Buxton Festival Fringe 2024 – Our Pick of 20 of the Best Things to See

Buxton Festival Fringe

Buxton Festival Fringe, one of the largest in the UK alongside Edinburgh and Brighton, is upon us, exploding like a piñata of entertainment! Running concurrently with the esteemed Buxton International Festival. Known for its welcoming atmosphere, diverse programme, and vibrant energy, the Fringe was founded in 1980, a year after BIF making 2024 its 45th event.

Buxton Festival Fringe

2024 promises a captivating blend of local and international acts, featuring multimedia street theatre that delves into the town’s rich history, as well as Theatre and Spoken Word events from Canada, the US, and Australia. Even a swing-dancing class from Chicago is part of the lineup.

Buxton Festival Fringe
The Bandstand in the Pavilion Gardens
Now established as one of the leading fringes in the country, featuring over two weeks of music, dance, film, theatre, comedy, visual arts, children’s events and other occurrences that defy description, the festival is so busy that it can be daunting to decide what to go and see.
Buxton Festival Fringe
Matthew Drapper – this year’s Buxton Festival Fringe

New for 2024! Underground at the Fringe has a new home!

July’s Buxton Fringe takes place in venues all over the town and beyond. With multiple events happening at managed venues such as The Green Man Gallery and Underground at the Fringe, which this year has taken over an empty shopping unit on Buxton’s Spring Gardens.

Buxton Festival Fringe

The award-winning venue is transforming the former Track & Trail shop on Spring Gardens into a temporary theatre, offering the best in UK touring stand-up, sketch comedy, theatre, poetry, bands, family shows, physical theatre, and more. Performances will run daily from noon until midnight, from 3rd – 21st July. The initiative brings live performance back to Spring Gardens for the first time since Buxton’s very first theatre closed its doors in 1829.

The Box Office for Underground at the Fringe will be located upstairs at the nearby Sacro Lounge.

Preview performances from across the Fringe at the official Fringe Launch Party (at Underground at Spring Gardens), to help make up your mind what to put in your diary. There’s no need to book – just come along on Tuesday 2nd July, 7.30pm – 11pm.



Here’s our pick of 20 events to look out for, in no particular order (for the full line up and information go to buxtonfringe.org.uk/programme):

1. Theatre – THE REMARKABLE DELIVERANCES OF ALICE THORNTON – Debbie Cannon

1668. Mrs. Alice Thornton, widow, mother, and daughter of the late Lord Deputy of Ireland, invites you to witness the defence of her life. She will recount her numerous miraculous escapes from death and confront a terrible scandal. Written and performed by Debbie Cannon. (New Writing)

When: 7th July 8pm to 9pm, 8th July 2pm to 3pm, 9th, 10th July noon to 1pm, 11 July 6pm to 7pm
Where: The Green Man Gallery
Entry / Cost: £10 (Child and Conc £8), Contains themes of bereavement and infant loss, Ages 12+, Bookings via the Gallery, tel 01298 937375 or online at thegreenmangallery.com (look for all the events under ‘Theatre’)

2. Fringe Event – FRINGE ON FRIDAY

Buxton Fringe performers provide free excerpts from their shows. Please show your support and enjoy a sneak preview of the many fantastic performances available. The Bandstand provides cover if its rains!

When: 5th & 12th July, 5pm to 6pm
Where: Pavilion Gardens Bandstand, Pavilion Gardens
Entry / Cost: Free, Family Friendly.

3. Comedy – BARREL OF LAUGHS

Stand up comedians beyond count descend on Buxton during the Fringe to tickle our funny bones on every subject this year from witches to Scrabble. If you can’t make all the individual gigs, the Barrel of Laughs is a comedy club that showcases bits of the best. This event always sells out so be sure to book!

When: 5th, 12th & 19th July, 8.30pm to 10pm
Where: Pavilion Gardens Bandstand, Pavilion Gardens
Entry / Cost: £10 (Adult Themes). Bookings via underthefringe.com Info: 0208 144 0070.

4. Children’s Event – SCHOOL’S OUT COMEDY CLUB Philip Simon

The laughs aren’t all for the adults. Created during lockdown to entertain children, this event promises hilarity, silliness and jokes in a show where the kids are the stars. Leicester Comedy Festival Best Kids’ Show nominee. ‘The comedy world’s Joe Wicks’ – BBC.

When: 19th July 5.30pm to 6.15pm, 20th July, 1pm to 1.45pm
Where: Underground at Spring Gardens
Entry / Cost: £8 (Child £5, Conc £7), Ages 5+. Bookings via underthefringe.com Info: 0208 144 0070. Students and low income £3 off. Family discount available.

5. Children’s Event – THE GREAT BUXTON BILBERRY BUMBLEBEE HUNT BCHT and Friends of Buxton Station

There are many more events for children during the Fringe but two local organisations are joining forces to support a worthy cause in this bee-themed event that’s starts a buzz around town! Collect a map from the Pump Room.

When: 6th, 7th, 14th & 20th, 21st July, 11am to 1pm
Where: The Pump Room (Buxton Visitor Center)
Entry / Cost: Free. Suitable for ages 4-15yrs. Donations: Contributions are very welcome. Further information: [email protected] 

6. Music – CHRIS MILNER / JOURNEYMAN Chris Milner 

Chris Milner, one of the folk scene’s leading singer-songwriters, makes a welcome return to the festival. Thoughtful, sincere, and honest, Milner brings his songs and stories to life for two nights at the URC. Buxton Fringe Review praises him, stating he ‘never puts a foot wrong.’

When: 5th, 6th July, 6pm to 7pm
Where: United Reformed Church – Purple Room
Entry / Cost: £7 (Child and Conc £5), Direct bookings via Opera House online / BOH Box Office 01298 72190.

7. Theatre – A CRIMSON MAPLE LEAF Clickers and Benders Drama Workshop

An exploration of a little-known yet influential chapter of Buxton’s history: Thousands of wounded Canadian Soldiers are moved to Buxton during the First World War to recover from their injuries both mental and physical and a young nurse forms an attachment with an officer who can’t come to terms with what he witnessed in France.

When: 14th & 19th July 7pm to 8pm
Where: The Pump Room
Entry / Cost: £12 (Concession £10), Adult themes, Bookings via email: [email protected]

8. Theatre – CONSTELLATIONS by Nick Payne – Harlequin Theatre

One relationship, infinite possibilities: free will, friendship, quantum multiverse, love, loss, and a shared taste for honey. This critically acclaimed play explores how tiny changes can dramatically alter our lives. A spellbinding look into the infinite potential for heartbreak—or hope! “Restored my faith in theatre.” – Robert Farquhar

When: 9th July 5.30pm to 6.35pm, 10th July 7pm to 8.05pm, 11 July 4pm to 5.05pm
Where: Underground at Spring Gardens
Entry / Cost: £10 (Concession £9), Bookings via underthefringe.com / Info: 0208 144 0070. Students and low income £3 off.

9. Film – BUXTON SHORTS 2024 – Buxton Film, Buxton Opera House Arts Centre

The welcome return of an exhibition of short films from filmmakers with a connection to Buxton and the Peak District and you can vote for your favourite!

When: 15 July 7.30pm to 9.30pm
Where: Pavilion Arts Centre
Entry / Cost: £5 (Child £1), Direct bookings via Opera House online / BOH Box Office 01298 72190.

10. Visual Arts – BUXTON PHOTO CHALLENGE 2024 High Peak Photography Club

Come and join Buxton’s own Photomarathon – a photography challenge to take six photos on six themes in six hours. All you need is your camera with empty memory card or phone. Please arrive between 10 and 11am to get your themes then off you go!

When: 20th July 10am to 4pm
Where: The Green Man Gallery
Entry / Cost: £5 (Child £1), No advance booking. Fees will be collected on the day by High Peak Photography Club, for more information email [email protected].

11. Music – BURBAGE WORKS – A MUSICAL JOURNEY Burbage Band (Buxton)

The legend that is Burbage Band is explored with a multi-media experience combining live music and narrated audio-visual storytelling, documenting the history of brass bands. Featuring premieres of new brass band compositions, researched chronological story, poetry, historical instruments, historical photographs, videos and influences on jazz and popular music. A must for both brass band fans and local history nuts.

When: 20 Jul 7.30pm to 9.45pm
Where: Buxton Methodist Church
Entry / Cost: £10 (Child £8), Family Friendly, Direct bookings via Opera House online / BOH Box Office 01298 72190, or email [email protected]

12. Fringe Event – Fringe Sunday Buxton Festival Fringe

Usually the Fringe event that creates the most excitement; join the party and get a bit of everything from music to magic, and of course, ice cream. Pick up a Fringe programme or become a Fringe Friend. Mingle with the stars at this fabulous outdoor party!

When: 7th July, 2pm to 4.30pm
Where: Pavilion Gardens, Bandstand
Entry / Cost: FREE

13. Comedy – JOHN MEAGHER: BIG YEAR John Meagher

After a sold-out run at Dublin Fringe, John tackles life’s biggest questions. “I absolutely loved it!” – Jon Ronson. “John is a very sharp comedian… with a subtlety I didn’t have at his age.” – Patrick Kielty, host of Radio 4’s critically acclaimed The Divil’s Own. (New Writing)

When: 12th July 5.30pm to 6.25pm, 13th July 10pm to 10.55pm
Where: Underground at Spring Gardens
Entry / Cost: £9 (Conc £8), Students and low income £2 off, Bookings via underthefringe.com, Info: 0208 144 0070

14. Magic – AN EVENING OF CLOSE UP MAGIC & MENTALISM – High Peak Magic Circle 

Your table becomes the stage for the incredible, family-friendly close-up magic by High Peak Magic Circle members. Cards, coins, rings, and ropes all play a part in the magic. Keep an eye on your watches as these performers move from table to table, showcasing mystifying sleight-of-hand miracles.

When: 12th July 5.30pm to 6.25pm, 13th July 10pm to 10.55pm
Where: Pavilion Gardens – Octagon
Entry / Cost: Tickets £15, Direct bookings via Opera House Online / BOH Box Office 01298 72190

15. Visual Arts – POTS, PANS & A SPLASHING MACHINE – Cul-de-sac theatre

A mesmerising, dreamlike installation about life on a kidney dialysis machine. Terry Naylor, a dialysis patient himself, has created a surreal, multi-sensory 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!

When: 6th, 7th & 19th – 21st July noon to 6pm
Where: The Bungalow, Lightwood Ave, Buxton SK17 7AZ
Entry / Cost: Free, Donations: kidneyresearchuk.org
Further information: [email protected] or 07786 860794

16. Dance – Buxton Day of Dance Chapel-en-le-Frith Morris

The familiar twinkle of bells can herald only one thing; the streets of Buxton will be filled with over 150 Morris dancers and musicians from 16 different Morris sides, hosted by Chapel-en-le-Frith Morris, the town experiences its most colourful and jolliest day of the year!

When: 20th July 10.30am to 4.30pm
Where: Around the town
Entry / Cost: Free

17. Spoken Word – INVERTS Matthew Drapper

Never one to shy away from more serious subjects, the Fringe presents a reading by new writer Matthew Drapper who uses first person interviews with LGBTQ+ people to tell shocking, sexy, romantic, awkward stories of love, desire and bodies. A play read-through.

When: 11th July 8pm to 9pm
Where: Lee Wood Hotel, Buxton
Entry / Cost: £10 (Conc £5), 16+ for sexual content, adult themes. Bookings via Eventbrite: shorturl.at/VWX05

18. Comedy – LAUGHS AND TRICKS – Stu Turner & Stephen Owen

Mimicry, magic, and mirth aplenty – with impressionist Stephen Owen, and comedy magician Stu Turner. Come and catch these funny fellas as they bring a fabulous hour of entertainment to the Buxton Fringe. This two-man variety show combines stand-up comedy, hilarious magic, impressions – and oodles of fun!

When: 3rd July 7pm to 8pm, 4 July 5.45pm to 6.45pm
Where: Underground at Spring Gardens
Entry / Cost: £9 (Conc £8) 
Bookings via underthefringe.com
 Info: 0208 144 0070. Students and low income £2 off. 

19. Music – CLOSE ENOUGH AT THE PUMP ROOM – Close Enough Barbershop Quartet

Close Enough won the Small Ensemble Award at the Buxton Fringe in 2022 and 2023 for their “witty repartee” and “vocal acrobatics.” The four gentlemen return with their vocal shenanigans, offering an irreverent mix of close harmony arrangements and classic barbershop, ranging from Antonín Dvořák to Big Band swingtime!

When: 20th July 7.30pm to 9pm
Where: The Pump Room
Entry / Cost: £12 (Child £5, Conc £10), Ages 3+
Direct bookings via Opera House Online 
/ BOH Box Office 01298 72190

20. Children’s Events – THE TOOTH, THE WHOLE TOOTH AND NOTHING BUT THE TOOTH – Buxton Opera House Intermediate Young Company

When Sebastian put his tooth under his pillow for the Tooth Fairies to collect, the last thing he expected was to be transported to Tooth Town, along with his tooth. Nor did he expect to be tasked with a mission! A musical for all the family written by Nic Gilder.

When: 17th July, 6.30pm to 7.30pm
Where: Pavilion Arts Centre
Entry / Cost: £6 (Child and Conc £4), Ages 4+, Direct bookings via Opera House Online / BOH Box Office 01298 72190

If you’re still unsure about what to see, the Fringe themselves can help. As well as the weighty, printed brochure available around the town, check out their app (available on iOS and Android), giving you handy access to the full programme on the go.

Buxton Festival Fringe

Fringe Information Desk

The Fringe Information Desk in the Pavilion Gardens Conservatory will be open daily during the festival.

Buxton Festival Fringe
The Fringe Information desk in the Conservatory, Pavilion Gardens
Chris Milner – Journeyman performs at Springboard in The Green Man Gallery (credit: Darren Jackson 2024)

As usual, the Fringe will host free event showcases, including the always popular Fringe Sunday at the Pavilion Gardens on 7th July, Fringe on Friday at the Bandstand on 5th and 12th July. And don’t miss the Fringe float in Buxton Carnival on 13th July!

Buxton Festival Fringe

With a such a vast programme, it’s also a good idea to check for late changes/cancellations at buxtonfringe.org.uk/latechanges.

The Fringe is a registered charity. See buxtonfringe.org.uk for how to donate, become a Fringe Friend or to volunteer.

Buxton Festival Fringe

When: 3rd – 21st July 2024

buxtonfringe.org.uk

T: 07591 013554 (Fringe Information desk during Fringe only) or Fringe Marketing Officer: 01298 79351. General enquiries: 07792 346 127

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