Buxton Festival Fringe held its eagerly-awaited Awards Ceremony in The Serpentine Community Garden’s polytunnel on Sunday July 23rd. Chair Stephen Walker looked back over a busy Fringe noting that this year had been “brilliant in terms of audiences” and that he had also been “really struck by the quality of work across the board” necessitating a “truly monster awards’ deliberation session” that had lasted many hours.
He had a long list of thank yous including Vice Chair Jeanette Hamilton, an invaluable support in the first year of her role. The judging panel, the reviewers led by coordinator Robbie Carnegie, the Fringe committee, Fringe venues, Fringe desk staff, Fringe Friends, financial backer High Peak Borough Council, Morrisons, Parkwood Leisure, The Serpentine and the performers themselves were among the many he applauded, whilst also raising a glass to Buxton Brewery, providers of this year’s celebratory Fringe Beer.
Among the local acts with reasons to celebrate were Whaley Bridge textile artist Tracy Coverley (Visual Arts – Artist), Buxton’s Hugo Edwardes for Images from the Book of Knowledge (Visual Arts – Event), Macclesfield’s Brahms Quintet Fest (Music – Small Ensemble, classical) and Buxton soprano Katy Allan who picked up the Spirit of the Fringe award for her Dementia-Friendly Coffee Concert among other Fringe and community activities.
In other key awards, Buxton-born Three’s Company won Comedy Show with a late entry, Adventure Department: Screech!, while Aidan Goatley won Stand Up Comedy. In Music, the Keld Ensemble won for Large Ensemble, barbershop singers Close Enough won Small Ensemble in the Popular Tradition, Lili La Scala won Solo Vocal and, in an additional music award for this year, Sheffield Music Academy and Friends won the Music Show award for Peter and the Wolf – Adventures in Music and Art!
A busy Theatre section saw Manchester-based Devils & Dust winning the Production award with Revenant, while acting honours went to Nick Danan in St Nicholas and Heather Alexander for Room. David Head and Matt Glover won the New Writing award for Unwanted Objects. The John Beecher Memorial Award for original, challenging work with high production values went to Split Infinitive’s A Caravan Named Desire. The award for Youth Production went to Risk from the Double Bill: Tuesday and Risk from Buxton Opera House Young Company, and Ashgate Heritage Arts’ Mountains of the Moon won Children’s Events.