Fringe for Free 2024

We have plenty of free stuff to do at the Fringe, and it's all listed here. If you're interested in a particular category simply click on the colour-coded links below. Once a category has been opened, click on the left hand colour bar to close it.

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Events marked Family Friendly have been suggested by the entrant as generally suitable for family viewing. Events in the Children's Events category are specifically aimed at young people. In the event of purely Online events, click on the links within the event description.

Please note that details of performances, including times and dates, may be subject to Late Changes. Numbers in brackets refer to venue numbers (see map). Diary. How to make a Comment.

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credit: Yaz Al-Shaater

BUXTON FRINGE LAUNCH PARTY - Underground Family Friendly
Join us for the official launch of the 2024 Buxton Festival Fringe - at Underground's new venue in a former Spring Gardens shopping unit! Catch preview performances from across the Fringe, mingle with the stars and help us toast the 45th Buxton Fringe! No booking required - just come along.
Underground at Spring Gardens (10) Map 2 Jul 7:30pm to 11pm Free Review
Further information: 0208 144 0070 or Comments

The Fringe float in 2023 (credit: Stephen Walker)

FRINGE AT THE CARNIVAL - Buxton Festival Fringe Family Friendly
Musicians and performers join in the fun as Buxton Fringe takes to the streets with its award-winning orange float. Thanks to Lomas Distribution and to the Well Dressing and Carnival team for organising this highlight in the town's calendar. Wear orange and give us a wave as we go by!
Around the Town 13 Jul 2pm to 4pm Free, Donations: Give generously to the Well Dressing Charities Comments

The Fringe Awards in 2023 (credit: Dan Osborne)

FRINGE AWARDS 2024 - Buxton Festival Fringe Family Friendly
Performers, Fringe Friends, Fringe committee members and reviewers are among those invited to our Fringe Awards ceremony. Enjoy a drink with us in relaxed, open-air surroundings with the polytunnel available if needs be! We see this as a celebration of everyone who supports our fantastic Fringe.
Serpentine Community Garden (107) Map 21 Jul 5pm to 6:30pm Free
Further information: Open to groups stated and by invitation. Comments

Pieter Egriega performs for Fringe on Friday in 2023 (credit: Stephanie Billen)

FRINGE ON FRIDAY - Buxton Festival Fringe Family Friendly
Buxton Fringe performers offer free extracts from their shows. Please support them. It is a brilliant way to enjoy a sneak preview of the many excellent shows on offer. The Bandstand offers shelter if it rains.
Pavilion Gardens – Bandstand (33a) Map 5 & 12 Jul 5pm to 6pm Free Comments

Fringe Sunday 2023 (credit: Carole Garner)

FRINGE SUNDAY - Buxton Festival Fringe Family Friendly
Join us for our traditional, family-friendly Fringe showcase in the park. Buy some Derbyshire ice cream and we'll provide the entertainment! Expect dance, music, singing, comedy, magic and more! Pick up a Fringe programme or become a Fringe Friend. Mingle with the stars at this fabulous outdoor party!
Pavilion Gardens – Bandstand (33a) Map 7 Jul 2pm to 4:30pm Free Comments

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Children's Events

THE GREAT BUXTON BILBERRY BUMBLEBEE HUNT - BCHT and Friends of Buxton Station Family Friendly
Buzz into fun at our bee-themed events. Create buzz-worthy crafts on selected dates and embark on a woolly bee shop hunt daily throughout the Fringe - collect a map from the Pump Room. Don't miss out on the hive of activity, let's celebrate these vital pollinators together!
The Pump Room (84) Map 6, 7, 14 & 20, 21 Jul 11am to 1pm (Note! Late Change) Free, Ages 4-15, Donations: Contributions are very welcome. Review
Further information: Comments

tree lobsters? river mice? wool dragons?

TINY! WILD AND WONDERFUL - Stone and Water Family Friendly
Another TINY! day in the Gardens! From dragons to mermaids, monstermice to flying rabbits. A chance to stop, think and make some weird, wild, wonderful and simply fantastic creatures who might, or might not, or maybe should, or definitely should not, live in the gardens.
Pavilion Gardens – Playground (33m) Map 14 Jul 11am to 3pm Free, Ages 3+ Review Comments

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A one-man journey through the alphabet of one-liner jokes with over 150 jokes and short stories in 60 minutes. (New Writing)
Beer & Bean Café Bar (135) Map 5 Jul 7pm to 8pm Free, Adult themes, Ages 18+ Review Comments

A Comedy Tapas

ACOMEDYTAPAS - Jesters Dublin
AComedyTapas is a fast-paced gig with many comics. You may not like them all, but some will delight and surprise you. This show is free entry with (generous) donations at the end.
Beer & Bean Café Bar (135) Map 12 Jul 7:30pm to 8:30pm Free, Comics may raise difficult issues, Ages 16+ Review Comments

What do you get when a happy comedian gets dumped? An anecdote-filled comedy show about encounters both brief/briefless. Multi-award nominated, Ishi invites lovers, non-lovers and strawberries on a path to happily ever after. 'Vivid & Open Performer…oodles of charm. See her! See her do comedy!' Brighton Fringe
Beer & Bean Café Bar (135) Map 19, 20 Jul 9pm to 10pm Free, Phallic content, strong language, Ages 16+, Donations: PWYW Comments

TINDER TALES - Jesters Dublin
Tinder Tales is a show all about dating with audience involvement. This show is free entry with (generous) donations at the end.
Beer & Bean Café Bar (135) Map 12 Jul 9pm to 10pm Free, Comics may raise difficult issues, Ages 16+ Review Comments

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credit John Bradburn

BUXTON DAY OF DANCE 2024 - Chapel-en-le-Frith Morris Family Friendly
A feast of traditional dancing from around the country. The streets of Buxton will be filled with the music, colour, passion, energy and humour that the Morris brings. Over 150 dancers and musicians from 16 different Morris sides hosted by Chapel-en-le-Frith Morris.
Around the Town 20 Jul 10:30am to 4:30pm Free Gallery Comments

Swing Sisters

SWING DANCE LESSON - Dancing On The Spot Family Friendly
Enjoy learning the basics of swing dance. A workshop for children and adults. Families, couples, and individual dancers all welcome to join this event led by sisters, Emma and Casey Brayndick, teachers, dancers, and actors extraordinaire with On The Spot and Dancing On The Spot from Chicago, performing in Buxton.
United Reformed Church – Green Room: Hall (55b) Map 6 Jul 2pm to 4pm Free, Donations: Suggested contribution £5 Review Gallery Comments(1)

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ABSOLUTELY FAB CHOIR - Fab Choir Family Friendly
Fab Choir sings Simply The Best pop songs. Come along and enjoy our free, uplifting show. Belt out a Britpop chorus or try a few Motown moves. We'll tell you all you need to know to join in with this Absolutely Fab Choir.
Pavilion Gardens – Bandstand (33a) Map 20 Jul 2pm to 3pm Free
Further information: Comments

Ed Billingham returns to the Burbage Institute for an evening of great classical music. As well as playing the famous Cavatina by Stanley Myers, he will perform Norwegian folk melodies by Grieg, Vivaldi Concerto op 3, no 9, and Suite popular Brazilian by Villa Lobos along with other virtuoso guitar music.
Burbage Institute, Nursery Lane, Buxton SK17 6UL (53) Map 14 Jul 6:30pm to 7:30pm (Note! Late Change) Free, Donations: Contributions welcome! Review Gallery
Further information: Comments(1)

Award-winning ensemble Partita performs Renaissance and Baroque music.
Buxton Methodist Church – Church Hall (06b) Map 18 Jul 1pm to 2:20pm Free, Donations: charity donations Comments

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Spoken Word

The Two Old Geezers talk about Buxton's alternative histories

The two old geezers (Simon Fussell from BCA and Julian Cohen, author of Surely Not in Buxton) return to talk about hidden aspects of Buxton's history, telling the stories of the over-looked people, events and places that have shaped Buxton, and bringing hidden Buxton to life.
La Gaby Pizzeria (139) Map 4 Jul 2pm to 3:30pm, 9 Jul 6pm to 7:30pm Free, Strong language a possibility, Ages 16+ Review Gallery
Further information: or Comments

Photo credit: Khoa Võ

DOCTOR COPPELIUS - Chris Neville-Smith
Everyone knows the story of the doll Coppelia, and of Franz who believed her to be real, and of Swanhilda who loved Franz. But what of the doll's creator? Why do the terrible thing he did? Now, the tragic villain from Delibes's ballet tell his side of the story. (New Writing)
Scrivener's Bookshop (11) Map 11 Jul 4pm to 5pm Free, Donations: Collection after performance for the Samaritans Review
Further information: Limited capacity. Free entry on door, but email to be certain of entry. Comments

THE MONOLOGUE PROJECT 2024 - Strajanka Productions Family Friendly
The Monologue Project is a competition to find the best monologue of 2024. Watch and listen to the video podcast, choose your favourite from the shortlist of six and vote via email. The winner will receive a prize of £50. (New Writing)
Online: 3-21 Jul all day Free, Donations: Review
Further information: Comments

credit: Adobe Stock

STRANGER ON THE RUN - Ian Gregory Family Friendly
Storytelling for grown ups. In the 1920s a young man arrives in a seaside town. Not everyone is welcoming to the newcomer. Who are you, Nye ap Morgan? Who or what are you running from? Ian was positively reviewed at 2019's Fringe.
Scrivener's Bookshop (11) Map 4 Jul 2:30pm to 3:30pm Free Review
Further information: 07541 285610. Note audience capacity limited to 12 people. Comments

Shirley Mann, who writes novels inspired by real women in WWII

Shirley Mann, winner of Romantic Saga Novel Award and nominated for 2024 Popular Romantic Fiction Award, will be talking about the real women of the Second World War who inspired her books and how their transition to pilots, tractor drivers, policewomen and wireless operators for Bomber Command changed all our lives. (New Writing)
The Pump Room (84) Map 7 Jul 5pm to 6pm Free Review
Further information: Comments

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Street Theatre

Matt's passion is Buxton's past, Claire's distracted by ghostly goings-on. Join our daft duo and begin your self-guided audio adventure outside the Pump Room with just a smartphone and headphones. Follow the tour, or get side-tracked by an apparition on a mission - it's your choice!
Online: 3-21 Jul all day Free, Ages 10+ Review Comments

The Shakespeare Jukebox in action

THE SHAKESPEARE JUKEBOX - Buxton Drama League Family Friendly
The multi-award-winning Shakespeare Jukebox returns for another summer of open-air Shakespearean fun, whatever the weather! Choose a scene or speech from our playlist, make a donation to charity, and enjoy a humorous, high-energy rendition of some of the Bard’s greatest hits. Also look out for our online Jukebox.
Pavilion Gardens – Promenade (33q) Map 6, 7, 14 & 19, 20 Jul 6:15pm to 7pm Free, Donations: Review Comments

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Gumdrop Theatre Group Logo

THE MANCUNIAN PROPHET - Gumdrop Theatre Group
Gwen loves Freya more than she loves herself. It's why she won't let her leave the house to go to a party that Gwen knows she will never return from. She can see how it will all end. She's Manchester's own prophet after all. (New Writing)
Beer & Bean Café Bar (135) Map 4 Jul 7:30pm to 8:30pm, 5 Jul 9pm to 10pm, 6 Jul 7:30pm to 8:30pm (Note! Late Change) Free, Strong language, violence, Ages 16+, Donations:

Nancy Edwards workshopping "Rethinking Good Intentions" February, 2024 (credit: Dr. Phil)

A compelling story by a Canadian writer about bridging cultural divides. Nancy transports us to rural Sierra Leone. Meet village chiefs and traditional midwives. Encounter cultural clashes and their resolution. Experience how community health nursing work rattles Nancy’s preconceptions, provokes her notions of social privilege, and deepens her global connections. (New Writing)
Online: 6 & 20 Jul 5pm to 6pm Free, Adult themes, Ages 18+ Review Gallery
Further information: Live performances to be followed by Q&A. Recording of first performance will be available online from 7-21 Jul Comments(1)

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Visual Arts

The Crescent, Buxton  Sue Prince

ART AT THE CRESCENT - PEAK DISTRICT ARTISANS - Peak District Artisans Family Friendly
Showcasing an exciting exhibition of contemporary artwork from some of the best professional artists and makers in the Peak District. This diverse exhibition includes paintings, prints, ceramics, jewellery, photography and textiles, and is a great opportunity to meet the artists and purchase something totally unique.
The Crescent - Assembly Rooms (59a) Map 5-7 Jul 10am to 5pm Free Review Gallery Comments

ART IN THE OCTAGON - High Peak Artists Family Friendly
Don’t miss this Fringe Award nominated art extravaganza! Over 30 exhibition stands. Meet award-winning artists and makers from the High Peak Artists group with special guest renowned artist Rob Wilson. Demonstrations in oils, pastels, watercolours, urban sketching, silk painting, wood carving, photography, printmaking, jewellery, ceramics, textiles and lots more.
Pavilion Gardens – Octagon (33d) Map 8-10 Jul 10am to 5pm Free Review Comments

BUXTON FLOWERPOT TRAIL - Funny Wonders Family Friendly
Head to where you see the dots, can you find the flowerpots? Family fun around Buxton. Trail maps available from the Pump Room, Poole’s Cavern and The Green Man Gallery. Cost £1. Or download a copy for free from Donations welcome. #BuxtonFlowerpotTrail
Around the Town 3-21 Jul all day Free, Donations: Review
Further information: Comments

THE FREEDOM TRAIL - The Green Man Gallery Resident Artists Family Friendly
What does freedom mean to you? Follow the Freedom Trail around the gallery to discover how the Resident Artists have answered this question. A thought-provoking series of paintings, drawings, printmaking, ceramics and photography, displayed alongside the gallery's vibrant Summer Collection, presented as a counterpoint to the guest exhibition, John Bull.
Green Man Gallery (86) Map 3-21 Jul 10:30am to 5pm Free Review Gallery
Further information: the Gallery, 01298 937375 or Comments

HARMSWORTH'S HOME DOCTOR CUT UP - Hugo Edwardes and Christopher Robinson
Harmsworth published The Home Doctor in the 1920's which included 5000 illustrations. I have cut these images from their pages, retaining some words. A slideshow will be accompanied by a soundtrack of field recordings. The images will be available to leaf through. Award-winning format in 2023!
The Bungalow, Lightwood Ave, Buxton SK17 7AZ (98) Map 6, 7 & 19-21 Jul noon to 6pm Free Review Gallery Comments

'He Picked Them For Their Size' - 'John Bull' Exhibition by Jeff Perks

JOHN BULL: ILLUSTRATIONS FOR MICHAEL ROSEN'S POEM - Jeff Perks (in collaboration with Michael Rosen) Family Friendly
Children's author Michael Rosen wrote John Bull to explain how slavery came about and how British industry was built on the back of slaves. This striking exhibition of original linocuts and sculptures illustrates the poem and includes work created by children from Litton Primary School in response to the poem.
Green Man Gallery (86) Map 3-21 Jul 10:30am to 5pm Free Review Gallery
Further information: the Gallery, 01298 937375 or Comments

MY BUXTON FRINGE - Sam Slide Family Friendly
In 2014 local trombone player Sam Slide made his Fringe debut with the show Trombone Tunes, Trombone Talk. Ten years on, there's no music but Sam Slide has put together a photo book of Fringe memories. It's on display at the Green Man Gallery. Have a look, leave a comment! (New Writing)
Green Man Gallery – Ground Floor Gallery (86a) Map 3-21 Jul 10:30am to 5pm Free Review
Further information: the Gallery, 01298 937375 or Comments(1)

MY HEART HAS WINGS AND IT CAN FLY - Babbling Vagabonds - Meet and Makers Family Friendly
Embark on a captivating exploration of creativity at our uplifting exhibition, My Heart Has Wings and It Can Fly. Created by our vibrant community, Meet and Makers, this showcase invites you to immerse yourself and let your imagination take flight. Join us for an inspiring celebration of local art.
The Pump Room (84) Map 6-17 Jul 10am to 4pm (Note! Late Change) Free Review Gallery Comments

PAULA'S ART PAD - Paula Hobdey Family Friendly
Eclectic selection of birds and abstracts in mixed media. Wide variety of landscapes, animals, portraits and more. Paula's previous exhibitions have had good reviews and, in the past, the artist has had works accepted for the Derbyshire Open at Buxton Museum. Refreshments available.
9 Wye Head, Buxton SK17 9AG (95) Map 4, 6, 7, 9, 13, 14, 17 & 20, 21 Jul 10:30am to 4:30pm Free Review Gallery Comments

Terry Naylor in performance

POTS, PANS & A SPLASHING MACHINE - Cul-de-sac theatre Family Friendly
A mesmerising, dreamlike installation about life on a kidney dialysis machine. Terry Naylor, a dialysis patient himself, has created a surreal, multisensory reworking of Dr Willem Kolff’s original machine, built in Nazi-occupied Holland using sausage-skins and an old washing machine! In support of Kidney Research UK. A blissful meditation!
The Bungalow, Lightwood Ave, Buxton SK17 7AZ (98) Map 6, 7 & 19-21 Jul noon to 6pm Free, Donations: Review
Further information: or 07786 860794 Comments


SIP, SIT AND SKETCH - Buxton Crescent Heritage Trust Family Friendly
During the Fringe festival, the Pump Room transforms into a sketcher's haven. Buy a drink and borrow sketching and painting materials to capture the moment. Artistic inspiration flows where drinks and creativity mingle.
The Pump Room (84) Map 3-21 Jul 10am to 4pm Free, Donations: Donations welcome, but the cost of a drink will allow you to borrow the materials. Review
Further information: No need to book, available during Pump Room opening hours. Comments

STITCHED UP! (again) new work by Tracey Coverley

STITCHED UP! (AGAIN) - Tracey Coverley Family Friendly
Last year's visual artist winner returns to the Fringe and she'll be bringing a host of friends in the form of stitched portraits. Situated upstairs in the Art Café at the Pavilion Gardens it's a perfect space to relax with a coffee whilst viewing Tracey's latest works.
Pavilion Gardens – The Art Cafe (33f) Map 3-21 Jul 9:30am to 6pm (Note! Late Change) Free Review Gallery Comments

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And More...

fabulous hats and wonderful people

PRIDE PICNIC - Stone and Water Family Friendly
Buxton's Pride Picnic welcomes everyone. An afternoon of LGBTQIA+ laughter, silliness and friendship. There will be fabulous hats, games to play and the Buxton Gay Bake Off. No booking or tickets needed. Just bring a picnic and that wonderful smile, turn up and join in. Look out for the afterparty!
Pavilion Gardens – Swimming Pool Lawns (33n) Map 20 Jul 1pm to 4pm Free Comments

Serpentine Community Garden, Summer Sunshine

SUMMER BIZARRE - Serpentine Community Garden Family Friendly
Community stalls, crafts, plant stall, wonky veg and flower show, tea and cakes, mocktails, splat the rat, miniature garden competition, garden tours, music through the afternoon, 'Become your own Beast' mask-making or bring your own - and more...
Serpentine Community Garden (107) Map 21 Jul noon to 4pm Free Comments

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