Arts Derbyshire


A New Lease Of Life For Buxton’s Shopping Centre

This July sees an exciting new direction for The Springs shopping centre in Buxton, as the 39-year-old indoor retail complex plays host to live comedy and theatre shows for the first time.

Following 18 years of running theatre spaces in Buxton, and with the support of High Peak Borough Council, Underground Venues will be taking over an empty shopping unit for three weeks, as part of the 2024 Buxton Festival Fringe.

The award-winning venue group will be converting a former shop into a temporary theatre, showing the finest UK touring stand-up, sketch comedy, plays, poetry, bands, family shows, physical theatre and more – from noon til midnight every day from 3-21 July.

It’s a new adventure for the venue, which was founded in 2006 by two Buxton teenagers, as well as for the Buxton Festival Fringe and Buxton’s Springs shopping centre. The project will see live performance return to Buxton’s Spring Gardens for the first time since Buxton first ever theatre closed there in 1829.

“Having grown up in Buxton, Springs Gardens and the ‘precinct’ have always been a hugely important centre of Buxton life,” said venue manager and Glossop resident Tom Crawshaw, “but The Springs can be about so much more than just shops. We incredibly excited to see the possibilities of a Fringe theatre venue in the centre of it all, and can’t wait to share it with the people of Buxton.”

The line-up of shows is still being programmed and will be announced on 1 May. There is still time for anyone wishing to stage a show to apply to be part of it, with the deadline to enter the Buxton Fringe on 14 April. Potential performers can sign-up at

Councillor Anthony McKeown, Leader of High Peak Borough Council said “This exciting opportunity to use space in The Springs as part of the Buxton Festival Fringe with Underground Venues will provide festival goers with a unique experience. Buxton Festival Fringe provides residents and visitors with a showcase of performances from artists of all kinds, and I can’t wait to see the transformation.”

Chair of the Buxton Festival Fringe, Stephen Walker said “Underground have been a cornerstone of Buxton Fringe for nearly 20 years and we are delighted that they are returning once more. They have provided opportunities for so many young people in Buxton to take their first steps in a career in the arts both on and off stage and have brought a wide range of acts to the town that wouldn’t have otherwise reached these parts such as Henning Wehn, Isy Suttie, Piff The Magic Dragon, Rob Rouse and Maisie Adam.”

“Underground have worked tirelessly to identify a new venue in which to create their unique theatre spaces, and we look forward to seeing who they introduce to Buxton audiences this year.”

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