Buxton Fringe announces award winners after spectacular arts festival brings audiences together again
A spectacular fortnight of the Buxton Festival Fringe came to a close at the weekend with the final awards presentation celebrating the performers and artists who have done so much to bring audiences together again after 18 months apart.
The ceremony at the Serpentine Community Garden on Sunday, July 25, carried an extra sense of significance in light of the pandemic and its impact on the arts sector and those who depend on it.
Chairman Stephen Walker said: “I’m really happy that we’ve been able to go ahead and I would like to thank all the performers and artists that have made this an excellent Fringe.”
Thanking the festival committee, volunteers, supporters, venues and High Peak Borough Council, he added: “The last 18 months have been particularly difficult for the arts and we are so grateful for your resilience and perseverance in bringing your work to Buxton. We consider ourselves very lucky to be among the first to enjoy a festival of arts this summer.”
With more than 100 events in the programme, award judges were faced with difficult decisions.
In the theatre categories, the production award went to Belfast company Spanner in the Works with their all-female three-hander, Buttercup.
Acting awards went to Lexi Wolfe for Slade Wolfe production After Shakespeare,and Shaun Hennessy in the thriller For I Have Sinned from Manchester’s Queerdog Theatre.
Fringe regular Polis Loizou scooped the new writing award for The Off-Off-Off Broadway Company’s Mr Fox.
The John Beecher Memorial Award for original, challenging work went to Tell Tale Tits’ joyful and acrobatic cabaret show Her Ps and Qs.
Buxton Drama League's The Shakespeare Jukebox won the street theatre category for their crowdpleasing performances in the Pavilion Gardens.
Up-and-coming talent was also recognised with Buxton’s Rec Youth Theatre winning best youth production for How to Think the Unthinkable, and star Elyse Marling claiming the youth actor award. The company also won the Spirit of the Fringe award for overcoming adversity to ensure the show went on .
Canadian Rose Condo took the spoken word award for The Geography of Me, while in the comedy section, Hope Valley’s Rob Rouse – familiar to audiences of BBC Two sitcom Upstart Crow – won the individual award, and Impromptu Shakespeare won best comedy event.
In the music categories, Mr Simpson’s Little Consort took the small ensemble prize, High Peak Orchestra was named best large ensemble, harp-guitarist Jon Pickard was claimed the solo instrumental award, and jazz singer Annette Gregory was took top spot for vocal performance.
The visual arts event prize went to the Welsh hat installation Keep it Under Your Hat by Mary Gwen, and the artist prize was given to Buxton’s Lindsey Piper for her Dryad sculpture.
BrotherBrother & Three’s Company’s An Admin Worker at the End of the World (And other Films) won best film, while Buxton’s Stone and Water took a children’s event award for Tiny! and the quirky Buxton Letterbox Trail won the Miscellaneous And More... category.
Former Fringe chair, Councillor Keith Savage thanked festival organisers on behalf of the borough council, later stood up to express the council’s appreciation of the Fringe, saying: “At a time when many are feeling isolated, events like the Buxton Festival Fringe have untold benefits.”
For the full list of winners and nominees, go to buxtonfringe.org.uk/awards2021.html.