Buxton Festival Fringe celebrates 'exceptional' 40th year with glittering awards ceremony

Outgoing Buxton Festival Fringe chair Keith Savage  presents the Chair Award to Netta Christie of Discover Buxton Tours.
Outgoing Buxton Festival Fringe chair Keith Savage presents the Chair Award to Netta Christie of Discover Buxton Tours.

The biggest and longest ever Buxton Festival Fringe held its eagerly-awaited awards ceremony at the Green Man Gallery on Sunday.

The Fringe celebrated its 40th anniversary in style and speaking at the ceremony, outgoing chair of trustees Keith Savage described it as an exceptional year and thanked performers, committee members, venues, supporters and financial backers - including sponsor the University of Derby - for making it possible.

Sunday's showpiece event was Keith’s final public engagement after a six-year stint as Fringe chair and he was given flowers and a bottle of wine by vice-chair Maria Carnegie.

He said being chair had been 'an extraordinary privilege', saying: “Outside my own family, this has been the most important thing I’ve ever done.”

The Production Award went to the charming and beautifully performed monologue Soapbox Racer, written by northern writer Ben Schwarz starring Grace Cordell.

Acting awards went to Derbyshire actor/writer Ray Castleton for Without Malice or Ill Will and Sara Gray from High Peak theatre company Easy Company’s harrowing production Jordan.

The New Writing award was picked up by Derbyshire-based Anna Girolami, who penned Once Upon a Time in Trieste.

Meanwhile, the John Beecher Memorial Award for original, challenging work with high production values went to Debris by Liverpool’s Dennis Kelly.

The winner of the large Spoken Word category was Sheffield’s Genevieve Carver and The Unsung with A Beautiful Way to be Crazy.

Young drama talent was also recognised with Buxton’s Rec Youth Theatre winning Youth Production for Zero for Young Dudes and Annie Wallis being awarded Youth Actor for Buxton-based Mad Hatters Music Youth Group’s Legally Blonde.

In the Comedy section, Kate Butch won the event award with Wuthering Shites and Maisie Adam won Comedy Individual.

Music awards were split into Small Group/Ensemble (11 Reasons: Egriega); Large Ensemble (CCYO Summer Concert 2019 - Derbyshire City and County Youth Orchestra); Solo Instrumental (Chris Woods of the Chris Woods Groove Orchestra) and Vocal Performance (Acappella and Cake - Ordsall Acappella Singers).

The Visual Arts Event prize went to the multi-venued Buxton Art Trail 2019: The Buxton Biennale! while the Artist award went to ceramicist Caroline Chouler-Tissier exhibiting at the Buxton Art Trail.

In the For Families category, Babbling Vagabonds Storytelling Theatre’s Here Be Dragons was triumphant while Buxton Drama League's The Shakespeare Jukebox won Street Theatre.

Buxton’s own Serpentine Community Farm won the Spirit of the Fringe award for its music event Summer Thyme and Wallflower Dance’s Havana Dance won the Dance section.

Two special awards were also made, a Fringe40 one to Partita for its long-standing commitment to the Fringe and a Chair Award presented by Keith to Discover Buxton Tours.

See www.buxtonfringe.org.uk/awards2019.html for the full list of awards and nominations.