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Buxton Fringe40 Announces Awards for 2019

The biggest and longest ever Buxton Festival Fringe held its eagerly-awaited Awards Ceremony at The Green Man Gallery on Sunday July 21.

2019 has seen the Fringe celebrating 40 years and chair of the trustees Keith Savage said it had been an exceptional year, thanking the performers, committee members, venues, supporters and financial backers, including sponsor The University of Derby, who had made the festival possible.

This 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 on behalf of an appreciative committee. Keith said that being chair had been “an extraordinary privilege”, adding: “Outside my own family, this has been the most important thing I’ve ever done.”

He went on to preface the Awards-giving with an explanation that they were to recognise excellence but the word “best” was never used by the Fringe.

Theatre saw the Production Award going to a 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 meanwhile picked up by Derbyshire-based Anna Girolami who penned Once Upon a Time in Trieste.

The John Beecher Memorial Award for original, challenging work with high production values went to the aurally adventurous fever dream 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, local star 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 local ceramicist Caroline Chouler-Tissier exhibiting at the Buxton Art Trail.

For Families went to Babbling Vagabonds Storytelling Theatre’s Here Be Dragons! Buxton Drama League's The Shakespeare Jukebox won Street Theatre.

Buxton’s own Serpentine Community Farm won the Spirit of the Fringe award for their 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 which both entertained Fringe-goers and regularly surrendered its office to the Fringe!

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

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