Buxton Festival Fringe held its eagerly-awaited Awards Ceremony in a cosy polytunnel at The Serpentine Community Garden on Sunday, July 24th.
Chair Stephen Walker told the audience that it had been “wonderful to be back to full strength” as a Fringe despite the ongoing challenge of Covid, and he thanked the talented artists and performers who had kept everyone entertained with some 170 entries. He went on to thank committee members, venues, Fringe Desk staff, Fringe Friends and financial backer High Peak Borough Council, amongst many, many others. He also paid an emotional tribute to former Vice Chair Viv Marriott and former Chair Keith Savage, both of whom sadly died in the last year. Viv was “endlessly enthusiastic and encouraging” and a great supporter of youth theatre. Keith was “Mr Fringe” in many people’s eyes and was “unflappable, good-humoured and a deeply kind man”. Keith’s comment that leading the Fringe was the honour of his life resonated with Stephen who also felt it “an honour to lead this team and to succeed such a great man.”
Youth Theatre awards for Nottingham-based Shadow Syndicate were dedicated to Viv this year whilst Spirit of the Fringe, going to Buxton’s own The Shakespeare Jukebox, was presented in tribute to Keith. In other awards for home-grown acts, Buxton-based Luke Wilkinson picked up the Children’s Events prize for Wilbur The Worst Explorer, while Haus of Dench’s Drag Queen Vs Zombies featuring local star Kate Butch won the Comedy Show Award. Peak District poet Mark Gwynne Jones won Spoken Word and Buxton Museum was honoured twice as the Derbyshire Open won Visual Arts Event and Sarah Keast won Artist for her Tipping Points exhibition there.
In other key awards, flame-haired TV comic Alasdair Beckett-King won Comedy: Stand Up, Belfast company Spanner in the Works Theatre Company (which also picked up a Theatre award in 2021) won Theatre: Production with Runny Honey, and North Wales’s PJ Vickers won New Writing for ZAV. Ashlea Kaye of The Little Prince won Actor – Female and Tim Hardy of The Trials of Galileo won Actor – Male. Music awards went to Ordsall Acappella Singers (Large Ensemble), Close Enough Barbershop Quartet (Small Ensemble, Vocal), Henrietta Hill and friends (Small Ensemble, Instrumental) and Egriega (Solo Show). The John Beecher Memorial Award for original, challenging work with high production values went to comedian Luke Rollason’s Bowerbird show.
See https://buxtonfringe.org.uk/awards2022.html for the full list of awards and nominations. Film footage of the ceremony can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RDkGUxsRXxI&feature=youtu.be
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