedback about several initiatives. Opera d'Amici went to Fairfield Infants to sing with the children. They have been invited back for 2014. 30 deserving service users from Adullam Housing Trust enjoyed free show tickets organised by the Fringe and Stickleback Theatre arranged a special performance of Jordan at the Trust itself. In the words of one service user, H Pollit: "The play was captivating, the mystery in the story, the reality in the darkness that one's life can be so hidden from others and once the door closes who knows what really goes on. That one's life may be full of anguish and love all mixed up in one big mess. The play really does play with your mind. It was amazing to watch a single person create such a heartfelt story. I really enjoyed it".
Arletty Theatre Company performed Patchwork Lives in two community venues. Says artistic director Imogen Joyce: "One performance was in a lovely school, and the other was in a busy nursing home. Both audiences clearly enjoyed it a great deal - the nursing home was particularly moving, with audience-members smiling and singing with us, which was lovely."
In 2014 new chair Keith Savage introduced Fringe at Five, a regular free event at the Bandstand in the Pavilion Gardens showcasing some of the very best of Fringe talent and complementing Buxton Festival's Song at Six in the same location. The idea came from choir teacher Carol Bowns and her Kaleidoscope community choir was the first act to perform. Fringe at Five is one of a significant number of free events at the Fringe designed to reach out to a large number of people. Since 2013, Fringe for Free has listed all our free events in one place.
We are constantly trying to think of new ways to broaden our reach and are open to fresh ideas and connections with community groups. If you would like to contact us about any of the above please Send message to Community Links.