Underground Venues Blog

January 15th, 2017

10:27pm by

Underground goes Overground for 2017

We are very pleased to announce that Underground Venues has arisen from the loss of our original home under the Old Hall Hotel, to find a new home for 2017 in festival hub The Old Clubhouse. Following eleven successful years, Underground will return with another hand-picked programme of events at the 2017 Buxton Fringe.

Popular with Festival and Fringe audiences for many years, The Old Clubhouse, opposite the historic Opera House, will form our new base of our operations. A brand new theatre space for 2017 will join an all-day Fringe Club and information desk, while the Arts Centre, just over the road, will continue to host our larger-scale acts.

Underground Venues 2017 will run 4-23 July.

Applications for all types of performance will open at the very start of February.

Keep an eye on the website and our Twitter and Facebook for more information.


posted by Tom Crawshaw @ 22:27

May 31st, 2016

10:27am by

Theatre Technician Opportunity!


Underground Venues is the leading venue-group on the Buxton Fringe, hosting 75 shows in three different theatre spaces. We operate for three weeks every July, bringing together an exciting mix of artists, producers, audiences and festival volunteers.

This year our venue operates 3-25 July (including get-in and get-out).

The Buxton Fringe is the 3rd largest Fringe in the UK and our programme of work this year includes a fantastic range of top-class touring theatre, award-winning stand-up comedy and Edinburgh Fringe previews.

We are looking for a theatre technician join our existing team for the three weeks and manage one of our 40-seat studio spaces. The post involved rigging and plotting lights, helping acts with tech rehearsals, managing changeovers between shows, familiarising companies with the technical equipment and sometimes operating shows.

We offer all accommodation in Buxton, all transport costs, plus £300 towards expenses for the time. Volunteers also have the opportunity to see a wide range of Fringe shows for free and the post is a great opportunity to meet artists and others working at the venue.

Some experience or training of working as a theatre technician is essential. Experience working in a Fringe or festival context is desirable. The post is open to all but may well be suited to a student or recent graduate looking to further their experience working with professional companies.

You will need to be free to arrive in Buxton on the afternoon of 3 July and leave the afternoon of 25 July. All accommodation and transport to/from Buxton is covered.

For more information, or to apply, simply contact jobs@underthefringe.com

For more information about the venue, visit underthefringe.com

posted by Yaz Al-Shaater @ 10:27

February 1st, 2016

11:02am by

Underground returns

We’re proud to officially announce Underground Venues will return in 2016 for our 11th season on the Buxton Festival Fringe.

The venue will run 6 – 24 July 2016, with another strong programme of the finest Fringe entertainment from across the UK.

To apply to be part of it head to our Artists Area. Applications close 23 March.TOSH-127

posted by Tom Crawshaw @ 11:02

November 12th, 2014

3:20pm by

Underground Turns Ten

That’s right, 2015 will be the tenth year of Underground Venues! – and you can bet we’re excited about it (because you would have no risk of losing your stake, as we are definitely excited and can prove it).

2015 will be the tenth time we take up residence at the Old Hall for the Buxton Fringe, after starting there back in 2006. We will also be managing the Arts Centre Studio in Buxton and be returning to the Oxford Fringe for our fourth year there!

Dates for both Fringes are confirmed as:

Oxford: 22 May – 7 June 2015

Buxton: 8 – 26 July 2015

We are accepting applications for Oxford already – just email oxford@underthefringe.com for full info and an application form. We will be accepting applications until 10 March.

Applications for Buxton Fringe will open late January and be through the website. The deadline is 23 March.

uv 06

posted by Tom Crawshaw @ 15:20

October 13th, 2014

4:49pm by

Remembering Peter Low

We were all very saddened to hear that Peter Low – past chair of the Buxton Fringe and long-time supporter of Underground Venues – passed away suddenly this week.

It was a great shock as Peter had been supporting our venue and the Buxton Fringe (and Festival!) as energetically as ever as recently as this July. He continued to welcome our staff members from around the country and make sure they had the friendliest of stays in Buxton and his humour and love of the arts continued to inspire us.

Peter Low was the chair of the Buxton Fringe in 2002 when Yaz and I – and our fellow Three’s Company member Michael Grady – first got involved. It was Peter who made us aware of this great festival and Peter who, perhaps against better judgement, allowed us to join the committe aged only 15. Peter’s keeness to encourage the next generation was hugely influential in our early work and it’s fair to say Underground Venues would likely not have happened without his support in those early years.

We remember Peter as a great diplomatic force, able to address the many differnent arguments, and the many loud voices, from all sides, with a characteristic sense of humour and self-deprecation. He also gave his time selflessly to many other artistic activities in Buxton, most of which I’m probably not even aware of, and continued to do so right up until the last.

He was a great man – though I’m certain he wouldn’t even begin to accept such a title himself. He will be greatly missed by all of us at Underground Venues and I know the Buxton Fringe and wider Buxton community. Our thoughts are with his wife Janet – herself a tireless supporter of the arts – and the rest of his family. We will be raising a glass (sadly not of Fringe Beer on this occassion) to his name tonight.

posted by Tom Crawshaw @ 16:49

May 5th, 2014

12:55pm by

The Fringe Trail kicks off!

Another year, another summer and the Fringe season is on us again.

As we’ve written about before, a strong pattern of Fringe festivals has grown up over the summer months in the UK. With Brighton in May, Oxford in May/June, Buxton in July and Edinburgh – the biggest of  them all – in Edinburgh. The trail moves south to north as the summer progresses and a growing number of acts are moving with it.

Acts use this ‘Fringe Trail’ to road-test their shows ready for Edinburgh (the biggest live arts festival in the world) – or to kick-start a later tour. Conversely, many revisit the other Fringes after having had success in one.

Here at Underground we are keen to see this Fringe Trail grow so we present here the dates of the four Trail Fringes for 2014:

fringe trail 2

posted by Tom Crawshaw @ 12:55

April 29th, 2014

11:35am by

Buxton and Oxford brochure launch!

CSzUK with ComedySportz

CSzUK with ComedySportz

Both the Buxton and Oxford Fringes have now announced their full programmes for 2014. And we’re pleased to announce Underground will once again be a powerful presence at both.

We are presenting 19 shows at the Old Fire Station, as part of the Oxford Fringe. In Buxton, we’re back for our 9th year, in our base under the Old Hall and at the Pavilion Arts Centre, this year with 70 different shows and events.

The Oxford Fringe runs 24 May – 8 June. You can check out the whole programme at www.oxfordfringe.org

The Buxton Fringe dates for 2014 are 9 – 27 July and their full line-up is at www.buxtonfringe.org.uk

Watch this space for our programme launch on May 4th!

posted by Tom Crawshaw @ 11:35

November 17th, 2013

4:53pm by

Underground Venues 2014!

uv pic

Yes that’s right, it seems, like Mark Twain, the report of our death was an exaggeration.

Due to generous help of the constantly delayed building works at the Crescent, the wonderful cellars of the Old Hall Hotel that Underground has called home since 2006 will live another day.

This means Underground Venues will be returning, with a full programme of events, at the 2014 Buxton Fringe. Continuing our work over the last 8 years of bringing the finest local and national Fringe talent to Buxton in July.

Audiences can expect another bursting programme of hand-picked stand-up, new writing, classic theatre, music, magic, comedy and kids shows from 9-27 July 2014.

Potential acts can apply to be part of it from January 2014, when application information will be available on the website.

We also involved in creating and shaping the new Oxford Fringe. More on that later.

posted by Tom Crawshaw @ 16:53

July 22nd, 2013

5:23pm by

Curtain down on the 2013 Buxton Fringe

the sign

The Underground Venues season at the 2013 Buxton Fringe has come to an end and what a year it was!

We hosted 65 shows and over 200 performances, entertained 4000 audience members and got through 10 packs of blu-tac and 50 sticks of chalk. We’ve shown once again that Fringe can buck the trend of the recession, thanks to the fantastic line-up of shows, from every genre and style, that we were treated to this year.
There was much excitement about 2013 being the last ever year for Underground Venues. As many of you will know, the Crescent development is due to involve building work in the Old Hall Hotel cellars. But we’re pleased to say we do intend to be back in one form or another at the 2014 Fringe – so keep an eye on this blog, our Twitter or Facebook for more updates.Now hosting three performance spaces, Underground Venues had another year of fantastic reviews, from the Buxton Fringe (see here) and from Fringe Guru (see here) and Underground shows once again triumphed at the Fringe awards. Best Production, Best Actor & Actress, Best Comedy, Best Comedy Performer, Best Youth Production and Best Young Actor all went to Underground shows – along with a huge number of nominations – a big well done to all of them! (Full list here)

posted by Tom Crawshaw @ 17:23

June 9th, 2013

4:37pm by

Goodbye Oxford Fringe 2013

It’s goodbye to the punts, the spires and the crowds of students in bizarre exam-garb – the 2013 Oxford Fringe is over.

Following the cancellation of the orinally planned festival, this year’s Oxford Fringe was an attempt by all the acts and venues intending to take part, to keep the Fringe spirit going in Oxford. With essentially no budget, we split the costs of basic advertising between us, and relied on feet on the ground, word-of-mouth, positive press and social media to spread the word.

Underground Venues were once more running the Old Fire Station’s main theatre space for the duration of the Fringe. Following a successful 2012 we planned to increase our programme by 30%, bringing in both big names and promising newcomers to the 90-seat Arts Centre. Now with a replacement Fringe, hastily put together by its participants, it was uncertain if this gamble would pay off.

However, following the final tally after last night’s final show, we are proud to announce the following:

  • Total ticket sales were up on 2012
  • Gross box office takings were up
  • Average audience per show have increased

All of which is a great credit to the performers and promoters involved in Underground Venues this year, as well as our staff and our wonderful hosts at the Old Fire Station.

More importantly, it bodes very well for the future of the Fringe in Oxford, which we will to continue to support and are keen to see continue to flourish.

Our thanks also to the other venues at the Oxford Fringe: the Oxford Playhouse‘s Burton Taylor Studio, the Ashmolean Museum, Art Jericho, Turl Street Kitchen, Albion Beatnik Bookstore, the Friends Meeting House and East Oxford Community Centre. We couldn’t have done it without you.

posted by Tom Crawshaw @ 16:37