Buxton Festival lands UK Theatre Award for opera based on Chatsworth duchess

From left: artistic director Adrian Kelly with Georgiana star Janet Plater and CEO Michael Williams.
From left: artistic director Adrian Kelly with Georgiana star Janet Plater and CEO Michael Williams.

Buxton International Festival crowned its 40th anniversary year by winning its first UK Theatre Award on Sunday at a glittering showbusiness event which celebrated the best of Britain’s entertainment industry.

Buxton took the Achievement Award in Opera at London’s Guildhall for the world première of Georgiana, based on the colourful life of Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire (1757-1806), who lived at Chatsworth House.

Michael Williams, Buxton International Festival’s chief executive officer, who wrote the story for Georgiana, said: “There is something special happening in Buxton and it’s wonderful that the UK Theatre Award panellists recognised the innovation and success of Georgiana at our 40th anniversary.

“Huge credit goes to the creative team headed by director Matthew Richardson and conductor Mark Tatlow, the fabulous cast, the Northern Chamber Orchestra and the festival technical team that pulled off five operas in 17 days.”

The critically-acclaimed production was especially commissioned for the festival’s 40th anniversary, and was conceived, written and produced in Buxton.

Georgiana illustrated the life and times of Georgiana Cavendish, the wife of the 5th Duchess of Devonshire.

While her husband was building Buxton’s magnificent Crescent, Georgiana was setting London society alight with dangerous liaisons, political activism and reckless gambling.