Buxton Festival Fringe: Awards crown biggest-ever Fringe extravaganza

Buxton Art Trail's Linda Rolland (right) with Stephanie Billen. Photo: Ian J. Parkes.
Buxton Art Trail's Linda Rolland (right) with Stephanie Billen. Photo: Ian J. Parkes.

Buxton Fringe organisers have hailed the success of this year’s bigger-than-ever festival extravaganza.

The 19-day event concluded on Sunday with the eagerly-awaited Fringe Awards ceremony, which was held in the eye-catching Rotunda in the Pavilion Gardens.

Marcus Crabb (Kate Butch) right with the Fringe Committee's Stephen Walker. Photo: Ian J. Parkes.

Marcus Crabb (Kate Butch) right with the Fringe Committee's Stephen Walker. Photo: Ian J. Parkes.

Fringe chair Keith Savage paid tribute to all the entrants for the “entertainment and stimulation” they had offered to thousands of people, while also recognising the events sponsors and supporters, including a growing band of Fringe Friends.

Keith explained that the awards were to recognise excellence but that the Fringe itself avoided the term “best”.

He made particular reference to the Rotunda and also Underground Venues, which he said had “done a brilliant job” in making the transition from The Old Hall to The Old Clubhouse.

Theatre saw the Production Award going to the electrifying Peer Gynt by Oxford-based Gruffdog Theatre, while the John Beecher Memorial Award for original, challenging work with high production values went to the colourful Kardashian/Mozart mash-up, The Marriage of Kim K by Manchester’s Leoe & Hyde.

Artist Giles Davies with Fringe Marketing Officer Stephanie Billen. Photo: Ian J. Parkes.

Artist Giles Davies with Fringe Marketing Officer Stephanie Billen. Photo: Ian J. Parkes.

Jessica Newborough, from Sudden Impulse, picked up the Actor Female award for Vincent River, while Ross Ericson of Grist To The Mill won Actor Male for The Unknown Soldier.

The cross-category New Writing award went to Matthew Floyd-Jones, for Richard Carpenter’s Close to You.

Young drama talent was also recognised with Shadow Syndicate winning the Youth Production category for We Lost Elijah and Irene Ebeye from the same production awarded the Youth Actor prize.

In the comedy section, Buxton’s Marcus Crabb won the Comedy Event prize for the show Kate Butch In Kate If You Wanna Go Butcher, while the prize for Comedy Individual went to Harriet Braine for Total Eclipse of the Art.

Maria Carnegie, left, and Jayne Marling, right, from The Shakespeare Jukebox with Stephen Walker. Photo: Ian J. Parkes.

Maria Carnegie, left, and Jayne Marling, right, from The Shakespeare Jukebox with Stephen Walker. Photo: Ian J. Parkes.

Music was a huge category this year with awards split into Small Group/Ensemble (Dodo Street Band), Large Ensemble (Nottingham Music Service for their inspiring 100 Young Musicians), Solo Instrumental (Matlock guitarist Richard Haslam) and Vocal Performance (Northern choir Enkelit).

The Visual Arts Event prize went to the massive Buxton Art Trail, while Visual Arts Artist went to Derby’s magazine collagist Giles Davies of The Great Dome Art Fair.

The Other Event award was given to Mr Simpson’s Little Consort for the deliciously bawdy Cupid and the King, while For Families went to Bristol’s Whispering Woods for its magical and acrobatic The Boy Who Grew Wings and Spoken Word to Sheffield’s Genevieve Carver and The Unsung Funeral Band for The Unsung.

Buxton acquitted itself well with local winners including Buxton Drama League’s The Shakespeare Jukebox for Street Theatre, Buxton Pride Picnic for the Spirit of the Fringe award, Wallflower Dance’s A Night in Havana for Dance.

A full list of awards and nominations is available at http://buxtonfringe.org.uk/awards2017.html